Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I ♥ Geena Davis Circa 1986-1996

You know what's sad? What's sad is that you don't see much of Geena Davis these days. What's also sad is that she made less than twenty films in her career as a massive-mouthed, doe-eyed, phenomenally leggy, heartbreakingly beautiful actress.

In honour of Geena's 55th birthday, which was exactly four months and eleven days ago, I decided it was time to take a long, dreamy look at her in six of her greatest films from the undeniable purple patch that emerged from a telepod with The Fly in 1986 and died screaming with The Long Kiss Goodnight ten years later.


The Fly (1986)
Geena plays massive-mouthed, doe-eyed, phenomenally leggy, heartbreakingly beautiful, spectacularly-monikered science journalist Veronica Quaife in this cautionary tale about the dangers of two people with identical hairstyles falling in love. She may not be as memorable as the inside-out baboon or the pickled todger in the bathroom cabinet, but The Fly brought Geena to the attention of Hollywood, and as a result she owned the next decade. And when I say "owned", I mean "starred in some more films during".

Moment Of Geenius: The heartbreaking finale in which Geena forces herself to shoot a giant rubber special effect lent pathos to what could have been one of cinema's most ludicrous scenes.

Beetle Juice (1988)
Geena plays massive-mouthed, doe-eyed, phenomenally leggy, heartbreakingly beautiful but tragically deceased housewife and useless ghost Barbara Maitland in Tim Burton's 'spooktacular' (kill me now) comedy. As if that wasn't bad enough, she's also married to Alec Baldwin and is trapped in the afterlife in the world's frumpiest dress. Still gorgeous though, even at the end when she becomes a shrivelled, crumbling cadaver. Yeah, I dig corpses. I suppose that's frowned upon these days, is it?

Moment Of Geenius: I bet Helena Bonham Carter couldn't do this:

Thelma & Louise (1991)
Geena plays massive-mouthed, doe-eyed, phenomenally leggy, heartbreakingly beautiful put-upon housewife Thelma in this Ridley Scott masterpiece. From frilly doormat to gun-toting convenience store-holder-upper, Geena is completely believable as she careers further along the road trip from hell, and was bastard unlucky to be up against Jodie Foster for the Best Actress Oscar. Still, it was this role that meant she got equal billing to Tom Hanks, Matthew Modine and Samuel L Jackson in the future, such was the value of her stock. Plus! She wears some really small pants.

Moment of Geenius: Having spent most of the film being more of a hindrance than a help, Thelma finally takes charge of the situation by pointing a revolver at a particularly wet cop. Which isn't to say this is how one should prove that one is in control, but if you're Geena Davis you can lock me in my boot any day.

A League Of Their Own (1992)
Geena plays massive-mouthed, doe-eyed, phenomenally leggy, heartbreakingly beautiful baseball playeress Dottie Hinson in this perfectly adequate chick flick slash sports movie that I absolutely did not cry at whilst watching recently. With her carefully applied dirt make up and glorious auburn locks tumbling playfully over her sculpted shoulders, Geena is officially the sexiest female baseball player in movie history. Although her nearest competition is Madonna, and I wouldn't touch her with yours. 

Moment of Geenius: The splits catch. If I lived with Geena I'd constantly throw valuable breakables at her so she did this all the time.

Cutthroat Island (1995)
Geena plays massive-mouthed, doe-eyed, phenomenally leggy, heartbreakingly beautiful "notorious lady pyrate" Morgan Adams in this tragically underrated swashbuckler that beat Pirates Of The Caribbean to the screen by eight years and (controversy alert) is more enjoyable than any instalments of The Jack Sparrow Show. Geena's hubby Renny Harlin directs, ensuring plenty of slow-motion close-ups of his missus, and the film is all the better for it. What's more, she does plenty of her own stunts and fights, and she's bloody good at it.

Moment Of Geenius: The amazing climactic half-hour battle features some choice Geena action as she buckles her swash and rogers her jolly, or whatever you have to say in blog posts about pirate films these days. Whatever, she'd kick Keira Knightley's skinny ass right off the plank.

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Geena plays massive-mouthed, doe-eyed, phenomenally leggy, heartbreakingly beautiful amnesia chick Samantha Caine - and her alter-ego, assassinatrix Charly Baltimore - in this rollicking action flick from Renny Harlin, by now known as 'Mr Geena Davis'. As the cuddly and lovable housewife Geena's hardly stretching it, but by the time she's bleached her hair, gone mental with the eyeliner and shot everyone in sight she's completely convincing despite playing against type. If I could swap my parents for anyone in the movies, I'd have Charly Baltimore and Mitch Henessey.

Moment Of Geenius: There are so many: firing a gun while leaping out of a building; firing a gun while ice skating; firing a gun while hanging from fairy lights and yelling "DIE SCREAMING MOTHERFUCKER!!". But the moment Samantha finally 'becomes' Charly, firing a gun while strapped to a water wheel and being dunked in near-freezing water, is Geena's greatest moment in this film, and probably ever.

Tragically Geena's post-'96 screen future held little more than Stuart Little films and TV shows, but I think she'd be comforted to know that there will always be a small corner of the internet devoted to her greatest work. And, of course, a small shrine made of some of her hair, toenail clippings and possibly some sanitary items in a cupboard somewhere in North London.


  1. No "Earth Girls Are Easy"? For shame!

  2. When I saw the title, for one horrible split second I thought Geena Davis had died! Of course that would have meant she was only ten, and was also long dead.

    Thankfully, she's not. Also, I second the no Earth Girls Are Easy outrage!

  3. I third the no Earth Girls are Easy outrage!!

  4. Am I missing something here? Is a woman with a massive mouth indicative of something else in the same way that people make remarks about men with massive feet?

    Of all her films the one that will stay forever in the best this that or the other lists is Thelma & Louise (move over Cagney & Lacey and Hinge & Bracket.)

    The film ends when the 66 Thunderbird lives up to its name by sprouting wings and blasting smoothly to the road to freedom on the other side of the Grand Canyon. That ending is remembered by everyone for all time. Oh and of course Geena's big part.

  5. Didn't realize she was that old.

  6. Your ideal woman has the head of Geena Davis and the body of Geena Davis.

  7. Marge Gunderson2 June 2011 at 19:26

    A decent yet slightly creepy tribute to a great actress of the 80s. ;D
    Always a minefield of fun reading your posts!

  8. The Accidental Tourist is on, plus 2 of these I've never seen. Thelma and Louise is one of the best movies of the 90s.

  9. Just rewatching LKGN - she is indeed genius.
    FGS she does most of those stunts - she is a super hero and as an archer and activist, a genuine Amazon to boot.

    Deep admiration and respect Geena.

    Or as Samuel says as you rescue him for the umpteenth time 'You foxy Bitch'