Posts Tagged ‘List’

Alice's Adventures in WonderlandYesterday at my check-in for ROW80 I told you guys I started listening to audiobooks. This is actually my first experience with audiobooks, and…I don’t know how I feel about them just yet.

I’m having that same internal struggle I had when I started reading eBooks. I feel like it’s cheating in a way, but at the same time, it’s still the same information. I’m still experiencing a story, even if I’m not reading it myself.

I’ve made a list of pros and cons to figure how I really feel about audiobooks. (The lists are pretty much dead even.) Feel free to chime in and let me know what you think about them or if you have any points to add to my list.

Pros

  • More visual: When listening to an audiobook, the story seems to come more alive for me. The verbs are more visual. You can’t focus on the words and the way they look, which I guess is what I often do when reading. Instead, you have to focus on the images those words produce in your mind. Now, I always picture a book as I read it, but I realized that with an audiobook, the images just seem to be more vivid.
  • Multitasking: This is probably my favorite thing about audiobooks. There are some things I have to do for work or otherwise that, frankly, don’t take a lot of brain power. So I can put on an audiobook while I do these tasks, and not only am I getting work done, but I’m reading too! It’s really a great way to keep myself occupied.
  • Personality of the narrator: The personality of the narrator enhances the story a great deal. Sometimes there are multiple narrators, which is always fun, and sometimes it’s just one person. Either way, it’s nice to hear someone else telling you a story. The people who narrate these books are always enthusiastic about them, and it makes for a more interesting experience.
  • Read the classics: I have trouble reading all those classics, but I’ve started listening to them as audiobooks and it’s made the experience a lot easier. Not only can I get through one of them a lot quicker (in a couple of hours instead of weeks at a time), but it makes the story come alive in ways I have trouble with when I read it myself. I actually have a lot more to say about classics and why they’re so difficult for me, so look for that blog post later this week. For now, suffice it to say that this makes reading everything I should have already been familiar with a lot easier.

Cons:

  • Repetitive: When you read a book, as opposed to listening to it, you don’t notice all the he said, she said dialogue tags. Your eyes just sort of skim over them. But when you have a lengthy dialogue exchange, the repetition of these dialogue days can be quite annoying. This is especially true when you have multiple narrators, because you don’t need this information repeated. Additionally, I find the use of adverbs – when totally necessary in the story – is unnecessary in an audio book. When a narrator says, “The cat climbed up the tree,” he said wryly, his voice already sounds wry. Therefore, the adverbs just get annoying because the narrator’s tone has already implied what a reader would need to know if they were merely reading the book.
  • Not good for visual learners: I’m a visual learner, and listening to audiobooks has proven difficult. I have a hard time keeping track of characters, even when there are different voices to help ease the transition. There’s just something about seeing the character name written out that makes it a lot easier to file that information away in my brain.
  • Narrator’s interpretations: This does sort of go against what I sent in the list of pros, but I think it is a separate occurrence. Or, at least, it’s dependent on the narrator. When you read a book, that experience is all your own. The voices of the characters fill your head, and you control the way they sound. However, when a narrator reads the book to you, they interpret the inflections and tones of the characters, and this can be a little jarring if you don’t quite agree with them about how a character says some of their dialogue.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  • Cheating: I can’t help it. It DOES feel like cheating to me. Or, at the very least, it feels like something completely different from reading a book. Have I truly read Alice in Wonderland? Technically, yes. I’ve experienced the same story everyone else has, despite the fact I’ve listened to it as an audiobook instead of reading it for myself. And, really, there’s nothing wrong with listening to audiobooks. If it gets people to experience a story they would’ve otherwise avoided, then I’m all for it! Perhaps this point goes back to the fact that I’m a visual learner and I have trouble cementing the details into my brain when I just listen to the story. I don’t feel as closely connected to it.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Do you think it’s “cheating”? Are there certain books, like the classics, that you’d rather listen to as an audiobook?

Ten movie cliches I can’t stand

Posted: April 12, 2013 in Movies
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Just about every movie or TV show is filled with some sort of cliche. And, you know, it’s not always a bad thing. One or two movie cliches seems to be the norm per flick, and sometimes you just have to put them in there to get from point A to point B, or to show what you need to show in terms of character development.

