Thelma & Louise


Number 1 of 100 “Modern Classic Movies I must see before I die”Thelma and Louise

*A note to the reader:

I wrote this as I watched Thelma & Louise for the first time. It’s not necessarily as formulated as other posts are, but I thought I’d give a little stream of consciousness a go!

I don’t know a lot about Thelma & Louise other that Brad Pitt is hot, and two ladies (Thelma: Geena Davis and Louise: Susan Sarandon) go on a crime spree.

Prediction: For a change, Harvey Keitel is going to be the cop who cares too much whose mission it is to track the ladies down and stop their good time. Major Buzzkill!

I’m surprised that Ridley Scott directed the film. That immediately gives me some reassurance about it.

There isn’t much I like about her, but doggonit I love when Susan Sarandon does her deep southern accent!

Thelma’s husband, Shooter McGavin, is a real jerk, which gives me a bit of sympathy for her desire to escape. This proceeds throughout the movie, but he’s more of an idiot than a jerk. He’s literally a nobody who can’t take care of himself.

The Polaroid camera doesn’t date the movie at all.

You don’t notice the absence of smoking in today’s movies until you see the prevalence of it in movies from the last 2 decades.

The country bar scene toward the beginning is exactly how I imagine Susan Sarandon would have fun–reserved and stuffy.

Oh, the line dancing. No, no, no.

Lesson: when a hick buys you beers and grinds up on you. Something bad’s gonna go down.

Add alcohol and a gun: someone’s gonna die.

Throw in that adrenaline rush: we’ve got ourselves a crime spree!

I feel like Louise has done this who outlaw thing before. She’s pretty much ready and eager to just go on the run after committing her first murder. No discussion, just head for the border! She immediately decides to go to Mexico–really man at Thelma for not jumping on board with her decision to evade the authorities.

Just FYI, I cannot forgive Louise, because she hates Texas. Like, HATES it. She immediately knows that Texas is the one place where they’re sure to find you if you’re on the run. It is a pretty small place, after all. It’s where everybody knows your name.

Pretty quick, Thelma becomes an alcoholic. Immediately buying fistfuls of whiskey…because we all just saw how well everything works when we just throw alcohol at it.

Then, she can’t stop talking about how “smokin’ hot” Brad Pitt’s butt is (something of which we see all too much, after awhile).

It’s also very apparent that Brad Pitt is a vampire. He magically makes it ahead of them on a completely random road and proceeds to give them a smoldering, sexy look for about 500 miles. I shouldn’t be surprised; that’s what cowboy-vampire-hobo-bank-robbers do, after all.

It’s shameless how much they just gratuitously have Brad Pitt shirtless.

Seriously.

Stop it.

Put. It. Away.

…and then he burns them. That’s what you get for sleeping with someone like him! Now, there obviously is nothing else to do than to turn to a life of crime. All of a sudden, Thelma is a seasoned, calm, cool, and collected bank robber. No qualms. No regrets.

In addition, Louise is an expert in legal intricacies.

Harvey Keitel, a kind-hearted but relentless cop, gives Thelma a talking to, and she replies with snarky comments.

*Cue driving montage with dated musical ballad and rude truck driver*

I know, let’s rob a cop and make him cry! It’s OK, though, because they apologize for it.

Also, they want hick truck drivers to apologize for lewdness. It’s great that these ladies have morals.

But be sure not to litter. That would be wrong.

Favorite quote:

“If working in a bar doesn’t make you an expert on human nature, nothing does.”

True story!

“I’ve always believed that, if done properly, armed robbery doesn’t have to be a completely unpleasant experience.”

Well, that’s just good sense!

Moral of the story: As long as you have a really, really good reason, and nothing to tie you down, do whatever you want, because it’s cathartic and you’re enjoying yourself.

However, at the end of the road, when the big bad cop (who really doesn’t want to bust you, he just wants to help) is about to catch you, drive off a cliff. Just do it.

“At least now I’m getting to have some fun!”

I wasn’t overly thrilled with this movie. I sympathized with Thelma at least because she had a bad situation to escape. However, it didn’t really work for me that they just easily jump into a life of crime out of the blue.

Verdict: I see how the feminist symbolism comes into play here, but is the best way to take charge of your life to go on a crime spree? I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t really say it deserves a place in the Top 100 modern classics.

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13 thoughts on “Thelma & Louise

  1. I enjoyed the stream of consciousness, although I do worry a bit that it may take you out of the movie at times because your attention is split, however since you are a cylon that may not ever be a problem.

    Let me preface my response by saying “Thelma and Louise” is not one of my favorite movies. I don’t dislike it, but I’ve seen it once and that’s all I really need to see.

    I would like to play devil’s advocate however and argue that it should not be removed from the list and here’s why.

