9 Awesome Female Trainwrecks We Can't Stop Watching
By Brock Wilbur
Paramount Pictures/Fox/Universal Studios
Cinema is full of misbehaving men who wear their bad decisions as badges of pride and their drunken misadventures as heroic war stories. Women who can bring the party, however, are often dismissed as messes -- or trainwrecks, if you will.
It's time to give the ladies the credit they deserve -- after all, any human disaster a man can make, a woman can do even better. Now that Amy Schumer has become a fine addition to the genre with her comedy Trainwreck, we're paying tribute to the nine other women who've already proved they know how to hold their own -- gender be damned.
1. Margo Channing in All About Eve (1950)
Bette Davis' forthright manner and "highly combative nature" earned her a place as a beloved star while also established her as one of the first female industry business leaders in Hollywood's Golden Age. There are few better examples of the true power of Davis outside of All About Eve, where she plays an aging Broadway star who feels a young fan slowly siphoning her life away. Davis gets sloppy at her husband's birthday party and meticulously spends the night threatening to destroy each of her friends and colleagues. She throws shade that hits just as hard in 2015 as it did in 1950.
Diablo Cody's brutal satire of suburban living is turned on its head as the protagonist who escaped her hometown's clutches is revealed to be a caustic warning for the ages. Charlize Theron depicts Mavis Gary as a hard partying writer who walks a thin line between drinking to victory and drinking to escape while simultaneously being incapable of feigning the arrested development her career depends upon. While any joy is completely sapped from the experience, she does get to rub her success in everyone's faces while luring her high school sweetheart into a possible second round, and sometimes we all want a little bit of that.
3. Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Karen Allen plays Marion Ravenwood, Indiana Jones' childhood sweetheart who needs to be tracked down in an effort to reclaim an important artifact. He finds her in Nepal, where Marion is now the owner of a bar called The Raven. Our introduction to the character features her devastating a much larger human in a drinking contest before she reminds the good Professor Jones of every mistake he's ever made and lets him know where he can stick his attempt to purchase his way out of this. Unfortunately, her bad-ass rebuke of the hero only lasts until she gets some unwelcome customers in the form of Nazis. Still, the introduction of a female character via a booze battle sticks with everyone who saw this as a kid, because we'd never seen anything like it before.
4. Sweet Dee in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005 - Present)
The gang of Paddy's Pub has notoriously pushed the envelope on the boundaries of what the human body can withstand and, perhaps, the limits of taste. While the three dudes and Danny DeVito often get out of control, Sweet Dee is the one who usually becomes completely unhinged. This doesn’t make her weak or lesser-than, by any means -- actress Deandra Reynolds gets the upper-hand on more situations than she probably knows, and that's why her character Sweet Dee is the hero to a generation of miscreants.
Annie Walker is a failed baker in her late thirties who's seen every one of her lifestyle choices, from love to living situations, go completely wrong. As her best friend's wedding approaches, Annie quickly spirals as she attempts to retain the only positive relationship left in her life. Kristen Wiig goes from a quiet wallflower to a food poisoned, drugged and cop-taunting blast almost overnight. In the end, she saves the day -- and gets a few puppies out of it, which is totally worth her hangover.
6. Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
Renee Zellweger plays Bridget Jones, the thirtysomething publicist who cannot get her life together. When a potential suitor refers to her as "a verbally incontinent spinster who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and dresses like her mother," she decides to turn her life around. To be fair, if Colin Firth told any of us the same thing, we'd probably over-react in similar form. While ostensibly about escaping from trainwreckdom, you can gauge how well Bridget accomplishes that by the existence of a sequel.
7. Meredith Palmer in The Office (2005-2013)
Raising kids can be hard. So can, literally, everything else, and no one exemplifies the need to carry on a party lifestyle while still showing up to work every day quite like Meredith. Actress Kate Flannery made a hard-drinking, porn-addicted, bat-battling victim of rabies into a celebration-worthy everywoman who lived hard but still punched the clock despite her demons.
Gena Rowlands portrays the aging and drunk Myrtle Gordon, who moves directly from bar to stage while somehow stumbling through an entire performance of her play. Unable and unwilling to say her lines, she changes the story while the other actors are forced to improvise around her. This wasn't the first time Rowland teamed up with her husband, writer-director John Cassavetes -- a few years earlier, she starred in A Woman Under the Influence, where she also battles a bottle and has a helluva time in the process.
9. Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development (2003 - Present)
Of all the problematic Bluth family members, Gangy is always having the best time. Jessica Walter portrays the patriarch of the criminally negligent family as always having a cocktail in one hand -- and sometimes in both. She's raised her kids to think vodka has an expiration date and leaves a slippery trail of gin wherever she walks. In one episode, the family forces her into rehab, only to depend on her to save the day in a drinking contest, which she handily wins. Bonus points for being played in flashbacks by a hard-drinking Kristen Wiig, who makes the list twice.
Let's raise a toast to these perfectly imperfect hot messes.
Watch Amy Schumer talk about her movie Trainwreck and a TV reality show version of a trainwreck in the video below.