But, most of the time, they’re just annoying.

Hence, my list of ten movie cliches that I can’t stand (in no particular order):

1. When a character rips his shirt open. This only works when you’re the Hulk. Other times, it’s just an obvious ploy to get the main character shirtless. Most of the time I don’t complain. But usually it’s just unnecessary.

2. When a character looks up and yells, “Noooooo!” Look, if my best friend died in my arms, I probably wouldn’t even be able to speak. There’d be tears and snot and general disgustingness. I wouldn’t look up and yell at the heavens, shaking my fist at the universe. This also wouldn’t cause me to get up and seek revenge. I’d probably spend the next six months confined to my bed wondering if I would ever function normally again.

3. Super obvious product placement. You know the kind I’m referring to. It’s when the camera lingers just a moment longer on a bag or a piece of technology and you can clearly see the logo. Now, I totally get why product placement is necessary – especially for low budget TV shows. But, come on. There are better ways to do it than the main character not-so-subtly holding out the iPhone for everyone to see a text message that they could’ve read out loud for more dramatic effect. Get creative, people.

Buffy is Awesome4. When a character just has to get in that one-liner right before they kill someone. This drives me bonkers. I’m sorry, but no. You’re not going to hesitate before you shoot the guy that murdered your entire family just to say something witty. You’re going to put a bullet in his brain and be done with it. With that being said, the only time I’ve ever actually enjoyed this was on Buffy. It works on this show because it’s actually part of Buffy’s personality, and the dialogue often pointed it out and made fun of it. That sort of self-awareness makes it okay in my eyes. Plus, Joss Whedon.

5. When someone has to crack their knuckles before they get into a fight or begin torturing someone. What? Is this supposed to make them look tough? Like, all of a sudden it makes them more badass? Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. And it always makes me look at the bad guy as the dumb brute hired to be the muscle. You’ll notice the people with brains don’t usually do this.

6. Insta-love. And, in addition to this, trusting someone the minute you meet them. It’s hard to pull off an on-screen relationship that runs at the right pace. On the one hand, one of the major focuses of the story is probably the romance between the two main characters. You don’t want to drag it out too long because your audience wants to get to the good stuff. However, making two strangers fall in love at first sight is super unrealistic. And it’s been done before. A million times. In the past five years. Literally. It’s hard to find balance, but I usually like to err on the side of slow-burn rather than insta-love.

7. When someone is dying, they have enough time to say something witty or heart-wrenching, but not enough time to tell you highly important secret information. I mean, come on. My first objective if I was riddled with bullets would be to tell you who shot me, not to apologize for whatever I did that got me into that situation in the first place. Screw forgiveness. I’m dead. I don’t need it anyway. Avenge me!

Jawbreaker Poster8. The “ugly girl” is never ugly. Like, seriously. I enjoy makeover movies like Jawbreaker and Mean Girls, but those girls are not awkward and ugly. And a little bit of makeup always transforms them into super models. Obviously nothing much can be done when you’re working with beautiful or high-profile actresses, but a little bit of normalcy would go a long way with the plebs (ie. me).

9. Saying “I love you” brings the main character back to life. They’re dead. They’ve flatlined. You’ve given up hope. Banging on his chest and shaking him back to consciousness hasn’t worked. As a single tear falls from your eye and onto his face, you whisper, “I love you.” That final admission, that thing you had been holding inside this entire time, has seeped out. His eyes flutter, he coughs, and says he love you too. …………Yeah, right.

10. Good guys rarely get shot…no matter how many times they’re shot at. Okay, really? You’re an FBI agent in a firefight with members of a notorious gang, all armed with semi-automatic weapons. You’re dodging bullet. You’re rolling on the ground. You’re jumping from one place to the other. And you never get shot. Yet, you manage to take them all out one at a time. Life is just not that clean. It’s actually one of the reasons why I respect Firefly so much. Those guys get shot and cut and beat up all the time. And the doctor has to fix up their wounds. It’s realistic. Plus, you know. Joss Whedon.

