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The Wizard of Oz Tag

“The truth be told, a villian’s the best way to go. Playing a bad guy…it’s better lines, it’s more colorful, audiences vicariously love you because a lot of times everything they want to do in real life but they can’t do, which you can do in the movies. Contrarily, women…it’s taken them so much longer to be comfortable in playing the villains. When I look back to when I was producing [One Flew Over the] Cuckoo’s Nest, and all the actresses that turned down the part of Nurse Ratched because they didn’t want to play a villain…Louise Fletcher gets an Oscar for playing it well.”— Michael Douglas, discussing villainous roles on Alec Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s the Thing.

As I was putting together this list, I thought a lot about Hollywood’s definition of “villain,” particularly in the context of female villains. For example, Hollywood tends to like its female villains in the form of witches, evil queens and wicked stepmothers whose dastardly deeds are often motivated by vanity and jealousy. Other female villains are evil because of men — men who wrong them, who try to leave them, who cheat on them, who won’t date them. And if you are a woman who is with the man desired by a female villain, you better watch out. Sometimes, female villains — often those in horror films — are just plain batshit crazy (although a man often has something to do with this as well). Then there are the female villains who are hungry for power, money, and fame, motivations typically attributed to male villains (personally, I prefer this type of female villain).

I also found that, particularly in modern films, Hollywood seems to feel the need to make female villains more complex than male villains. If she isn’t an evil queen or a wicked stepmother, much importance is placed on the backstory of a female villain. For example, you might have a film in which a young woman seduces and kills older men, and when she’s finally caught, it is revealed that she was raped by her father as a teen and that traumatic event caused her to go crazy and murder men who reminded her of her father. I find it fascinating that there is more of a need to explain away the actions of a female villain that that of a male villain, to make the audience feel sorry for her rather than loathe her. Why do we have such a hard time accepting that a woman can be horrible for no reason other than she just is  horrible?

After researching this piece, I don’t know if I necessarily agree with Mr. Douglas’s take on women playing villains — there are a lot of great female villains in film and, even though they may have been reluctant to play villains at first, all of these actresses seem pretty comfortable in their roles. I had a difficult time narrowing my list of favorites down to a manageable number because there are so many wonderful female villains. I’m sure I’ve left off some loathsome ladies you love, so let me know who they are in the comments!

Warning: some of the clips below are spoiler-y, so watch at your own risk.

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Wow! You like us! You really like us! The numbers for Episode 1 of The Popdose Podcast were so high that we knew we had to come back for a second episode. (In all honesty, we were coming back regardless. We had too much fun last time, and none of us know how to take a hint anyway.)

With Halloween just a week away at the time of this recording, we decided to ask ourselves: what scared the crap out of us as children? Although our therapy bills this week have definitely skyrocketed, we hope you’ll find our confessions entertaining — and if not, you can count on plenty — plenty! — of digressions into other topics on the way.

So listen away! You can download here, or subscribe in iTunes (link below). Please leave us your thoughts in the comments, and if you like the show, please leave a review on iTunes. Enjoy!

The Popdose Podcast, Episode 2: Dixie Carter’s Laundry (1:01:36, 56.5 MB), featuring Jeff Giles, Jason Hare, and Dave Lifton.
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Show Notes

0:00 Intro, including an unfortunate digression into having sex with soup.

Theme: Things That Scared the Crap Out of Us as Children

Who doesn’t love The Wizard of Oz? (That was a rhetorical question. Put your hands and middle fingers down.)

Last week in Bootleg City, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the classic MGM film about a girl named Dorothy and her three bachelor uncles, I put together a special outdoor screening in MacArthur Park. To make it even more special, I trucked in a bunch of poppies and planted them right in front of the screen.

Unfortunately, almost as soon as Leo the Lion finished roaring, people started passing out left and right. It turns out those poppies were opium poppies, just like in the movie. But can you really blame me for thinking sleep-inducing flowers were a fictional device created specifically for the film? Honestly! Munchkins? Flying monkeys? A land where gay men are granted basic human rights? All that stuff is make-believe!

But opium poppies, as it turns out, are real. And now I’ve accidentally put 2,000 taxpayers in a coma. And when they wake up, most of them will be opium addicts.

Hmm … I wonder if I can keep them asleep until after November 3. I have a feeling a few of them might not vote for me if they wake up in time for the election.

Posies don’t have opium in them, do they? Good. Because this week the featured bootleg is “The Last Show,” a document of the Posies’ farewell performance on September 19, 1998, at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill. Of course, the Seattle power-pop group then reunited in 1999, 2000, 2001, and every year after that, culminating in 2005 with the release of their first album in seven years, Every Kind of Light.