From time to time I find myself peaking my nose into a Cosmopolitan magazine to gain insight into what the “fairer sex” thinks about us men. I’m usually drawn to the top 10 or top 5 lists they publish on how to attract the opposite sex. I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and publish my own list emphasizing the qualities I find most attractive in women…but with a slight twist. So what I have done is highlighted the top 10 moments in cinema where a female character has said something or done something to make me fall head over heels for them. (Number 1 being the most attractive quality in my opinion) Ladies take notice!
10. Effie White, played by Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls, gives the performance of a lifetime in a little club, far removed from the sold out venues she was accustomed to playing while a member of her original trio. Her determination to reinvent herself as an artist after the ultimate betrayal of her lover, brother, and fellow band mates, won me over in a heartbeat with her soulful rendition of I Am Changing.
9. Cecilia, portrayed by Mia Farrow in The Purple Rose of Cairo, strums her way into my heart on the strings of a ukulele, and works her way into this top ten list at number 9. There is something irresistible about a woman who can play an instrument, especially the way Cecilia’s vulnerability and innocence is conveyed in her giddy accompaniment of Alabamy Bound.
8. Salma Hayek as Isabel Fuentes in the romantic comedy Fools Rush In, makes me jealous of Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry) when she plans a lunch at the Grand Canyon for his birthday, and arranges for a Gray’s Papaya hot dog (his favorite food from back in Manhattan) to be delivered for the occasion. The thoughtfulness she displays, knowing the hotdog will temporarily and simultaneously ease her man’s hunger and homesickness, is extremely appealing.
7. I think it is safe to assume that every warm-blooded, virile, heterosexual man has a seduction fantasy. But I’ll speak for myself and firmly admit that I am warm-blooded, virile and heterosexual. Therefore, I have a seduction fantasy. And no one pulls off the art of seduction, in my book, better than Kerry Washington as Nikki Tru in I Think I Love My Wife. This is especially true in the scene near the end of the movie when she is finally successful in luring her prey, Richard Cooper (Chris Rock), into her private den of mischief. High heels, lingerie, body lotion…and oh yea, Kerry Washington…need I say more?
6. Watch the scene in He’s Just Not That Into You where Jennifer Connelly’s character Janine Gunders serves her soon to be Ex-Husband Ben Gunders a precursor to divorce papers, in the form of a carton of Natural American Spirits and a short note. After he’s found having an affair and lying to her about his persistent smoking habit, Janine instructs him “knock yourself out” (referring to the carton of cigarettes she’s left for him to find on a stack of his neatly folded clothes) and writes “P.S. I want a divorce.” Now that’s classy! Having the self-worth to know that you deserve better and the refinement to move on with grace and dignity is oh so attractive. Ms. Janine I like your style!
5. The number 5 spot belongs to Halle Berry’s character Natalie in the “executive meets fly girl” picture Strictly Business. When Natalie is late arriving for her shift at a restaurant because of an audition, her boss berates her. His intention is to humiliate her and in the face of this maltreatment, she subsequently quits her job, informing him in so many words that such a classless establishment is beneath her. Her fierce diatribe with customers looking on makes me go hog-wild for her every time I see it. (Yeah Natalie, you tell that maître d to take that job and shove it, because you’re going to be a famous actress one day! He doesn’t deserve you! Don’t treat my beautiful, talented, sista like that! Sucka!)
4. Ladies, if the man you want to notice you is an artist, remember this important tip: feed his ego! Mila Kunis pulls this off brilliantly as Rachel Jansen in the breakup comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, when she secretly prompts an MC at a Hawaiian bar to call Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) up to the stage to perform a song from his vampire themed rock opera. Peter is a little apprehensive about singing his unconventional song to the patrons of the bar (understandably so…when’s the last time you walked into a pub and they were playing tunes about Dracula?). He offers to take a request from the audience instead when Rachel interjects with screams and howls, urging him to do the vampire score. My fellow musicians understand what I’m talking about. Is their anything sexier than a beautiful woman clapping for you when you’re dying on stage? Nope!
3. Lucy Liu Samurai chops her way into the number 3 spot as O-Ren Ishii AKA “Cottonmouth” in the film Kill Bill Volume 1. The speech this woman gives, 30 seconds after “diplomatically” dealing with a dissenter in the ranks of the Tokyo yakuza council, which she recently has assumed leadership of, is breathtaking. I love a woman that makes no bones about her place in a man’s world, has the eloquence to verbally communicate her qualifications, and does not allow her legitimacy based on false notions of racial inclusion or exclusion to be questioned. Lucy you have stolen my heart…just please don’t cut it out of my chest with you sword!
2. Amy Madigan as Annie Kinsella in Field of Dreams is the first runner-up on this list for her defense of free speech in the face of American literary censorship. In her busy life of sorting out her husband’s paranormal baseball activities, saving the family farm, and raising a daughter, she finds time to give the townspeople in rural Dyersville, Iowa, a piece of her mind. “Whose for burning books?” she queries the PTA panel intent on subverting liberal ideas in print. I always take notice of a woman who speaks her mind…and usually fall in love with her for it! Aren’t the women from the 60’s era the sexiest ever?
1. And the number one entry on this list of how to get him to notice you…drum roll please…is Lonette McKee as Vanetta in the movie Which Way is Up? The way Vanetta tirelessly devotes her entire life as an activist for the Farm Workers movement, romantic partner, and mother touches my sensibilities in places where skin and bone cannot penetrate. Her strength, courage, devotion, intelligence, and beauty are a winning combination that forces me to take notice and notes. Oh, where art thou Vanetta? ¡Viva La Cuasa!