What are some movie cliches that really bug you? Any that you’ve seen pulled off well, like those witty one-liners in Buffy?

My year in books (2012)

Posted: January 4, 2013 in Books & Reading
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My goal for this past year was to read 25 books. Re-reads weren’t allowed – these had to be brand new books! Luckily, I met my goal and even managed to read an extra one!

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve read with a quick blurb about how I felt about each one. I would definitely recommend most of these books for anyone, so be ready to have your Goodreads tab open. ;)

Writer’s Market: Guide to Getting Published: This is a good resource, though I think the website is a lot more helpful. It definitely gave me some insight into the world of publishing, but it was not nearly as specific as I was hoping for.

The Devil’s Mixtape by Mary Borsellino: Read my full review here. This book was really different, but in a good way. It’s dark and raw, which was actually more refreshing than off-putting.

102 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer: Although many of the mistakes and solutions were already known to me, there were Tiger's Voyagesome gems in here. It was worth a quick read just to cement some rules in my head that I tend to forget about.

Eon by Alison Goodman: A solid read, though a bit slow. Everything I was looking forward to happening either took place in the last 20 pages or ended up in the second book. Beautifully written world and very detailed.

Tiger’s Voyage: I had a heck of a time getting through this, but the ending of the book was almost worth it. Almost. It’s a wonderful concept, but I find it hard to get through the back-and-forth love triangle part. Needs more action. If you like the Twilight series, you’ll probably enjoy these books.

Oppression by Jessica Therrien: Read my full review here. I became interested in this book when I heard it was about Greek mythology in the contemporary world. What? Yes, please! It was a quick and interesting read, and full of some cool characters. I’m definitely looking forward to the second book, which will be out this year.

Marty Boggs and the Curse of Kutkara’s Tomb by M.T. Acquire: I actually read this as a Beta Reader. It’s middle grade, but still quite interesting – especially for the part of me that still secretly wishes she had become an archaeologist. It’s definitely in the vein of Nancy Drew, and is full of cool Egyptian stuff.

Noble Intentions Season 1 by L.T. Ryan: Read my full review here. This is actually a compilation of five shorter books. I love these novels because they’re fast-paced, full of action, and have a host of memorable and endearing characters. All the good guys in the book are a bit shady, and yet you can’t help but root for them. That’s the mark of a good writer.

Noble Intentions Season 2 by L.T. Ryan: Jack Noble is back! The second season was just as good as the first. I found myself falling more in love with the characters than ever before. And the end of this season definitely makes you want to dig into the next one.

The Mark of AthenaLondon Darkness: Infernal Inventions by Chris Stocking: This was my first real jump into Steampunk, and I enjoyed it. The concept Chris set up is really interesting and unique, and the characters are all super memorable.

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan: Read my full review here. I loved this book, and it was definitely one of the highlights of my year. I have a little trouble with the imagery in these books (they’re middle grade and tend to be a little ridiculous), but that’s the story Riordan wants to tell and who am I to complain? But in the end I loved it, and I’d still read anything Riordan writes.

Noble Beginnings by L.T. Ryan: This is actually a prequel book to the Noble Intentions series. It gives us a look into Jack’s past and how he came to be who he is. It also let us get inside his head a bit more, as it was written in first person POV, rather than third. It falls perfectly in line with the other books and was just as great.

Eona by Alison Goodman: The second books was harder for me to get through than the first, though I did enjoy it. It just read too slowly for me, and felt like a historical romance (which is a genre I tend to avoid). But if that’s your sort of thing, then I would definitely recommend this book.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling: Read my full review here. I was pleasantly surprised by this book because I had been hearing a lot of not-so-good things about it before I picked it up. The writing was fantastic and the story stuck with me long after I read it. The lack of real plot until the last 200 pages or so was a letdown, but otherwise this was an interesting and new type of book to read from Jo.

Warm Bodies Book CoverWarm Bodies by Isaac Marion: Read my full review here. I thought the concept was better than the actual execution, but I still really enjoyed this book. It was faced paced and exciting. Definitely a cool new twist on the zombie genre. It left me highly anticipating the movie.