    You mention the feminist symbolism and question whether a crime spree is really the best way to take charge of your life. Well, no. Obviously, that is not the best way, however if this story was not sensationalized in that way, I doubt it would even be on the list at all because let’s be honest, a movie about a woman simply taking control of her life isn’t going to “make the list”. So let’s up the ante and have her unintentionally go on a crime spree, kill some people, and drive off a cliff. Because that’s the only way women can truly be happy…when they are dead:-)

    A movie simply about a woman realistically putting her life together or even a normal friendship between women wouldn’t make the Top 100 list. Do you know how I know? Because it didn’t! If you look at the list there are only two American films that list only women as the headlining cast: “Thelma and Louise” and “Mulholland Drive”. If you had in foreign films, you add two or three more creating a grand total of five movies out of one hundred with a leading female cast. Now that’s not to say that there are not choices out there. Off the top of my head I’m gonna throw out “The Color Purple”, “Heavenly Creatures”, “The Queen”, and “The Hours” as examples of an entirely female leading cast.

    Well written parts for women are few and far between in Hollywood. They either aren’t made or don’t open widely enough to draw much of crowd.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that I do have kind of problem with you taking “Thelma and Louise” off the list because it is a good, memorable movie with an all female leading cast which is a rarity on this list which let’s be honest, is a bit of a sausage fest.

    If you insist on taking it off, then I will insist that you replace it with another exclusively female leading cast.

    Sincerely,

    BD

  2. Actually, The Color Purple is one I’m considering putting on my “To Be Added” list, which I think is a more realistic version of empowerment and strength. I realize that it’s hyperbolic, over-sensationalized tale, but I just felt that there was another way to go about it. I don’t have a better suggestion, but I wasn’t wowed by it as a whole.
    It’s one of those times I have conflicts on cheering for the bad guys–even though I love the Ocean’s 11 movies, I always feel dirty. This time, though, I just feel like, when it’s all based on a misunderstanding that is just continuously being blown out of proportion–they were repeatedly offered help and a way out, but they just kept running which, as the cop stated, would have been understandable, but they compound it with more crime. What’s the point in that, other than to exacerbate the situation.
    I do agree that there is a serious lack of good female-led movies, but is this the standard that we’re going to go by? Just because it’s got a female cast it should be placed on the list? Why not Kill Bill? I’ll probably put that on the list…

    • I understand what you are saying about cheering for the bad guys because I sometimes have that same problem, however, I don’t know that this is a film necessarily built entirely on misunderstanding. I mean it starts when Thelma almost gets raped and Louise doesn’t want to go back through Texas because she was raped and likely killed her rapist. I think the film does kind of play out as a bit of a revenge fantasy for the powerlessness felt by women who are victims of rape. In “The Color Purple” and “Thelma and Louise” women who are raped find strength in very intimate female relationships. I am not saying this should be the standard for all female-centric movies or should be placed on the list simply because it is an all female leading cast, but on a list where “Dazed and Confused” and “There’s Something About Mary” can make it on the list, then I don’t have such a big problem with “Thelma and Louise” staying.

      Also, I think it might be helpful for you to articulate at some point the standard by which you are judging the movies. For example, I believe that despite its obvious flaws, “Thelma and Louise” may help some women in the audience come to terms with a trauma she has been through be it rape or attempted rape. To me that is a powerful movie and certainly would deserve to be on a list of Top 100, but that would be my criteria.

      It might be helpful for your readers if as you are watching, you develop your criteria.

      BD

  3. “Because that’s the only way women can truly be happy…when they are dead…”

    Hmmmm…..

    Actually, I think the whole shebang… alcohol, crime, violence, callousness…. actually demonstrates one of the flaws of modern feminism. The answer to a woman gaining power is not behaving like a man. Can’t we come up with more creative and interesting ways to take back our lives?

    I wouldn’t say it should necessarily be added to this top movies list, but “The Women” was a fairly recent film with an all female cast (and most of the crew was as well) featuring a woman taking back her life and maintaining female friendships.

    • Amen, sister!

      I totally agree with your critique of modern feminism. Women can be empowered only if they act like men. While that attitude certainly isn’t the only one, it does exist and it is pervasive to be sure.

      The new version of “The Women” is a terrible film that sucks all the spirit of the original dry and then vomits it up all over everything. So unfortunately, I don’t believe it belongs on The Reader’s list. However, the original “The Women” does deserve a spot on yours if it isn’t included already.

      BD

  4. Oh yeah…and I want to apologize to all women (particularly to Thelma and Louise) for taking away your power with my overwhelming masculinity.

    I just can’t control it…

    • LOL!

      BTW, I don’t disagree with your review. I think you should have been even harder on it. Normally devil’s advocate is fun for me. But I dislike this film too much to do intellectual dance moves.

      Best scene of the movie? Over the cliff — the pain is finally over!!

  5. Oo, I love the stream-of-consciousness review. Also, I think Boy Detective is brilliant! Haven’t even seen this movie, but I love this idea of watching the Top 100 movies. Soon one will come along where I can even make an intelligent comment!
    Love,
    Siouxsie

    • Thanks Siouxsie:-)

      If The Reader’s first posting is any indication, I imagine that there will be quite a bit of discussion before this series ends.

      BD

  6. Pingback: Hard Boiled « Elementary, My Dear Reader

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