Thursday, August 23, 2012

Girls, Guns and Glory - Casting the Female Version of The Expendables

I recently read that the Hollywood PTB (Powers That Be) are planning on making a female version of The Expendables. This got my action movie lovin' heart racing and I started planning my dream cast and storyline in my head, which kind of follows below. The actresses are all similarly aged to their male counterparts in Stallone's muscle fest and are all (mostly) top-notch actresses to boot. What do you think? Who would you cast?

The Leader: Pam Grier 
Who else could it possibly be?

Known for: Coffy, Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown.
 Kicks ass with: Her sass, her mitts and some gats. 

Her trusted sidekick: Milla Jovovich
She and Pam Grier have a mother-daughter relationship.

Known for: The Resident Evil movies, Fifth Element and Ultraviolet.
Kicks ass with: Lots and lots of guns. 

Her formerly-trusted-now-rogue sidekick: Asia Argento
 Asia used to be Pam Grier's right hand woman before she decided she didn't give a fuck anymore.

Known for: Land of the Dead, XxX, The Last Mistress and Boarding Gate.
Kicks ass with: Anything at her disposal - guns, knives, high heels, etc.

Pam's support system: Gina Carano
She'll knock you into the next century.

Known for: Haywire and being a Muay Thai champion.
Kicks ass with: Her mad Muay Thai skills.

Pam's support system: Zoe Bell
 The comic relief and all-around bad ass. Oh, and her mother is Pam's worst enemy.

Known for: Death Proof, Whip It, working with Quentin Tarantino and being the best stunt woman in the biz.
Kicks ass with: Her mighty muscles and adorable personality.

The Wise One: Maggie Cheung 
Pam's conscience. She supplies her with top secret info and fashion advice.

Known for: It would take too long to explain, so please just check out her filmography. You should watch The Heroic Trio RIGHT NOW.
Kicks ass with: Asian super powers.

Pam's Old Rival #1: Joanne Nail

Pam's Old Rival #2: Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney, Pam and Joanne used to be best friends. Now they just trade secrets from time to time.

Sigourney is known for: The Alien franchise and countless others.
Kicks ass with: Whatever she can get her hands on.

Joanne is known for: Switchblade Sisters.
Kicks ass with: Switchblades and her mousy voice.

Asia's Aunt/Former Enemy: Lucy Lawless
When Asia decides she doesn't give a fuck anymore, she turns to her Aunt Lucy for guidance. Auntie suggests she joins forces with Pam's most bitter enemy.

Known for: Xena: Warrior Princess, Spartacus TV show.
Kicks ass with: Her warrior princess powers. 

Pam's Most Bitter Enemy: Cynthia Rothrock
She and Pam were girls together and best pals until Cynthia betrayed her. Needless to say, Cynthia isn't very fond of Pam for mentoring her daughter, Zoe.

Known for: Being an Asian cinema super star and working with director Cory Yuen a lot.
Kicks ass with: Her five black belts.

Cynthia's Sidekick: Lucy Liu
She grunts a lot.

Known for: The Charlie's Angels movies, Kill Bill vol. 1, Alley McBeal.
 Kicks ass with: Martial arts, guns and being quick like a bunny.

Their Heroine: Helen Holmes
Every lady in this movie will occasionally reference Helen Holmes who they affectionately call Grandma.

Pam Grier's Super Hot Latino BF: Javier Bardem
I mean, if Sly can get  Gisele ItiĆ©, why can't Pam have Javier? Eh?

Milla's Super Sensitive BF/Buffy the Vampire Slayer Cast Alum: James Marsters

There you have it. I have the foundation for the storyline forming in my head, but I don't quite have all the pieces put together. What do you think it should be? 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

If I had a Ballot - Sara's Top 10

This would be my top ten:

1) Rio Bravo (Hawks, '59)

2) Way Down East (Griffith, '20)

3) Die Hard with a Vengeance (McTiernan, '95)

4) Street of Shame (Mizoguchi, '56)

5) Tea and Sympathy (Minnelli, '56)/Some Came Running (Minnelli, '58)

6) Marnie (Hitchcock, '64)

7) 7 Women (Ford, '66)

8) Magnificent Obsession (Sirk, '54)

9) A Star is Born (Cukor, '54)/The Marrying Kind (Cukor, '52)

10) Kustom Kar Kommandos (Anger, '70) 

+ Now, Voyager (Rapper, '44)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roots in Wrath

Do you know about your family's history? I wish I knew more about mine. I've been thinking about my roots ever since I decided to move to a different country. I know that I'm mostly German, but like most Anglo-Saxon Americans, we weren't really a cultural celebration type of family and I know next to nothing about my European ancestry. I only connect with my German roots by loving Dachshunds, Fritz Lang and Marlene Dietrich.

Wie auch immer.

I would like to tell you that I'm related to some King, Queen, Duchess or famous rotten scoundrel, but I know this is actually where I come from:


And this is how I came to be born in Oregon by way of California:

Oklahoma Dust Bowl Refugees in San Fernando, CA. 06/1935.

My roots are 100% American working class.

My Grandma Bea, who just celebrated her 85th birthday, made the epic trip from Oklahoma to California with her many relatives during the Great Depression. She's told me stories about the journey – about the lard sandwiches they ate, about the crowded camps they stayed in, and the hope and ambition each person in her family had for their future  in California. Those sparkling dreams were met with incredible hardship and sacrifice, but somehow our family survived.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to visit my family in over three years. They've been on my mind a great deal lately because I love and miss them so dearly. It will probably be at least another year before I get to see any of them again. Before I left, we all talked over the possibility of either me visiting them in Oregon or them visiting me in Chicago, but, it was decided that it would benefit me more if they  gave me money instead. After all, I can't eat well wishes and sentiment. The Depression might have happened almost eighty years ago, but we're still the same practical, tough old birds we always were because the pain and price of being poor is the same as it ever was.

I'm sure a fair number of films have captured these working class blues before, but two really hit home for me: Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), where an ever so lovely elderly couple are forced to separate because they can't afford to take care of themselves during the Depression, and The Grapes of Wrath (1940), which has become our family movie of sorts. There are so many haunting images and moments in that film I'll never forget – Jane Darwell sorting through her beloved trinkets and holding the teardrop earrings to her face, John Carradine's lifeless body hitting the water after he's killed with a club, and Henry Fonda's walk as he shuffles off from his family at the end of the movie. The film's power comes from those hard to swallow feelings, those gotta-do-whatcha-gotta-do-hurts-so-bad-i-wanna-cry times when your loved ones die, you're so hungry you're numb, misery at every corner moments and you have no choice but to get yourself up, dust yourself off and do it all over again. There's no use crying over what you can't control.

Though I miss my family, I am truly grateful for the sacrifices and support they've given me over the years to help me achieve my dreams. I'm not there yet, but I owe every little bit of my success to the canning factory operators, grocery store cashiers, lumber mill laborers and, yes, Okie migrant workers who worked so hard and dreamed of better tomorrows to help me get here. I am proud to be working class, proud to be part of my family's American dream. With their history on my side, I know I can make it.