I love great movies. One of the best times to me is snuggling up with my husband and our two dogs for movie day. It’s even better if it’s storming, raging rain outside and we’ve got soup simmering or sauce on the stove. We’ll pop some popcorn and settle in for a movie marathon. So wonderful!
As a writer, I’m attuned to good writing — especially when I watch a movie or try to find something on television.
Some scenes — thanks to great writers and actors are so noteworthy, they become part of popular culture. We always remember them. We watch and it’s as if it’s real; it takes us away, we escape — like we do when we’re reading a great novel.
Below are a few of my favs as far as female actors, either going a bit batty, serving up some delicious evil or displaying emotions so effectively it goes into my category of Great Writing and Daring Dames.
Terms of Endearment, Shirley MacLaine
Adapted from the novel by Larry McMurtry
Remember the scene when she screams at the nurses to give her dying daughter, Emma the shot to relieve her pain? As her daughter’s health worsens, Aurora (MacLaine) goes from perfectly-coiffed woman to someone who just wants her daughter to live. She’s got these gray roots growing out, doesn’t give a s**t how she looks or what anyone thinks. Oh, that scene gets me. I sob every time I watch this movie — every time.
Watch it here.
Waiting to Exhale, Angela Basset
Adapted from the novel by Terry McMillan
This righteous fury — Basset nailed it! She’s all crazed out, hair slinging and flying around, stomping and yelling while gathering up her cheating hubby’s belongings into a heap inside his car, then screeches out of the driveway, pours lighter fluid all over it, lights that cigarette and throws it on the car and just walks away while it’s blazing. I get goosebumps. Watch the scene here.
Notes on a Scandal, Cate Blanchett & Judi Dench
Adapted from the novel by Zoë Heller
This movie/book has everything: scandal, forbidden and obsessive love, dramatic family situations. The scene where Sheba (Cate Blanchett) confronts the weird spinster obsessive and creepy Barbara (Judi Dench) is stellar. Cate Blanchett, with her raccoon-mascaraed insane eyes and pale skin slaps the woman that has a part in revealing her illicit affair with a student (15 years old!) and destroys her already shaky marriage/life. Cate Blanchett has mascara bleeding and clumping down her face and attacks Dench — Blanchett loses it completely — this is Oscar-level performances here. Watch the scene here.
All About Eve, Bette Davis
Writer/Director, Joseph Mankiewicz, based on short story written by by Mary Orr, The Wisdom of Eve
Haven’t seen this one in forever but it’s about Broadway actors and Davis plays an aging actress with a young understudy just waiting to take over and get her chance. The scene where Davis is at a cocktail party and she downs that martini and has a cigarette in her hand, just puffing away. She flaunts off and begins walking up the staircase, then turns and says one of the most famous lines ever: Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night. Watch it here.
I swear I’m going to do this at some point in my life before I die.
Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close
Screenplay by James Dearden
There’s so many great scenes here; when obsessive Alex (Glenn Close) sits in her apartment in a white tee-shirt flicking the light on and off listening to opera. Spiral down…the scene where she tells Dan with those nutty eyes, “I’m not going to be ignored, Dan.” (Michael Douglas). Then, she wanders into the bathroom when Beth (Anne Archer) is trying to take a bath….”What are you doing here?” she asks Beth, while she jabs herself in the leg with that big butcher knife. Oooh, scary.
Things don’t end up well for Alex. Of course, Beth has to take care of it all — finally. Watch it here.
Other ones: Kathy Bates in Misery (written by Steven King) and Meryl Streep and Cher in Silkwood, screenplay by Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen.
What are your favorite femme fatales? They all first began as an idea in a writer’s head.
Photo credits: Angela Bassett; Shirley MacLaine, Cate Blanchett & Judi Dench, Bette Davis, Glenn Close, Femme Fatale by Amber Kenneson
Great list. My mother died of cancer a few years ago and my sisters and I coined a phrase, “I’m gonna go Shirley MacLaine on her ass” when medical staff were not doing what we wanted. Hahahaha. Kinda craving a movie day now!
So sorry to hear that Maggie, but I’ll bet all of us can relate to that scene in some way (me, as well when my Mom had to be in the hospital); it always blows me away!! Good books, good movies, popcorn, thunderstorms and a glass a wine or two…now that’s good stuff. Hope you have a movie day soon and thanks for stopping in. :).
I also dig movie days! What a great post. Thanks for including the names of the writers and directors, along with the daring dames. All About Eve is one of my all-time favorite flicks. So many great lines! And banter, too. I’ve watched it about 100 times. I love Birdie played by Thelma Ritter. Sunset Boulevard (released also in 1950) is another favorite. Fab dresses! Theadora (Years ago, I got to see All About Eve in an old theater in Baltimore. Thoroughly enjoyed the group experience!)
Margo Channing: You bought the new girdles a size smaller, I can feel it.
Birdie: Something maybe grew a size larger.
Margo Channing: When we get home you’re going to get into one of those girdles and act for two and a half hours.
Birdie: I couldn’t get into the girdle in two and a half hours.
Ha! What great lines Theodora, thank you! I’ve not seen Sunset Boulevard, but love, love, love Bette Davis. Remember Baby Jane? OMG. How great to experience that classic flick (All About Eve) in an old theater. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for stopping in to read.
I’ve seen most of those and couldn’t agree more. Love it!!!! Terms of Endearment scene and the shower scene in Fatal Attraction… oh, Lord, yes… those are two of the biggest showstoppers to me as well. Of course, there is always “No. More. Wire. Hangers. EVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!!” Remember that one?
Yes!!!! How could I forget Faye Dunaway with those big ole furry mean eyebrows screaming, CHRIS – TI -NA!! Great one!
I feel slightly challenged in a lot of conversations because I’m not a movie person. Kind of like a person that doesn’t read, I don’t know if it was the ADD I was never diagnosed with or what, but I can’t sit through most movies.
That said you explain your picks well, and connect them in an interesting way, the women gone batty scenes. If you know a lot about movies write more up, you may connect with a lot of readers.
Hi Matt, Thank you! Perhaps a blog exploring great television programs (with great writing — before reality tv) would be another topic to explore as well. Thanks for stopping in. :).
I’m a HUGE movie fan 🙂
I’ve watched 111 since the first of January this year lol
Before I started writing I saw movies as just mindless entertainment, but now, I think more about the actual plot, the imagery and the characters.
*whispers* you can steal ideas for stories too 🙂
Hi Vikki, I’ve not seen Whispers; will have to check that one out. Once you begin really appreciating the writing that it took to make those great flicks, you have a much greater appreciation for those behind the scenes, huh? Thank you for stopping by and your comments!
Lol, sorry Brigitte, no when I said *whispers* I was implying that I was whispering *giggles*…..but actually, I wonder if there is one? Lol
Oh good grief. These online exchanges are confusing sometimes, huh? Thanks for clarifying, I was going to begin looking for a movie called Whispers. Maybe there is one…if not, it’d be a good title, huh? See, you’re inspiring something and didn’t even mean to…:).
he he he….if there’s not one, you should write it 😉
I love reading your blog! I nominated you for the Sunshine Award! Click http://fourleaves92.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-sunshine-award/ for more info! Thanks and Congrats! 🙂
Thank you! What questions would you like me to answer? :).