(Explanation of The Oscars Project found here. And need I say it? This post contains SPOILERS.)
From 1991: Thelma & Louise
The story: Best girlfriends Thelma (timid housewife kept on a tight leash by husband) and Louise (tough talking waitress with a secret past life) embark on a road trip that turns into much more after an unexpected incident outside a bar.
What I liked:
* Solid cast. Both Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) were nominated for Best Actress. Neither won. Some dumb movie about cannibals wiped the floor with them.
* It's Ridley Scott--everything looks amazing. (Nominated for Best Director--first time for Scott--also lost.) The title characters drive through some really beautiful landscapes.
What I didn't like:
* It was really hard watching them basically give up and start heaping crime upon crime. Thelma more or less went mad--although the question remains, what was the trigger? Nearly getting raped? Realizing her husband hadn't come home and didn't care where she was? Her apparent sexual awakening at the hands (limbs, extremities) of Brad Pitt's con artist cowboy?
* The ending seemed a bit dragged-out. (Surprisingly, Scott wanted a longer final scene, which is included in the DVD bonus features.)
* Winner of Best Screenplay, the only win out of six nominations for the film. I don't quite get it.
I forgot how outrageous and shocking this film was when it came out. Maybe because I wasn't finished high school at the time. We still make and see references to "Thelma & Louise" sometimes, don't we? On TV shows and on the radio and in movies? It definitely changed the landscape of all things feminine, but was it in a good way?
Peske and West say that the title women "strike back at men's cruel sense of entitlement" and although they do admit that T&L wind up on a path "lead[ing] to a point of no return," they applaud the "bad girl" characters of the 1990s for basically letting their freak flags fly high (p. 40).
I disagree with the observation about this particular movie--Louise refused to believe any of the sympathy and compassion coming from detective Hal Slocumb (Harvey Keitel, in an excellent performance ignored by the Academy) and almost seemed to resent it, react violently against it.
I also disagree with the general idea that this was the new (proper) face of feminism, the way women ought to be and behave. Beat up the men, especially the nasty truck driver who made lewd gestures at you, and score one for women everywhere. It's not ugly because women are supposed to be demure--it's ugly because it's vigilanteism.
But it happened--it really was the mentality that arose in the '90s. Is its impact still felt today? Maybe subtly.
But I don't think we'll see a movie like this again.
Next up: Unforgiven
Chapter list here.