Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Top Ten Badass Women in Movies

Time to crawl back out of my hole and do some of my signature rambling. And, as it is a very particular holiday, I suppose it would behoove me to do something topical. Sadly, I don't have a pretty lady in my life to strap something on and give that Deadpool treatment, so we're going to celebrate International Women's Day by celebrating women. Particularly, we're going to celebrate some of my favourite badass women in film.

Of which there are a staggering amount.

I could easily make this like a hundred entries deep, as there are seriously so many amazing women in cinema. And I'm not talking actresses, I'm speaking more of the incredible characters they portray. The characters are what stick in our minds, what become legends for us and future generations, so it's time to take a look at my personal top ten list of the most jawsome badass ladies on the silver screen. You might not share my opinion, you might find the idea of this list boring, and you might simply want to call me something awful. But, first of all, it's my list and not yours. Secondly, if you're wanting to be a shit-licking sexist douche, you can crawl back into that dumpster and proceed to inserting shards of glass into your own asshole. That being said, let's slap our asses and get to gabbing.

"This hand puppet is really phallic..."
#10, Lex Woods (AVP: Aliens vs. Predator)

I can never really defend AVP as a great film. What I can say about it though is that it is a fun film. It's drops a group of humans in the middle of a literal battleground for the young Yautja (the alien race of hunters featured in the Predator films) to prove their selves as warriors by battling the most dangerous prey in the universe: xenomorphs. You know, the black slimy creepy crawlies from the Alien franchise. But, in the group of cannon fodder, one person stands out straight from the get-go. Alexa "Lex" Woods is already set-up to be an incredible badass. She's an adventurer who gets brought on this expedition to train and keep the others alive. While she isn't able to manage the latter...for obvious reasons...she does manage to keep herself alive. Not only that, she earns the trust of the only surviving Yautja and the two then take on the remaining xenomorphs. Ultimately she outlives him as well and is honoured by his people before they leave with his body. It's really awesome, and while I would've liked to see them actually adapt the comics to film, Lex is still a cool heroine who deserves remembering.

A truly good mother can strip and clean a rifle without even needing to sit down.
#9, Sarah Connor (The Terminator & Terminator 2: Judgement Day)

Look, there are some characters who are simply a given, and Sarah Connor is one of them. She's such a strong and compelling character, going from scared victim to a woman who is willing to do anything to protect her son and the world from the oncoming apocalypse. She faces true horror and grows from it, becoming tough as fuck and learning the skills needed to face what she knows is coming. The biggest challenge on this list wasn't so much picking who to go on it, but where to put them. And even then, I'm not even sure I can say the numbering even really matters. What does matter is that Sarah Connor is easily one of the most badass women ever and I had to stick her somewhere. If I didn't, she'd probably show up here to kick my ass. And I'd probably enjoy every moment.

I like to pretend she's pointing that gun at the people who cancelled Agent Carter.
#8, Agent Peggy Carter (Captain America: The First Avenger)

In superhero movies, usually the person that steals the show is wearing spandex or lycra. But who stole the show in the Captain America film? A lady who kicked Nazi ass and didn't put up with sexist bullshit. And trust me, living in the era she did, there was an abundance of sexist bullshit. It became sort of a staple of her spin-off television show where she consistently continued to be the same ass-kicker we fell in love with in The First Avenger. Sadly, the show got cancelled and her character finally died quietly in Civil War. But her impact? It's a constant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her exploits are legend and she helped found SHIELD, leading to the rise of superheroes and giving the world a fighting chance against future threats. I'm still hoping against hope that somehow her show comes back, because I still haven't had enough Peggy Carter in my life.

I still want to know who made that arm of hers. It's so amazing to watch in action.
#7, Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Remember when a bunch of dickheads got super butthurt because Max Rockatansky wasn't really the main hero of his own movie? Yeah, that was fun. It also ignored the fact that he actually usually took the backseat to other characters in all of his films following the first one, but then we're talking about idiots here. By far, Furiosa has to be one of the most interesting characters in the Mad Max mythos. She's a woman raised as a slave who rose to prominence and freed other women from life as baby factories for a tyrannical despot. She journeys across the desert in search of her home, hoping against hope that she can give the young women a place to peacefully live. What really makes her a great character though is that she falls apart and still manages to pull herself up. Keeping her alive in the end is the most important thing that Max does in the film, which makes sense because again the film is very much her story over his. I genuinely hope we do get a return appearance for Furiosa, because she is such a compelling character and I would love to see more of her struggles in the wasteland they inhabit.

