14 April 2009

My 10 Favorite Cinematic Madwomen

I don't know how this blog passer-on'ers work, but I've been noticing a handful of the blogs I read picking out their 10 favorite film characters, and a whore for lists, I'm going to post mine anyway (though I think you're supposed to be tagged). But instead of my 10 favorite film characters, of which I could never begin to narrow down, I've chosen my 10 Favorite Cinematic Madwomen. That sounds a lot more fun than the other idea. And, yes, some of these ladies suffer from a higher form of neurosis than others, but they'll always have a soft spot in my black heart. Note: I should mention that these are not ranked.

1. Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) - Showgirls

"I used to love Doggy Chow too!" Beware of her flailing arms and legs. She's a kicker and, as seen in her pool "love making" with Kyle Maclachlan, a flopper too, and she storms out of rooms like no other.. Hailing from "different places," Nomi lights the Vegas scene on fire; I don't think the town has ever been the same since.

2. Dawn Davenport (Divine) - Female Trouble

"I've done everything a mother can do: I've locked her in her room, I've beat her with the car aerial. Nothing changes her. It's hard being a loving mother." The parents of Dawn Davenport, shit-kicker/supermodel/burglar/high school drop-out/"loving mother," were right: nice girls don't wear cha cha heels. And her best friend Concetta (Cookie Mueller) was also right: we're just jealous 'cos they're so pretty.

3. Ramona Lutz (Amanda Plummer) - Freeway

"I bet you like havin' your wierner sucked." It's hard to choose from Freeway's cornucopia of eccentric characters, all of which make Reese Witherspoon's Vanessa Lutz look normal by comparison, but I've always had a fondness for her hooker/methhead mother. Ramona's just under a lot of stress; her sister died three months ago and she's tryin' to get off Methadone. A special mention for Vanessa's lesbian cell mate Rhonda (Brittany Murphy) and the queen of the prison Mesquita (Alanna Ubach). John Waters approves.

4. Minnie Castevet (Ruth Gordon) - Rosemary's Baby

Politely refuse if Minnie offers you something she refers to as, "snips and snails and puppy dog's tails." That's the best advice I can offer.

5. Ashley St. Ives (Edy Williams) - Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

"You're a groovy boy, I'd like to strap you on some time." I unofficially decided to choose only one character per director, and it was awfully hard to pick between fab porn actress Ashley St. Ives and Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!'s Varla (Tura Satana). In case you didn't know, there's nothing like a Rolls, and she'll be happy to show you (around the 9 minute mark).

6. Ruth Stoops (Laura Dern) - Citizen Ruth

"Suck the shit out of my ass, you fucker." When Ruth finds out she's pregnant (again), that doesn't stop her from hittin' the hardware store for some grade-A huffin' material. I'm still searching for the best opportunity to tell someone what she tells the guy who impregnanted her.

7. Margaret White (Piper Laurie) - Carrie

Margaret was right in telling her daughter Carrie (Sissy Spacek) that they all were going to laugh at her.

8. Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) - Mommie Dearest

Don't fuck with her, fellas. There's that famous scene, but I always loved it when her daughter Christina (Diana Scarwid) tells the frantic Joan that she isn't "one of her fans."

9. Anna (Isabelle Adjani) - Possession

Whether placing the meat carver up to her neck or making "love" to a demon, Anna commands the screen, much more so than her limp husband played by Sam Neill. Arguably one of the greatest moments in cinema history (and film acting) occurs when she exits the subway car and goes into a frenzy in the terminal.

10. Neisha (Macy Gray) - Shadowboxer

She'll take five drinks and something strong, bartender. Just when you thought asking Denzel Washington to see the warrant would be Macy's only explosion on the film screen (aside from playing herself in Spider-Man), she tops that with every one of her (two, maybe three) scenes in Shadowboxer. The best is when we finally get to see the "Ladies' Night" she was telling Vanessa Ferlito about, where the only other bar patron is a frightening drag queen she gets Cuba Gooding Jr. to buy a drink for. If only I had the skills to rip that scene from my DVD onto YouTube. Read more here.

I strayed away from the more sympathetic of the crazies, like Ashley Judd's Agnes in Bug, Faye's Evelyn Mulwray in Chinatown, Bibi Andersson's Alma from Persona and Margit Carstensen's Petra von Kant from The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. And I couldn't justify calling Kelly (Constance Towers) in The Naked Kiss "crazy."


qta said...

if you created this list because.... you needed me to love you more than I already do?

It worked.

reassurance said...

Damion, I think I did. What a pleasant surprise it was to see your name in my inbox!

qta said...

the pleasure is ALL mine. This list rules! I <3 Joe! I stalk the blog via bloglines nowadays. Best written, sharpest film blog going IMHO.


The Film Doctor said...

Nice, humorous list. I fully agree with you about Ruth Gordon. She's perfectly sweet/sinister for Rosemary's Baby.

reassurance said...

I treated these as if I were writing for a date auction.

Jordany said...

Deliciously Brilliant list.

I love that scene with the drag queen. If I made a list, it would be frightfully similar.

I agree with qta. Your blog is brilliant.