Thursday Movie Picks: Female Ensembles

On the eve before the gimmicky all female Ghost Busters, this week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is something we could always do with more of: female ensembles. I actually ended up using a lot of female ensemble movies in previous picks, so this is what I came up with:

1) Little Women

My sister was in the hospital when we were kids, and for some reason this is the only thing she wanted to watch. So we watched it over and over. I was too young at the time to fully appreciate it, but I do so much more now. 

2) Girl, Interrupted

It's been a while since I've thought about this film. Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, and Brittany Murphy gave such excellent performances. Now I really want to re-watch this. 

3) The Descent 

One of my favorite horror movies involves a group of women that go spelunking. This film is so creepy, I always recommend it. 

30 comments:

  1. The Descent. Awesome pick! I love that film and it's one of my favorite horror films too, perhaps one of the best this century.

    Haven't seen your other picks though.

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    1. Yes! I'm glad you love it too, it's amazing.

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  2. I loved Girl, Interrupted and the performances were amazing. I've only seen a few scenes of Little Women, but I should definitely check it out.

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    1. The acting in Girl, Interrupted is top notch, I agree. I need to revisit that one again.

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  3. Great choices for the theme.

    This version of Little Women is terrific. All the actresses fit their roles so well and I love Mary Wickes as Aunt March. Actually I really all three versions of the story that I've seen. The 30's one with Kate Hepburn is a bit stiff but she's wonderful in. I like the 40's remake as well with Elizabeth Taylor as Amy though June Allyson at 32 was pushing it to be a convincing Jo.

    Girl, Interrupted was too dark for me to say I enjoyed it but I appreciated how well made it was and the performances were excellent by all.

    Haven't seen The Descent, not much for horror.

    I've been looking forward to this week. Love this sort of film and as I warmed to the theme I came up with so many favorites I found it impossible to narrow to less than six. So I’ve split into two entries, one with three films from the studio era, the Golden Age of female led films and three more contemporary pictures.

    Classics first:

    Cry “Havoc” (1943)-As WWII rages in the Philippines a group of women volunteer to help the army nurses in a hospital unit on Bataan. Set mostly in their protective bunker and the switchboard that brings increasingly more dire war news this focuses on the struggles and hardships endured by the women as the front moves ever closer. The cast is comprised almost exclusively of great actresses, Margaret Sullavan, Ann Sothern, Joan Blondell and Fay Bainter among them, with only very brief glimpses of men, including a young Robert Mitchum. A compelling heavy drama leavened by doses of gallows humor.

    Westward the Women (1951)-Unvarnished look at the hard road faced by a group of women settlers on a wagon train to California. Robert Taylor, weathered and hard is the rough but fair wagon master and has the only significant male role. Hope Emerson stands out as a plain speaking, no nonsense traveler but all the performances are very good. The cost of the trip is honestly depicted as heavy with human lives. Written by Frank Capra and directed with an unflinching eye by Wild Bill Wellman, an involving, unusual picture.

    The Doughgirls (1944)-Frenzied comedy with a dated situation, the housing shortage in DC during WWII, and an amazing cast of brilliant actresses. Ann Sheridan, skillful with a quip or a withering look, Jane Wyman, sweet and endearing but a borderline idiot, and an ultra-glamorous Alexis Smith. They’re former chorus girls who all camp out in one of the few available rooms when they find their recent marriages called into question as many colorful characters pass through. They’re delightful but don't stand a chance when Eve Arden swoops in as a Russian commando stealing scenes with undisguised glee tearing into her character with abandon and wiping everybody out of the picture.

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    1. I haven't seen nor heard of any of these picks. Thanks for sharing them!

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  4. And the three of more recent years:

    8 Women (2002)-As a wealthy French family, comprised it seems entirely of women, gathers for the holiday the patriarch is murdered off stage and they are trapped by a snowstorm to figure out which of the eight has committed the crime, occasionally bursting into song along the way. Unique, wacky and bizarre semi-musical comic murder mystery set during Christmas is jam packed with great French actresses including Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Fanny Ardant and Isabelle Huppert. They make the often preposterous goings on plausible.

    Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)-In a dusty Texas town near the location the movie Giant was filmed a devoted group of female James Dean fans reunite 20 years after the film wrapped at the Five & Dime that is was the center of their world. They laugh, argue and reminisce while wondering whether their sole male club member will return. Ultimately long buried secrets are revealed. Highly eclectic cast, Cher, Sandy Dennis, Karen Black and a just starting out Kathy Bates all give excellent idiosyncratic performances. Robert Altman’s filmization of the play he directed on Broadway with the entire cast returning is entertaining and unique.

    Tea with Mussolini (1999)-In 30’s Florence young Luca, motherless and ignored by his father due to his illegitimacy, is taken under the wing of the father’s secretary (Joan Plowright), her group of women friends, somewhat affectionately known as The Scorpioni (including Maggie Smith and Judi Dench), as well as old friends of his mother, Georgie and Elsa (Lily Tomlin and Cher). As Mussolini moves the country progressively towards Hitler’s ideology all their lives are affected but the strength of their spirit and devotion to each other never waver.

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    1. I've heard of 8 Women, but not the other two.

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  5. Great picks! I love the first two. Haven't seen The Descent. Too scared. Now I may have to see it though. I love badass women taking care of shit in my horror movies, when I do watch them.

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    1. You definitely need to see the Descent. It's freaky, but worth it.

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  6. I have seen 2 version of Little Women and what a great choice. I never even thought of them. I saw the early one with Katherine Hepburn which was excellent and the later version with Elizabeth Taylor and June Allyson. I also like Girl, Interrupted because it had such a great cast and showcased how mixed up some of these gals are. Whoopi Goldberg was great in this

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    1. I've only seen this version, I never caught the older ones. Maybe some day.

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  7. The Descent is SO BADASS! I remember seeing that in the theater with my brother and both of us nearly having panic attacks...brilliant use of atmosphere there.

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    1. I agree. I actually stretched my arms out at one point during it because I was feeling so claustrophobic.

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  8. I've also not seen The Descent. Didn't much care for it, but it was one of those late night viewings where I may or may not have dozed off several times. I owe it another watch. Desperately need to see your other two picks.

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    1. The Descent is so creepy, I'm surprised you dozed lol. If you see it again, I hope you enjoy it more.

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  9. Yay for Girl, Interrupted and The Descent!

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  10. I've only seen Little Women which I'm not a fan of (I think I'm the only one) but teh other two are great picks - catch watch horror though. My friend loves Girl Interrupted and I feel its a film I should have seen

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    1. You should check it out sometime. I'm sure it still holds up today.

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  11. Awesome choices! GI has one of the best ensemble performances I've ever seen, everyone was amazing there even the cat

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    1. Thank you! And yes it does. I need to watch that again.

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  12. I absolutely adore this version of Little Women - so perfectly cast (even the men). Beth's death scene is the first time I remember crying in a theater.

    I can't believe I didn't think of Girl, Interrupted! SUCH a terrific cast and really well-done movie. Brittany Murphy just breaks my heart.

    I haven't seen The Descent yet, but I want to since I've heard such amazing things. But OOF do I have a hard time with horror...

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    1. This one is especially creepy to but it's worth it!

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  13. Very nice picks! Little Women was one of my favorite movies growing up. I think Christian Bale had something to do with it mostly. lol I'm reading Girl, Interrupted right now and it makes me want to watch the movie again. I haven't seen the Descent yet but the cast sounds pretty cool!

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    1. I've never read the book, I should to see how it compares to the film.

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  14. Little Women and Girl, Interrupted.... Yes. The Descent is a film I haven't seen so I can't comment about that.

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  15. I still haven't seen the The Descent because it just look too too scary.

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    1. It is pretty scary, but it's worth it.

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