The opinions of Top 10 Movies Ruined by a Female Presence author Warren J. Cantrell do not reflect the opinions of anyone at Scene-Stealers and it was not written by Eric Melin, despite was the posting above says. I just posted it is all. In fact, I like to think of Warren’s writing voice as a kind of parody-inspired Stephen Colbert, except more geared toward the Uber-male demographic. If you have a Top 10 list of your own you’d like to submit, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s Warren:
Recently, I wrote a list recognizing the heavenly glory that encompasses Danny Glover’s piece de resistance: “Predator 2.” I noted in one of my proofs of its superiority to all other Predator films that what bolstered the movie’s stock was a conspicuous lack of important female characters. I cannot stress enough how important it is to cleanse films of all female influence when pushing for a balls-to-the-wall action kill-fest. Both history and current-events don’t lie: women aren’t nearly as gun-crazy or cinematically brutal as men. For this reason, the fairer sex should be left out of films that cater to this particular section of the movie-going public. Yes, dear friends, in these hard economic times, I fear we will see an ever-increasing tendency to cross-market, forcing the upcoming remakes of “Robocop” and “The A-Team” (yeah, you heard me) to cast female counterparts to draw in the precious 18-35 female demographic. Here’s a list about what could have been had the following films taken note of such brilliant contributions as the aforementioned “Predator 2,” “The Wild Bunch” (women in that film drop like flies), and “Lawrence of Arabia” (just try to find a female speaking role). You might argue (and quite correctly) that some of the following films were not necessarily made to be relentless butcher pics, yet can you imagine what would have happened if they’d have removed the women, and let the natural course of man take charge? I can…
10. Independence Day (1996)
This one makes it onto the list, but just barely. “Independence Day” is a movie that’s so wholeheartedly awful that even if all female characters were (justifiably) removed from the screenplay, the movie would still struggle to keep itself afloat in the realm of watchable. But like many on this list, I ask you to look beyond what this film gave you, and peer into what might have been. So: Aliens invade Earth, Normandy-style, and it’s up to the air force to meet the threat in the skies above, fighting for what could be an entire third of the movie in a seemingly never-ending dogfight sequence (this aspect of the film was far too short). This is all aside from the fact that the movie completely neglected the possibilities afforded to a sub-plot/action sequence following the land invasion (which never happened)! Come on! That pretty much writes itself. Cast Denzel Washington as a ruthless Marine colonel leading his men to victory against an alien horde without air support for the first time in their history. Discard Jeff Goldblum’s and Bill Pullman’s romantic subplots, keep the story focused on the air, land, and space battles, and you’ve got a tidy, raucous 110 or so minutes of pure, undiluted action.
9. Crocodile Dundee (1986)
Who said this movie had to be a romantic comedy? The potential and ingredients are there, to be sure, so why was this so unrecognizably mangled? Well, check that, I think we all know why (immediate romantic interest insertion), but why did it have to happen this way? Couldn’t it have been a male reporter from New York who started going unnaturally tribal after a few weeks in the bush with Mick, killing poachers with massive fucking Outback knives in defense of the local aborigine broods? Why couldn’t that same reporter (male) have brought the hero back to New York, schooling Mick on the finer points of scoring coke and whores on the upper-east side at 3am? Why didn’t Dundee (Paul Hogan) and the appropriately masculine journalist fail to team up to fight crime and corruption in the Big Apple, double-wielding .45’s and Australian steel? Instead, we’re forced to endure seemingly endless hours of fish-out-of-water romantic fumblings, and a subway finale that could have improved dramatically if it took a page out of “Predator 2’”s playbook (who cares how the other-worldly creature makes it into the plot! Just work it out!).
8. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Nothing calms a bunch of high-school boys down like some ass in the room. Well, wait…let’s expound. True, adding chicks to a situation is usually enough of a catalyst to get shit started between two or more dudes, yet if allowed to remain, women tend to take attention off the pursuits men follow when the opposite sex is absent–mainly, killing and otherwise fucking each other up. When you’re thinking about getting laid, you’re thinking less about how you are going to exact revenge on that dude for looking at you sideways for that one second a few minutes ago. Had Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy been introduced, then mercilessly withdrawn as contest-prizes to see which two of the three would henceforth be known as men, a tribal, “Lord of the Flies”-like death match might have ensued within detention (three boys enter, two men leave!). Instead we get a full-circle, introspective look at high-school culture and the awkward gap between adolescence and adulthood. Personally, I would have liked to see Anthony Michael Hall pull the upset on Judd Nelson, matching up with Emilio Estevez in a bare-knuckle brawl to see who walks away with the prom queen. John Hughes, wake the fuck up!
7. King Kong (1933/1975/2005)
In any incarnation, this is a dreadful disappointment. One simple question: do we really NEED a woman for all of this? Why can’t we just get lost, stumble onto an island, wander stupidly around, meet the giant ape-bastard, and let mayhem ensue? Why not bring him back to New York without some stupid, screaming broad, let the fuzzy asshole get loose, and allow him BOTH hands to climb and otherwise screw with the army/national guard? Seriously! What if Kong had that other fist to intercept incoming bogeys with anti-aircraft shit-fire? I’ll tell you what! The finale would have expanded at least another fifteen minutes, and the world would be a better place for it! This film is one of the earliest examples of a movie reaching beyond what was necessary in order to get women off the streets, and into the theater seats. Even though its has seen revision and reinvention over the years, it has sadly not rectified the original mistake.
6. Interview With a Vampire (1994)
While some on this list (current movie included) started their lives on paper rather than celluloid, the fact remains: any number of stories of a motley array of incarnations can quickly dissolve into shit when women are inserted into the plot. For example, this movie gets things going at a fairly brisk pace; we meet our protagonist, get some cool flashbacks about the origins of vampiredom, and immediately get into the day-to-day intricacies of “living” amongst the undead. Sure, the movie veered wildly off course by not going into further depth about how cool the life of an immortal could be (why no World War I or II scenes for fuck’s sake?), yet give credit where due: The movie takes a left turn off the shit-cliff only after Kirsten Dunst comes into the picture. Indeed, rather than explore the nuts and bolts of the vampire-community-at-large (cruelly hinted at yet, never adequately explored), we are given a female lead to derail what might have been a most superb vampire experience. So thank you, Kirsten, as well as the author of this craptastic nightmare (also a woman from what I hear), you took the guts out of a truly awesome idea, and stuffed it instead with tampons and lipstick: well done!
5. Dances With Wolves (1990)
This is the first Civil War entry on the list, but it won’t be the last, I assure you. That more movies do not harvest this seemingly endless crop of wickedly awesome possibilities is a friggin’ mystery to me. This film is off to a good, manly start, throwing the audience directly into the armpit of a Civil War field hospital right as the protagonist is about to get his goddamned leg hacked off. This is followed by an escape from the same hospital, an absurdly Herculean cavalry charge, and a recklessly unexplained descent into hostile Indian country. While slowing its roll a bit after this, one might still hold out hope for a blood-letting of Roman, maybe even Biblical proportions from such a start. That is until Stands With a Fist (Mary McDonnell) entered the film, and ruined everything that might have been. Sure enough, as soon as the hero catches sight of her, everything that was hard about the film dies (ironic, no?), and descends into a shadow of its former self. What if John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) instead joins the Sioux, goes completely native, begins overtaking Midwestern wagon trains having become irreversibly addicted to the thrill of the hunt, and carries scalps at his belt. I could keep going with ideas with the awesome premise I’ve provided, but we must save room for an even greater Civil War disgrace…
4. Cold Mountain (2003)
Another Civil War entry, yet slightly higher on the list because of the appalling waste of potential afforded to a film with twice the special effects capabilities as “Dances With Wolves.” The opening is rock solid, turning down the suck to almost inaudible levels with a fairly faithful re-creation of one of the most FUBAR military operations in recorded history. For the first fifteen or so minutes, we get cleanly shot 19th-century mayhem, watching with giddy terror as the director thrusts the audience into one of the most crucial moments during the siege of Petersburg and the Civil War at large. Then what? Flashbacks, introspective character development, personal transformations, and fucking Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger! I would even forgive (begrudgingly) a movie for moving its story away from all the awesome promise of a Civil War battle epic to explore the terrible underbelly of a homefront terrified into hostile submission. Yet even here, the movie can’t help but to drift back to its female subplots, even when focusing on a man who somehow can’t resist bringing some stupid woman to mind every five seconds.
