Friday, March 6, 2009

Quentin Tarantino's 5 most insufferable female characters

We all have our own favorite female Quentin Tarantino character – O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) from Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is mine. Some of the characters are truly great, and for whatever reason it is easy to connect with them, root for them, and even, fall in love with them. The list of Tarantino's greatest female characters could include The Bride from Kill Bill, Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction, Kate Fuller in From Dusk Till Dawn, or that greatest of all Tarantino characters – Jackie Brown. Sadly, there are female characters who aren't so easy to appreciate. Some characters are just so cartoonish, so vulgar, so...well, let's get real here – so badly written (and in some cases acted) that most of them deserve the sticky ends they are dealt with.

So, with a buttload of spoilers ahead, I'm going to list the 5 female characters, as written by Quentin Tarantino that we cannot stand...

1) Vernita Green/Copperhead (Kill Bill: Vol. 1)
When we meet Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), she's in a fight with a vengeful Bride (Uma Thurman) – kitchen knives and all. It's enough to trick us into thinking she's one of those Tarantino characters. That fizzles when Vernita's daughter interrupts the fight. Then Vernita pleads with The Bride to spare her daughter and tries to atone for betraying her. It's a more sass than class, smart alecky, and demanding plea. There's something about a mother begging for her child that's supposed to feel real, if even a bit touching. Vernita's plea is unrealistic, and The Bride doesn't buy it. By the time Vernita tries to kill The Bride with a gun hidden in a box of Kaboom breakfast cereal we (and evidently The Bride) have had enough. Thankfully she promptly throws a knife into Vernita's chest and she dies on the cereal covered kitchen floor. Dignified? Nope. Deserved? You bet.

2) “Jungle Julia” Lucai (Grindhouse: Death Proof)
She's attractive and wears short shorts. What's not to love? Plenty. Jungle Julia (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) promises a free lap dance from her pal Arlene to anyone who can perform three pointless tasks. Jungle Julia's rationale for why her friend should stoop to such ridiculous behavior? - “everyone in Austin will think she's chickenshit.” (Oh, well in that case...) This lame, and pretty damn vulgar exchange of lap dances for cheap drinks might seem realistic in Quentin Tarantino's head, but it isn't real anywhere else. After that, Jungle Julia is, not surprisingly, easy to hate by anyone who isn't male and under the age of 16. Don't be fooled into thinking this character is “strong” or “layered.” When you have me using words that my mother uses like “cheap” and “floozy” you know you've crossed the line.

3) Arlene (Grindhouse: Death Proof)
The only thing worse than a woman who pawns off her friend to give lap dances, is the friend who gives the lap dances. Which is exactly what happens when a creepy Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) demands, charms, goads, and strokes Arlene's (Vanessa Ferlito) apparently easily bruised ego. Stuntman Mike even admits to having stalked Arlene for much of the day, but her this-guy-is-a-weirdo-who-means-to-hack-me-to-pieces radar just doesn't go off. She agrees to give Stuntman Mike a public lap dance for free. And for the record, she doesn't even have the decency to make it a good one. The entire painful ordeal is fucking dreadful, and you know what? Salma Hayek did it better in From Dusk Till Dawn.

4) Fabienne (Pulp Fiction)
Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros) for all her annoyances and wide eyed bewilderment almost doesn't deserve to be here. Actress Maria de Medeiros is pretty good in the role, but if you despise Fabienne, there is no one to blame but Quentin Tarantino. There is nothing subtle about her, and why a character like Butch (Bruce Willis) would put up with her airheadedness remains a mystery. From the rounds of endless (and often asinine) questions she piles on Butch, particularly in times of great danger, to leaving Butch's fucking watch behind, it has become much easier to see over the years why so many people, regardless of gender, find her insufferable.

5) “Honey Bunny” (Pulp Fiction)
Yes, I'm going there. In the first scene of Pulp Fiction “Honey Bunny” aka Yolanda (Amanda Plummer) is one badass half of a duo of armed robbers. She's tough, fearless, and in charge. By the end of the film, she's a snivelling, pathetic, wreck of a girl. After initiating a diner robbery with her “Pumpkin” aka “Ringo” (Tim Roth), a cool Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) turns the tables on the hapless pair and holds Pumpkin at gunpoint. Instead of being calm and cool like her male counterparts Honey Bunny goes into a fit of weeping hysterics so embarrassing that to this day, I cringe through most of the scene. Jules obviously notices it too (“bitch be cool”), and by the time the women in the audience realize they've been hoodwinked, Pumpkin leaves the diner – stolen cash in one hand and a subdued Honey Bunny in the other.

Well, there's the list people. You probably agree with some on this list and disagree with others, or even all of them. That's the great thing about movies. So, who else would you have added to this list?

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