Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Female Characters Who Cut Hair Mid-Movie

For the latest edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a page from this weekend's "Les Miserables", and take a look at a few other films featuring notable female characters who either cut their hair or were forced to have their hair cut mid-film. In "Les Miserables", Fantine's (Anne Hathaway) hair is cut in a dramatic scene in which she sells her hair for money after losing her job at the factory. Hathaway, who told director Tom Hooper up front that she'd be willing to cut her hair for the role, wasn't hit with the emotion of it until after the fact. Hathaway has said in interviews since that after her hair was cut off, she cried was 'inconsolable'. While hair does grow back, it was a drastic change, and much like her character in the film, it was difficult for her to deal with at first.


Not many other precursors for this one. Ultimately, we just decided that, like in Les Mis, it had to be a female character getting her hair cut. It also had to be a noticable change. We weren't expecting as dramatic a portrayal as in this latest film, but it couldn't just be an afternoon trip to the barber shop for a quick trim that nearly goes unnoticed. It had to be a significant change. Finally, it seems obvious, but the transformation did have to come mid-film. Female characters with short hair from the start did not qualify for this list.

This was one of the more difficult lists to compile, as there wasn't nearly the precedent for this category as their is with most of the other lists we do. There was a lot of scouring done to pull these titles together. There are only four lists this week (which may be more of a regularity moving forward), but we still managed to compile quite the variety of titles. Hit the jump to see which films made our lists!

Alex Schopp -
Not the strongest of categories this week. Still a handful of titles to play around with, though.

     1. Empire Records (1995)
A fun coming-of-age movie featuring a lot of actors/characters I enjoy watching.
     2. Waterworld (1995)
We just discussed this film on last week's podcast - good thing too, because I probably wouldn't have thought about the mom and daughter getting their hair cut in this one otherwise. Fun movie though. Go check it out!
     3. Alien 3 (1992)
This one gets a bump this high for three reasons: 1) This is a really weak category; 2) Ripley with the shaved head is one of the most iconic images from the entire franchise (I accidentally stole some wording from Derek, below); 3) I'm more and more intrigued in wanting to watch this movie again as the years pass. I used to think it was a pile of garbage because the aliens were CG, but now I'm thinking I need to revisit it and see how much is actually there.
     4. Legends of the Fall (1994)
The film takes place in Montana, so that's a plus. The hair cutting scene is just one quick one towards the end, but she does decide to chop off a few healthy chunks before offing herself. Plus, another bonus: Brad Pitt rocks a variety of great beards throughout the film.
     5. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
I'm not sure of the credibility this film has for this category, but there are multiple scenes featuring Ed and his new found hair-cutting business. The women getting their hair cut aren't big players in the film, but I figured, for such a weak category, it'd be more fun to add in some more titles than try any harder to find a stronger fit.

Ben Foutch -

     1. Empire Records (1995)
Doesn't hurt to have a killer cameo by GWAR...
     2. V for Vendetta (2005)
Much like Rubin Tunney, she owns the look.
     3. The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)
Childhood favorite of mine.
     4. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
This is one of those guilty pleasure type of movies.
     5. Mouth to Mouth (2005)
Take out the painfully obnoxious and embarrassingly pretentious dance sequences that appear out of nowhere, and you have an effective little film. Plus, it makes you feel pretty good knowing that every life decision you make will be better than these lemmings.

Derek Clem -

     1. The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)
I've always regretted forgetting to include this in my Top 5 Movie Guide: Heroines in Film list. Glad to see it can finally find its way onto one of my lists. Plus Billie Jean going from long to short locks really makes a statement that no other female on this list makes.
     2. V for Vendetta (2005)
Short hair, long hair, hot either way.
     3. Alien 3 (1992)
One of the most iconic images from the entire Alien franchise is the face to cheek between an alien and a shaved Ripley.
     4. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
This transformation never really meant much to me until I watched "Vidal Sassoon: The Movie" (2010). It was then I realized the impact that famous hairstyle had on fashion history.
     5. Tangled (2010)
This is so low because Rapunzel looks awful with her short hair.

Nathan Hinds -

     1. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
I've used this on many a list. It's one of my all-time favorite movies.
     2. Waterworld (1995)
This just came up on our podcast. I'm glad its getting some good recognition this week.
     3. V For Vendetta (2006)
Why did they do this to Natalie Portman? I was so bummed when she shaved her head. I didn't like the movie the first time I saw it, but as time goes on it continues to grow on me.
     4. The Parent Trap (1998)
I love both the original and the remake, but I don't know that there is a hair cutting scene in the original, so the '98 version won out.
     5. Legends of the Fall (1994)
The movie is really long, but it's got a great cast. Brad Pitt steals the show, as he usually does.

There we have it, folks. Only for lists this week, but still a good amount of content to choose from. Kind of an odd category, but let's take a look at the titles that made the best showing. It was kind of all over the place, actually, as 12 different titles were features, and no film appeared on more than three lists, and that was only one film: "V for Vendetta". Outside of this week's "Les Miserables", V seems like it might hold the top spot for most recognizable on this list. The hair cutting was a very focal point of the film, and Natalie Portman's anguish of it (along with everything else) made it very memorable. No doubt, if you're looking for films in which chicks shave their head (or have it shaved), this is a go-to selection.

Otherwise, six films managed two picks apiece: "Empire Records" (which also grabbed two first-place votes), "The Legend of Billie Jean" & "Edward Scissorhands" (both of which grabbed the remaining #1 picks), "Waterworld", "Legends of the Fall", and "Alien 3". Some of these have more memorable female hair-cutting scenes than others, but nonetheless, all do feature it, and half of this week's contributors felt them preferable to some other titles.

As always, we hope that each of these selections helps you to expand your knowledge and appreciation of some of the best films that this category has to offer, and guides you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!