On Fire by Nancy Holder: Listen to my full review here. The book didn’t live up to my expectations, though I still enjoyed reading it. If you’re a fan of the TV show Teen Wolf, I would definitely give it a try, as it goes more into the backstory of some of the characters.

Corps Justice: Back to War by C.G. Cooper: I was pleasantly surprised by this book because it isn’t something I would normally pick up. But it was well written and full of some really great characters. I keep saying it’s like the A-Team meets the Avengers. The ending definitely left me in anticipation for book two.

Corps Justice: Council of Patriots by C.G. Cooper: I enjoyed this book just as much as the first one. It was on a grander scale than the first, which lent itself to the story. New characters are introduced that are both scary (in some cases) and awesome (in others). The ending of this one was even better than the first. Waiting to find out what happens is going to be painful.

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So, there you have it. 26 books down! I’m hoping to do the same thing again this year, though I didn’t make it an official goal of mine. Still, I’d like to do the same amount or even better. My bookshelf is overflowing, so I should have no trouble finding some things to read!

Have you read any of these books? Which ones did you like the best? Are there any on this list that you’ve been meaning to read or are thinking about picking up now?

I’ve been feeling kind of nostalgic lately, you guys. I’ve decided to write up a blog post to make me feel better. Here are all the things that make me miss my childhood.

(And before you laugh, YES I am a 90’s kid. I’m only 23. Cut me some slack. :P )

Video Games

You can blame my choice of video games on my cousin. He started it.

Donkey Kong - How could you not love this guy?

My cousin used to get rid of all the bad guys in a level, and then let me go around and blow up all the computers. I was too scared to try to fight the bad guys on my own.

And this is what we played it on. We didn't even know what a CD was at that point.

And lastly - any wrestling game. Yeah, I don't know why either. And this guy happened to be my favorite: The Undertaker. Kind of morbid, right?

Music Videos

I don’t care what you say, these are the five music videos that basically defined my childhood (and my taste in music).

N*Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye”
(Chris was my favorite, by the way. I’m still not sure why.)

Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time”
(I also have to admit that I must be on the verge of getting old. Someone in the comments section for that video said they had just heard this song for the first time two days ago. *sigh*)

Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady”
(How ironic that he picks on both N*Sync and Britney Spears in this video, haha.)

Spice Girls
(Not sure if this is my favorite song or video – it’s too hard to pick – but the song is a great sum of what the Spice Girls were like.)

Destiny’s Child
(This is by far my favorite DC video, and one of the best videos I’ve seen in general.)

Other Games

Tamagotchi: Because what kid doesn't want to carry around a tiny alien egg in their pocket?

Yes, I still have my Pokemon card collection. No, I'm never getting rid of them. (**Not actually my cards)

Pretty sure Pogs were popular for about a year or two before they fell off the face of the earth. Also pretty sure kids "these days" wouldn't have a clue what they were.

Four Square: The most brutal recess game at my school. We were so into it, they even let us play it in gym class.

Cartoons

Bugs Bunny. A classic. How can you not love him. (Also, the new cartoons look weird, and I refuse to watch them.)

Pikachu was (is), of course, my favorite Pokemon.

I really don't know why, but I always loved the Road Runner.

Jupiter was my favorite because she got to wear a green dress.

Donatello was my favorite one because he was smart! (Besides, they're ALL green, so I had to choose my next favorite color - purple!)

Storm was, by far, my favorite, but I always had a soft spot for Wolverine, too.

TV Shows

I never was crazy about Prue, so I didn't mind when they replaced her. Piper was always my favorite!

This show was so amazing! I have yet to see all the episodes, so it's a good thing that my best friend is slowly collecting all the seasons. ;)

TRL was a great show! I'm glad Carson is on The Voice now, so I get to watch him on my TV again.

Apparently I used to race home every day to watch the Power Rangers. I don't even remember why I liked it so much, but it was great! The yellow one was my favorite because she had those awesome Sais. Plus, she turned into a saber-toothed tiger!

And, finally, Hercules, whose awesomeness went hand in hand with Xena's.

Food

Fireballs! These were great.

