15 Women Who Owned Their Men (In Awesome Movies)14
15 Women Who Owned Their Men (In Awesome Movies)
Women are powerful. Sometimes it’s used for good. Perhaps more often, at least in film and television, it translates to evil. In the case of our original series, “Leidy’s New Boyfriend”, it’s a little bit of both. Some might say Leidy is well-intentioned deep down, but others, maybe pointing toward her affinity for bondage (usually a deal-breaker in my book), might say she’s bat-sh*t insane. But whether you ask Leidy’s beau or Michael Douglass (whose film characters have had quite a few run-ins with dangerously dominant fems), women are full of surprises. And by surprises, I mean they can control men, whether the men realize it or not, in every imaginable way. But hey, some guys like it when she’s in control, right? Here are 15 ladies from great films who flat-out owned their men.
1. Demi Moore as Meredith Johnson in Disclosure (1994)
Moore plays Meredith Johnson, a sexy, dangerous corporate executive out to ruin the life of her ex-lover and workplace subordinate, Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas). Johnson uses every devious trick in the sexual harassment book to break apart Sanders’ marriage and destroy his career. This is one bad-ass boss.
2. Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction (1987)
Way before the days of Tiger Woods and his harem of side-ladies, Glenn Close stole the show as Alex Forrest, the extraordinarily clingy editor in this scared-straight flick for adulterers. Family man Daniel Gallagher (Michael Douglas again) hooks up with Alex for what he thinks is a weekend fling. Then he stops taking her phone calls, and she boils his wife’s rabbit. Hell hath no fury.
3. Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)
The full quote, from poet William Ross Wallace, is “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” Peyton Flanders (Rebecca De Mornay) certainly owns something in this domestic horror film. After tracking down the woman she blames for her husband’s suicide, she talks her way into a job as a nanny and tries to destroy the family from within. After the man of the house catches the hot nanny strategically breast-feeding his baby, his wife’s milk just isn’t as tasty anymore. It’s manipulation at its darkest.
4. Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct (1992)
Novelist Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) is a bisexual murderess not to be trifled with. The character became infamous when she flashed her crotch during a police interrogation. When she’s not taking out rock stars with an icepick, she delights in manipulating well-intentioned, weak-willed cop Nick Curran (Michael Douglas again). Off set, Stone supposedly charmed her way into the pants of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (according to his swashbuckling memoirs, at least). Let’s pretend the sequel never happened.
5. Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Perhaps wanting to overcome her reputation as “Angelina Jolie lite,” Megan Fox wrecks shop as Jennifer Check, a really, really mean high-school girl…the type of girl who comes back from the grave to terrorize the Satanist who killed her. And also the type to seduce and brutally murder the school football captain, the emo guy and her best friend’s boyfriend.
6. Halle Berry in Swordfish (2001)
This e-thriller got a lot of press for Halle Berry’s first nude scene. As Ginger Knowles, Berry toys with high-powered computer hacker Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) and scams billions of dollars from the federal government before she and her mysterious boss Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) cut out to Monte Carlo. Computer nerds everywhere seethed with envy.
7. Kristen Bell in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Everyone carries one torch that never quite goes out. For composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), it’s knockout actress Sarah Marshall (Bell). She doesn’t make it any easier for him to get over her, showing up on Peter’s vacation and playing him against her new boyfriend, arrogant rock star Aldous Snow (Russel Brand). Director Judd Apatow’s mix of humanity and cruelty is in full force.
8. Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions (1999)
As high-society seductress Kathryn Merteuil, erstwhile vampire slayer Gellar knows how to get back at her ex, Court Reynolds (Ryan Phillippe)… by giving his new girlfriend, Cecile Caldwell (Selma Blair), a lifestyle makeover as a serial cheater. A takeoff on Dangerous Liaisons (1998), this flick knew how to reel in an audience…by revealing our darkest impulses vis-à-vis a chick who really knows how to play puppet master.
9. Eva Mendes in Hitch (2005)
“Dating gurus” are everywhere these days, but Alex “Hitch” Hitchens (Will Smith) was ahead of the curve, teaching losers to mack on celebrities in this rom-com. A lot of women are skeptical of this sort of thing, and, as gossip columnist Sara Melas, Mendes sees through Hitch’s tactics and slowly dismantles him. To her, he’s just another average, frustrated chump.
10. Naomi Watts in King Kong (2005)
As struggling Vaudeville actress Ann Darrow, Watts is almost sacrificed to the famous titular ape. But her charms eventually humble the world’s mightiest creature, and he tries to take all of New York City down with him. Behold, the power of the bite-sized female.
11. Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
This was something of a comeback for director Woody Allen, thanks in no small part to Cruz’s sexy, deranged Maria Elena. When two American tourists (Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson) orchestrate a sultry vacation with Elena’s ex-husband, painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), she drops in and plays them all for polyamorous suckers. She’s a danger to herself and others…but mostly to her ex-hubby.
12. Angelina Jolie in Wanted (2008)
As the smokin’-hot hitwoman Fox, Jolie drags office drone Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) into an underworld of car chases, shootouts and secret societies. Wesley soon discovers that his chronic panic attacks are actually superpowers he didn’t know had. Sometimes it just takes the right woman to bring out the everyman’s inner assassin.
13. Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Vincent Vega (John Travolta) also kills people for a living, but he struggles to resist the witty seduction and fancy footwork of Mia Wallace (Thurman), the wife of his menacing boss (Ving Rhames). Even though sleeping with her would be literal suicide, he still can’t seem to talk himself out of taking the risk. Fortunately for Vega, before he could cross the line, Wallace becomes slightly incapacitated when she happens upon a pile of what she thinks is cocaine.
14. Kate Hudson in Almost Famous (2000)
Not all rock critics spend all day eating mac and cheese in mom’s basement. Based on director Cameron Crowe’s experiences touring with bands like Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd in the ’70s, this flick tells the story of William Miller (Patrick Fugit), a naive music writer who falls hard for Hudson’s alpha-groupie Penny Lane. The magnet of the tour, Hudson proves that, even in the male-centered rock world, the woman ultimately calls the shots.
15. Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955)
It’s hard for a man to stay faithful, particularly when his upstairs neighbor is the greatest sex symbol of the twentieth century. After proofreader Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) sends his family to Maine for the summer, Monroe’s loopy Miss Morris becomes the star of his fantasy life. Much of the story takes place within Sherman’s fantasy life, wherein he’s an irresistible lady killer. And Miss Morris can’t get enough of him. By the time we get to that scene (the one with the breeze, the subway grate, and perhaps the two most famous legs in history) his daydreams are driving him insane.