Hello Library Educated!
For “All Lady July” I wanted to put together a list of movies, scenes, characters and actresses you should check out. Turns out coming up with a “best of” list is not really going to work… it keeps growing. Instead I want to give a nice glimpse at a handful of personal favorites (none of which involve women baring their fun bits). In no particular order here is a list of ten great women, moments, and movies in which women took a central role:
1. Starting with a wonderful scene from the vignette collection Coffee and Cigarettes, Cousins featuring Cate Blanchett as Cate, and her cousin Shelly who is played by… Cate Blanchett. This short is a good example of why Cate Blanchett is probably the best living person currently practicing her craft. The whole movie is great, in pieces or as a whole, everyone has their favorite vignettes, but this one stands out as superb. Check it out here: Cousins
2. Next up is one of my favorite movies of all time Ghost World. It is quirky, thoughtful, and unique. The movie itself focuses around the friends Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) trying to find some traction in life. This movie is an all-time great, or at least should be. It is surprisingly underappreciated.
3.Did you know that the 80’s classic Big was directed by a woman? Neither did I, but Penny Marshall was the vision behind a scene everyone has tried to imitate when the opportunity to dance a duet on a giant floor keyboard comes around. Now, she was not a one-hit wonder either. Ms Marshall also directed Jumpin’ Jack Flash, A League of Their Own (another all-time great movie!), and Riding in Cars With Boys to name a few.
4.Here is a shocker: Point Break was directed by Katheryn Bigelow. Now, most people do not value Point Break as much of a movie, maybe I am in the minority that way… this movie is incredible (do not waste your time with the remake)!
5. Since we are on a role with great female directors Lost in Translation needs to make a showing. Sofia Coppola’s little masterpiece staring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson is another fantastic movie. I am sure that it helps that her pops was Francis Ford Coppola, but she has really stood on her own two feet from behind the camera, and Translation is a prime example (we’ll just sweep Maria Antoinette under the rug).
6.Under appreciated actresses probably abound in Hollywood. Maybe they are not pretty enough or some other knock that does not seem to have a lot to do with their actual ability. To me Catherine Keener is one of those underappreciated talents. Most of her work has been on the Indie scene, and there is no doubt about her talent… what will it takes for her to break into a bigger role?
7. Francis Goodrich – her name probably does not ring any bells, but neither do the names of most screenwriters, even if she co-authored It’s a Wonderful Life it is not a big surprise to never have heard of her. But it is important to remember that women like Ms Goodrich are producing incredible works in the industry… women do not need to be starlets – just think of the influence this film has had on American culture!
8. Let’s take a brief pause here and just admire Anjelica Huston’s work: Choke, Wes Anderson movies, Buffalo 66, The Witches, A Handful of Dust, This is Spinal Tap just to name a few.
9. Another movie among the “greatest ever” (or at least on a lot of peoples’ top 20 lists) is Brief Encounter – for some of my thoughts on this one see here: http://libraryeducated.blogspot.com/2016/02/movies-with-brian-brief-encounters.html
10. How can we do a list celebrating women and film if we do not tip our hats to Florence Lawrence? I would venture to guess that very few of us could sit through a viewing of her work on film… but, she is the first movie star. Note – she is not the first female movie star… she is the first star, the very first person named in a motion picture.
Well, that’s all for now. I hope this list gives you some great movies to check out. Happy viewing friends.