If anyone other than my dad made me toaster strudels, they tasted weird. And he always "designed" them for me. It was usually pretty cool, except for that one time he wrote "X-Files" on one just to freak me out. (I had a strange childhood fear of that show.)

I remember everyone used to have these on the bus, but I could never eat them. WAY too sour for me.

And here's the one thing from my childhood that started this whole post: Schweppe's Ginger Ale. It was pretty much the only soda I was allowed to drink at my dad's house. I just had some the other day and BOY did that bring back (good) memories!

I applaud you for making it through this gigantic list! If you’re a 90’s kid, did I miss anything? And if you’re not, what things from your childhood do you have fond memories of?

I was watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the other day and I began thinking about my favorite characters from the movie. The list surprised me, so I thought I’d share it with you, too:

5. Aslan

I’m sure some people will consider this blasphemy, but Aslan only just made it into the last spot. Regardless, I do love him. The regal voice of Liam Neeson (love that guy!) is a perfect fit for this majestic character. I love his wisdom and mysterious nature, but most of all I just love how much he loves the children.

4. Mr. Tumnus

It was tough putting Mr. T (no not that Mr. T) in this spot, because I really adore this character. He’s such a gentle being, and you can tell that he immediately became friends with Lucy. He’s a flawed character – cowardly and meek – but it doesn’t stop him from doing what is right in the end. He risked his life for Lucy and had to pay the consequences. In the end, though, he was saved by Aslan. Yay!

3. Edmund

Edmund very nearly made it to the second spot on this list. I love Edmund. He’s a flawed character, too. In the beginning he was greedy, mean, sarcastic, and brooding. It’s tough being the second youngest child, and the youngest male in the family. He had a lot of expectations to live up to, and you could tell that it affected him. BUT Edmund learns his lesson – and not the easy way. He almost loses his family, not to mention his own life, on several occasions. In the end, though, Edmund did what was right. He even went on to become one of the most noble and just characters in the entire series.

2. The White Witch

This was probably the most surprising addition to my list, but I stand firm that the White Witch deserves my number two spot. I think this has less to do with the character and more to do with the actress: Tilda Swinton. I love, love, love her! She’s an incredible actress, and I really enjoy when she plays supernatural characters. (My other favorite role of hers, by the way, is Gabriel from Constantine.) The character itself is wonderful – she’s an evil queen, who is intelligent and merciless. She’s not an easy foe to beat. But even better than that is Tilda’s acting. I love that otherworldly look to her face – the alabaster skin, the big dark blue eyes, strawberry blonde hair, and her high cheekbones. She has a certain way of talking and moving that really lends itself to this character. I’m even a little sad when the White Witch dies at the end (good thing she shows up again in the next movie!).

1. Lucy

Okay, this probably isn’t the most original pick for the number one spot – but can you blame me? Little Georgie Henley is a superb actress. (She’s not so little anymore…she’ll be turning 17 this year.) She did a really great job in this role and brought to life a well-loved character from the series. So that brings up Lucy and why she’s so fantastic. Why is she so well loved? The simple answer is because she’s the youngest (and cutest) Pevensie, and you can’t help falling in love with such a sweet child. But I think it’s so much more than that. Lucy is a dreamer. She believes in what seems to be unbelievable – don’t we all wish we could do that? She kept faith in Aslan even when everything seemed so doubtful. And even though she struggled with her own personal flaws, Lucy was one of the most genuine and loving characters in the entire movie.

The reason why this list was so surprising to me is because when I first started watching the movies and reading the books, I immediately wanted to like Susan. She was more my age and she seemed to be intelligent, pretty, and talented with the bow. What could you not like about that? But, her darker side comes out eventually and you find that she’s one of the most flawed characters in the books. That’s why she’s not on my list. I also thought about adding Peter, but even he couldn’t match up to the likes of Mr. Tumnus and Lucy. He struggled much more with his own fatal flaws and, even though he overcame them in the end, there was just no room for him here.

So, how does my list compare to yours? Did I miss anyone that you feel should be on here? Were any of my choices surprising to you?