 
I know he's a bastard, but damn do I love that colour.
#6, Nurse Coffin (Coffy)


Pam Grier has made a career out of playing badass women in films, so it was a struggle to settle on one. I could probably construct a top ten on her characters alone. Anyway, Coffy is a lady who has had enough. He sister got strung out and now she's out to take down the people who led her sibling down this path. She then sets out on her crusade to take down crime by using her own sexuality to lure in the pushers and dealers. It's damn fun seeing her blow away these cockstains too. I don't know why I don't see more women checking this movie out, because seeing a badass like Nurse Coffin here taking men who take advantage of women and putting them down...I'd imagine it'd have to feel very empowering. In a lot of ways, Coffy feels like the female equivalent of The Executioner and I love it. Check this movie out and take in what is easily one of the toughest women to grace the screen.

If the Detroit police in RoboCop existed in Don't Breathe, I probably would've liked it more.
#5, Officer Anne Lewis (RoboCop, RoboCop 2 & RoboCop 3)

Oh man, let me tell you something. If there's one woman who I adored as a child and really made me love strong women in films, it's Lewis. She's the partner of the new officer on the force, Alex Murphy, and is left dealing with her own guilt in the wake of his death. In the aftermath, he's brought back as a cyborg and she helps bring back his humanity, reaching out to him constantly and never giving up on him. Her strength shines through in every single scene and at no point does she ever feel like she needs him to save her. She's no damsel, she's a hard-ass cop who doesn't ever take shit. When the reboot came out, my biggest disappointment with it was them replacing her with a male equivalent who didn't share any of the depth or personality. She was given a very underwhelming send-off in the end, but I will always hold her up as one of the baddest of the badasses, regardless of gender.

Getting the Ellen look before anyone knew who Ellen was.
#4, Billie Jean Davy (The Legend of Billie Jean)

Sexual abuse is a serious problem and seeing a film that is about it while also being about bullying in general and having protagonists who take a stand against it was a powerful thing for me as a child. Billie Jean was very much one of my heroes. She wasn't perfect, she made mistakes, but she still took a stand and it continues to inspire me. Her status as a symbol of freedom in the film is so fitting and I feel like more people should celebrate the film and the character. She faces the threats against her and her brother with grit and determination, taking her abuser to task and showing everyone what he truly is. Some call this movie a guilty pleasure, but for me it will always be nothing but a pleasure.

Samurai rain is the most dangerous of all rain.
#3, Yuki Kashima (Lady Snowblood & Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance)

Speaking of rape, how about a movie about a badass sword-wielding Japanese woman tracking down the men who raped her mother and murdered her family? Even better, how about two of them? And let me tell you, these movies are pure art to watch. Seeing Yuki's quest for vengeance for the family she was never allowed to have is moving and thrilling. As a character, she is powerful and very intimidating. Her beauty often leads to enemies underestimating her and I love seeing her dish out fierce ramifications for blatant sexism. If any female character truly deserves to be looked upon as a feminist icon, I say look no further than the woman who takes the time to track down and murder some really horrible rapists while also taking no shit from anyone who comes along in the process.

The safe word is URRRRRRRRGGGGGG.
#2, General Leia Organa (Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi & The Force Awakens)

Do I even need to explain here? It's Leia. She's the leader of the Rebel Alliance, the woman who choked a seemingly untouchable crimelord to death, and the woman who still fights on after everyone she loves has left her. She's an icon. There are so many people out there that can talk endlessly about how much she means to them. There's honestly not a lot I can add to the discussion about her. She's so ingrained in the cultural zeitgeist that we all know her and admire her unyielding strength. It definitely doesn't hurt that she was also played by a woman who was equally amazing and inspiring. I genuinely hope she continues to inspire for many generations to come. Especially because I want women to never be afraid to choke out slimy assholes who treat them like objects.

In the future, elevator lighting is a bit unconventional.
#1, Lt. Ellen Ripley (Alien, Aliens & Alien3)

I feel like trying to explain my decision here is like attempting to explain quantum physics. I can't properly put into words how badass Ripley is. She just exudes it from her very being. As a character, she's a very believable one. She gets scared, paranoid, and angry. She's not a cliche walking around and spouting endless one-liners whenever a monster comes upon her. Her most iconic line is really the only one-liner she has. Ripley is the badass woman you'd see in the dictionary next to the term. Now we may get her finally returning in new film and I am so endlessly excited, because the idea of seeing the greatest alien ass-kicker of all time brought back to the big screen is almost more than I can bear. I may explode from the joy, truthfully. She's topping this list because she always topped this list. There was no doubt for me.

As if it wasn't already obvious that I'm a Ripley fanboy.
So, there we go. That's my list, which I spent a really long time writing and fought through sleep deprivation for. Now I'm at that weird point where my body is both tired and oddly very awake, making me feel like I;m vibrating slightly. I really am probably going to explode. But, whatever, at least I got to talk about some of my favourite cinematic ladies. I only wish I could've covered more of them, as there were so many I shuffled in and out of this list before I finally made myself get on with it. But hey, there's always next yer. Later days, bleeders!

Now pardon me as I scream because my chair is very hard on my ass.

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