Sunday, July 3, 2011

Those Crazy Redheads!

Thelma and Louise
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Brad Pitt
Released: May 24, 1991

Oscar nominations:

Best Director - Ridley Scott (lost to Jonathan Demme for Silence of the Lambs)
Best Actress - Susan Sarandon
Best Actress - Gena Davis (lost to Jodie Foster for Silence of the Lambs)
Best Original Screenplay - Callie Khouri (won)
Best Editing (lost to JFK)
Best Cinematography (lost to JFK)

WARNING: I AM GOING TO GIVE AWAY KEY PLOT POINTS INCLUDING THE ENDING SO IF YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS FILM, MAKE SURE YOU SEE IT BEFORE YOU READ THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (And if you haven't seen it (dude, it has been out for twenty years!), you really need to because it's a great movie!)

There's a song called "Friends Forever" on the Center Stage soundtrack and the chorus is as follows:

We'll be, you'll see, friends forever.
We'll be, you'll see, like Thelma and Louise.

I want to ask them, "Uh, you do know what happens to Thelma and Louise, right?" Yes, they were very close friends, but you probably wouldn't want to emulate them! 

I was really shocked when I found out that Ridley Scott had directed this. I probably knew this in the back of my mind, but I must have forgotten. For one thing, this is such a female-driven (no pun intended!) flick that I assumed a female had directed it, and also Scott is known for more "epic" movies like Alien and Gladiator, though Ripley is one of the strongest females in cinematic history, so it kind of makes sense he would direct Thelma and Louise. 

Thelma (Davis) is a subservient housewife married to a misogynist slob and Louise (Sarandon) is a waitress. Both live in a small town in Arkansas and decide to take a weekend road trip to get away from their miserable lives and just have some fun. Thelma doesn't even tell her husband because she knows he'll forbade her to go, so she just leaves him a note while he's at work. The women stop at a bar and have a few drinks. Thelma dances with a guy who hits on them and he later tries to rape her in the parking lot. Louise threatens him with a gun that Thelma brought along for protection and he lets her go, but when he keeps taunting them, Louise shoots and kills him. Realizing that they're now fugitives, they have to figure out what to do.

Kietel plays the officer who's trying to find them and Pitt in one of his first memorable roles play a young hitchhiker whom they give a ride to Oklahoma City. He has a fling with Thelma and if you are female or a gay guy you will appreciate any of the scenes where he appears shirtless! One of the funniest scenes in the movie is when Thelma is acting all giddy the next morning and confesses to Louise what she did. I couldn't remember if Brad was a good guy or a bad guy and I guess he was a little bit of both because even though he was much more likable (and prettier) than the guy who tried to rape Thelma, he did rob them when Thelma left him alone in her room with the envelop of money Louise had her boyfriend wire to them. 

Knowing they need money, Thelma ends up robbing a store and they keep getting in deeper and deeper sh*%. After they're pulled over by a cop for speeding, Thelma holds him at gunpoint and Louise takes his gun. They lock him in the trunk until a bicyclists finds him. They blow up a trucker's semi after he refuses to apologize to them for continually harassing them and making crude gestures to them whenever they drove by.

Their plan is to make it to Mexico, but Louise wants to avoid driving through Texas because something bad happened to her there and she refuses to go through the state even though it's the most obvious and quickest route south of the border. Even though these two women have done some terrible things, you're kind of rooting for them to make it. (After all, that guy did kind of deserve to get shot...even the waitress at the bar said she knew he was going to get it one of these days!) Now I was way too young to see this movie when it first came out in the theaters and by the time I saw it, I already knew what the ending was because I remember seeing a parody of this on The Simpsons. Of course, not having seen the movie at the time, I didn't know it was, until probably my mom mentioned that it was "just like the ending to Thelma and Louise." Thanks, Mom. No, I was still able to enjoy the movie even though I knew the grand finale. You certainly don't want them to commit a suicide pact, but at the same time you'd rather see them, er, ride off into the sunset for a lack of better words than spend the rest of their lives in jail. Even if they could cut a deal with Kietel's cop who really did want to help them, they would still be looking at quite a long time. After all, they committed murder, armed robbery, assaulted a police officer (who potentially could have died if someone hadn't found him), and destroyed public property. That's what? Twenty-five years at least right there? Honestly, I have no idea how much prison time that would accumulate for someone. The point is, these gals knew they didn't have a chance at ever living a normal life again and decided to end it right there right then. You almost have to admire them for doing that.

One thing I really like about this movie is that it's a rare breed of film where females are the lead and they're not planning a wedding, having babies, going shopping, talking about fashion, bitching about men (well, they might do that!) or  any of that  other"chick flick" crap the women in those movies always do. It was kind of refreshing to see two female characters not be reduced to such whiny and superficial female stereotypes. You also don't see that many female-buddy movies (and a road trip female-buddy one at that!) 

A great movie and a must see for everyone! 

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