We have the immense pleasure of welcoming Jessica O’Neal into our midst today! On Wednesday I told you who my top five favorite villainesses are. Jess is here to tell us her favorite heroines. Let’s see how they match up.

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Hello everyone! I am so thrilled to be hanging out with you here at Karen’s fabulous blog. When she came to me and asked if I would be interested in writing a piece on kick ass fictional women as a companion to her female villainesses I jumped at the opportunity. After much thought and deliberation I have finally come up with a list that I think is pretty rad. I certainly wouldn’t want to be found standing on the opposite side of any of these women.

5. Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one tough cookie. Whether you read the books or only saw the movie, you got to see Lisbeth in action. She faces some of the worst torments and abuses that I have ever encountered in a work of fiction, yet she never plays the victim. She takes charge and, literally, knocks those who try to take advantage of her on their asses. She may appear weak and frail, but she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. And she does.

Best Line: [tattooing Bjurman] “Lie still. I’ve never done this before…and there will be blood.”

4. The Harry Potter series is full of strong female characters and, being a huge fan of the series, I knew I had to include one of them. When I was thinking about who it should be my first thought was Hermione, but then my husband suggested Professor McGonagall and I knew he was right. Minerva McGonagall is one of the most powerful witches in the wizarding world. She is paramount in arranging the defense of Hogwarts when it is under attack and is seen dueling the biggest badies of the series, including He Who Must Not Be Named. Not only is she powerful, she is also a no nonsense woman who does not tolerate insolence. One of my favorite scenes with her is in Order of the Phoenix when she goes toe to toe with the horrendous toad, Umbridge. Minerva McGonagall knows what is right and is confident enough to stand up for it no matter who she has to face.

Best Line: “That doesn’t mean we can’t delay him. And his name is Voldemort, so you might as well use it, he’s going to try and kill you either way.”

3. I think it is pretty safe to say that Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games deserves to be on this list. At the age of sixteen she has to enter an arena where she has to either kill or be killed. Thanks to years of illicit hunting to ensure her family didn’t starve to death she is able to shoot a bow with deadly accuracy. What really makes Katniss an impressive character, though, is that, even though she is able and willing to do what must be done, she still holds on to her humanity and her sense of justice.

Best Line: “And if we burn, you burn with us!

2. This list would not be complete without Buffy Summers. I mean, come on, she is the Vampire Slayer. Vampires, demons, creepy praying mantis teachers – no matter what crazy monster is thrown her way she is able to face it head on and slay it (yeah, I went there). And, what’s more, she does all of this while still maintaining her sense of fashion. That is a true talent that only a woman could possess.

Best Line: “If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

1. Beatrix Kiddo, also known as The Bride, is hands down the most bad ass female I have ever encountered in fiction. She spends the better part of both Kill Bill movies fighting and brutally killing…everyone. And it’s not like she was fighting one poor fighter at a time; she was going up against groups of highly trained fighters all at once. Even in the moments where she was just waking up from a four year coma she was able to recognize that she was being taken advantage of and kill those who were responsible. Yet, in the midst of her extreme bloodlust she still holds on to her moral center, however skewed it may be, and seeks to protect innocents from the carnage surrounding her.

Best Line: “I’ve killed a hell of a lot of people to get to this point, but I have only one more. The last one. The one I’m driving to right now. The only one left. And when I arrive at my destination, I am gonna kill Bill.”

Well, there you have it. That is my list of 5 kick ass women in fiction. There were so many women that could have been on this list and a variety of reasons for why I left them off, but in the end I am happy with the five I landed on.

What about you? Who would be included on your list? Let us know in the comments.

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Thank you again, Jess! I love how we happened to pull from some of the same movies. ;)

So, what do you guys think? She’s got a tough list here, but how do these women stack up against my picks? We already know how some of these turns out, but what about some of the stranger combinations? Regardless of the outcome, I know I wouldn’t want to face off with any of them!