3. Superman (1978)
In any version or sequel, this particular superhero immediately signs his nuts over to the bond company, never to see them again. While many of his contemporaries are victims of the same crime (Spider-Man, Hulk, and even Batman in some versions, to name a few), repeatedly ruining otherwise decent films with female diversions in an absurd attempt to pad ticket sales and/or create a false sense of urgency, I’ve come to expect more from the Man of Steel. This guy isn’t some human with a vigilante streak or even some bumbling virgin with new-found powers: he’s a fucking alien whose abilities practically make him God on Earth. This fact alone allows for practically endless action-sequence possibilities involving combines, nuclear warheads, and great white sharks. While given tastes at times, these scenes always come to the audience in measured doses, as if the producers are afraid too much of the good stuff will paralyze the public into a coma of suspended awesome-shock. I issue this challenge to Bryan Singer: Give me a Superman movie without Lois Lane, and in return I will guarantee ticket sales in excess of $90 million the opening weekend. Seriously, I will cover the difference if it doesn’t meet or surpass that: That’s how sure I am that subtracting Lois and replacing her with relentless action will work. Need ideas for the script to make this happen? Just give me a call, Bryan, we can work this all out.
2. Every New Star Wars Film of the Last 10 Years
If I have to explain this to you, you shouldn’t even be reading this, you should be at a hardware store, buying the cheapest implements possible to castrate or otherwise sanitize yourself to keep from spreading your filth into the general population. True, Lucas and company didn’t exactly re-invent the cinematic wheel the first few times around, yet there was room to forgive since they were kind of making it up as they went along, inventing a new genre and franchise sub-division each step of the way. That Lucas fucked this up with all the money and optimism generated by the first three installments is and shall henceforth be listed in Webster’s under “Fuck-up.” True, Jar-Jar didn’t help, but that bastard was simply the cherry on top of an otherwise crapilicious shit sundae, begat in earnest by Natalie Portman. Again, though Hayden Christensen provided ample assistance, as did Jar-Jar before him, it was Portman and the relentless focus on a relationship nobody gave two shits about that drove this calamity into the side of the fucking mountain. That each film had a potent taste of awesome only made it worse, brief glimpses of Jedi duels and massive set-piece battles quickly brushed aside so that Anakin and Padme could stare longingly into each other’s eyes. Congrats, George, you’ve officially pissed your entire legacy down your leg. Where are you going to go? Disneyland? (My vote? Dr. Kevorkian’s trailer.)
1. Romeo & Juliet (1968/1996)
A friend of mine once told me that this is also a book, but I’ll check into that later. I’ve seen a couple different versions of this movie, and each time I keep hoping that a forward-thinking director with an actual pair between his legs will get a hold of this script and do it right. Again, like so many films on this list, the opening hits with such promise! You feel almost doubly betrayed at the cinematic cock-tease, having to endure not only a piece-of-shit movie, but also the stinging loss of what might very well have been. Seriously, it takes this movie all of two minutes to introduce some toughs and immediately get them fighting with the other gang’s crew. No set up, no character development: just jawing and dudes from both sides ripping out iron and stabbing at each other for glory, honor, and bitten thumbs. We get to our main character eventually, and with no lack of glee as we hear he’s just broken up with his girlfriend, falsely enticing the audience into believing we’re about to enter a revenge-heavy therapy-kill-fest. But no–true to real life, the whiny bitch that is Romeo immediately gets on the rebound, and drop-kicks the movie into douche-baggery. Not even his friend getting shiv’d by the only badass in Verona (Tybalt is totally hard) is enough to get Romeo to come around for much more than an accidental cry-kill, which he immediately ruins by running off as opposed to setting the corpse of his fallen foe afire, and pissing defiantly on the ashes (he totally should have). Instead, Romeo and his ever-present jail-bait die together, yet somehow alone, deserving every inch of their tragic deaths in order to compensate for ruthlessly lame, uneventful lives.