May 15, 2007

Top 5 Bitches in Movies

I take the word "bitch" very seriously. I believe that it is overused to describe feisty women who get what they want. But there are real bitches out there...women who are really mean and catty, but also pack the dangerous punch of smarts and cunning. (I'm ashamed to admit that I was friends with some in high school). You'll notice my old-movie bias, because I don't think that they make on-screen bitches like they used to. They can't just be mean - they have to be smarts and substance. A good cinematic bitch is great to watch, as demonstrated by the fact that two of the movies on my list won the Best Picture Oscar, and another was nominated. On that note, here are my top 5 biggest bitches in movies, in no particular order:

1. Regina George in Mean Girls.
Type: Classic high school bitch.
Portrayed by Rachel McAdams, she is the personification of the blonde, power-hungry alpha female. Her nastiness knows no bounds, from snide comments behind people's backs, to a "burn book" saying horrible things about everyone in school. She comes around in the end, however, channeling her aggression into sports.
Quote: "Do you know what everyone says about you behind your back? Hmm? They say that you're a homeschooled jungle freak, that's a less hot version of me!"
2. Eve Harrington in All About Eve.
Type: Bitch in disguise.
Here's your typical bitch-playing-innocent routine. She starts out the film as a naive girl worshipping actress Margo Channing, and then uses cunning and manipulation to claim Margo's career - and man - for herself. Anne Baxter's slimy and sickly sweet portrayal churns your stomach.
Quote: It's too long to put in here, but she makes up a ridiculous sob story about her rough past so that Margo will pity and accept her.
3. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca.
Type: Eerie matronly Hitchcock bitch.
Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) was a fan of her employer's deceased wife, Rebecca. She is not a fan of his new wife, a sentiment she makes clear by repeatedly suggesting that the new Mrs. de Winter commit suicide. Oh, and then she goes apeshit and burns down the house. Fun fact: Hitchcock said that the costumes for this character were designed so that she would always appear to be floating over the ground instead of walking, making her even creepier.
Quote: (next to an open window) "Go ahead. Jump. He never loved you, so why go on living? Jump and it will all be over..."
4. Basically the entire cast of The Women.
Type: Catty, gossipy bitches.
This is the film that my gay coworker Davy, a veritable conoisseur of bitchy movies, called "too much for me." It's hard to select just one bitch from it, although the protagonist Mary Haines is largely exempt. Main bitches include Sylvia Fowler (Rosalind Russell, delightful to watch as she ruins reputations), Miriam Aarons (Paulette Goddard), and Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford), all guilty of some serious adultery, man-snatching, and talking behind people's backs. At the end, Mary realizes that she has to beat them all at their own game, in a triumphant scene at a party where she exposes everyone's secrets to each other.
Quote: (Crystal Allen): "There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn't used in high society... outside of a kennel."
5. Veda Pierce in Mildred Pierce.
Type: Ungrateful, spiteful, teenage bitch.
Watching this movie, I wanted to jump into the screen and punch Veda (played by Ann Blyth, who earned an Oscar nomination) in the face. She plays the daughter of the titular Mildred, a working-class woman who works her working-class ass off to give her daughter all the luxuries she wants, but to Veda, it's never enough. She is always embarassed by the fact that her mother works, and is always acts like her mother leaves her needs unfulfilled. Oh, and then she steals her mother's old husband so that she can give him the life she wants. Karma kicks her ass in the end, though.
Quote: (to her mother) "You think just because you made a little money you can get a new hairdo and some expensive clothes and turn yourself into a lady. But you can't, because you'll never be anything but a common frump!"

Honorable mentions:

- Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore) in Saved!
I excluded her because the character of Hilary Faye gets into the slippery slope of people who are psychotic bitches because of religion. They often don't understand that being a bitch for religion is wrong, whereas the other lovely ladies on this list are most certainly aware that their behavior is not exactly angelic. That said, she has some awesome bitch moments, like when she violently hurls a Bible at Mary (Jena Malone) and screams, "I am SO full of Christ love!!"
- Mary Tilford (Karen Balkin) in The Children's Hour
More of a bitchlette, since she's about 11 or so. She couldn't anticipate the consequences of the lie she tells to avoid going back to school. However, she most certainly knows what she's doing when she manipulates her poor classmate Rosalie into lying for her, by saying that the police are hot on the trail of a missing bracelet that Rosalie took from another girl. And her eyes bug out and she's really intense, even for an 11-year old.

3 comments:

Brook said...

Mrs. Danvers I think actually comes off as a pretty sympathetic character - you could even consider her yet another of Rebecca's victims. And of course, Regina George is NOTHING compared to Heather Chandler from Heathers (the character that clearly inspired the creation of Regina). Another nice inclusion could have been Sarah Silverman's character from School of Rock. You pretty much want to punch her in the face every time she's on screen.

Still, Veda Pierce: most evil character in any movie ever.

Kelly said...

yes

this is a nice list even though the only movies i'v seen are mean girls and saved!

which i would put hillary faye #1 on my list just because that is basically the kind of bitches i deal with the most

and i assume you didn't put heather chandler on there because you haven't seen heathers

if that is the case

you need to see it because i have a feeling you would like it

Anonymous said...

I agree You most likely haven't seen Heathers. Cause even though Regina is a bitch she wouldn't just for fun make someone so sad and depressed that they would want to kill themselves. Mean girls was basically played off the movie Heathers. Anyways Heather Chandler would make Regina George cry and wish she were dead.