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is not a statement you should take lightly, and nobody shows this better than reality TV and some of the best blockbusters of all time. Since I hate reality TV, I’m just going to jump right into the movies. Here are my favorite female villains of all time:

5. The last spot should go to Cruella De Vil based on her name alone – didn’t anyone teach them about subtlety? That aside, Cruella earned her stripes – er, spots? – in villain history in this movie. I’m particularly looking at Glenn Close’s portrayal of the villainess in the 1996 adaptation. Not only is she completely comfortable with killing innocent puppies just to add to her wardrobe (not to mention any other creature with a healthy coat of fur), but she’s completely insane. The Devil must have taken her soul a long time ago. *cue theme song* Cruella De Vil, Cruella De Vil, If she doesn’t scare you, no other evil thing will…

Best Line: “You’ve won the battle, but I’m about to win the wardrobe!”

4. Very few characters – in books or on the big screen – can boil my blood like Dolores Jane Umbridge. I think the reason I hate her so much is that she actually believes, without a doubt, that what she stands for is absolutely correct. Oh, what hubris. What ignorance. Umbridge starts off harmless enough, though that doesn’t excuse her talent for annoying the crap out of me. But then she starts to really bare her fangs – particularly in Harry’s direction – and she starts getting a taste for blood. Umbridge is Rowling’s comment on governmental corruption, and the statement in poignant: no matter if you believe you’re doing the wrong things for the right reasons, they are still the wrong things. Because, in the end, there really was no difference between Voldemort and the Ministry of Magic, except that one was at least honest in his desires for world domination and the suppression of Muggles.

Best Line: “The Cruciatus Curse ought to loosen your tongue.”

 

3. Some of the most frightening villains I’ve ever seen appeared in my childhood. Ms. Trunchbull was one of those villains. She’s one of the scariest, cruelest, most inhuman bad guys from my younger days. I still can’t believe she threw that girl out by her pigtails…and kept her job. However unrealistic that might be, some of the scenes in Matilda are so intense. One of my favorites is when Matilda has to steal the doll back from Trunchbull…right out of her own house!

Best Line:  “They’re all mistakes, children! Filthy, nasty things. Glad I never was one.”

 

2. How can any list of the best villainesses not include the Wicked Witch of the West? She’s terrifying – her green skin, the way she cackles, her complete disregard for any life other than her own (and her sister’s). She tries to stop Dorothy and her friends at every turn and she nearly succeeds. What really got me as a kid were her minions – those flying monkeys are freaky. But the scariest scene for me was when she had Dorothy locked up in her tower, especially when Auntie Em’s image turns into the witch’s. It always gave me the heebie-jeebies!

Best Line: “Those slippers will never come off, as long as you’re alive. But that’s not what’s worrying me. It’s how to do it. These things must be done delicately!”

1. Okay, my number one villainess was decided well before I even thought of the other four. O-Ren Ishii deserves this spot above anyone else for the simple reason that she would kill all of the others in order to claim the trophy anyway. In Kill Bill: Volume 1 we get her incredible back story. Her parents were viciously murdered in front of her when she was nine. It took her two years, but she got revenge on the man who did it. She stuck a sword through him and blew off the heads of two of his bodyguards. By twenty, she was an assassin for hire. And at age 26, she became the leader of all leaders in underground Tokyo. The best thing about O-Ren is that she doesn’t mess around. She’s not a stupid villain. She takes care of those who oppose her without batting an eye. (All Boss Tanaka had to mention was her Japanese-Chinese-American heritage and he, quite literally, lost his head.) She also keeps the crazies close (Gogo is seriously demented) and has a huge band of samurai sword wielding subordinates to keep her safe. I’m convinced that the only person who was capable of defeating all of them was the Black Mamba herself, and even she almost didn’t live through it. In the end, though, it was down to O-Ren and the Bride, and this is my favorite part about this particular villain – she can handle her own. Not only that, but she recognizes when she is up against a respectable foe. Although, none of that helped her in the end…

Best Line: “Silly Caucasian girl likes to play with Samurai swords.”

I had a bunch of runner ups – some Disney villainesses, and even a few more characters from Kill Bill, but I’m happy with my list. What about you? Have I missed any good ones? What are some of the female antagonists that always scared you as a kid?

Make sure you stick around for Friday! I’ve got the lovely Jessica O’Neal over here, taking on my villainesses with her list of awesome heroines. It’s going to be a close fight!