Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Love You, Marion Ravenwood

Just like millions of people around the world, I'm pretty stoked about the debut of the latest Indiana Jones installment.

Nineteen years is a long time to wait, but I'm hoping absence makes the heart grow fonder - especially with the return of Indy's original girlfriend, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), whom we haven't seen since the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

I'm not sure if it's a guy thing, or a movie buff thing, but it seems like a lot of men pick their idealized women through movie characters. For me, as a 10-year-old kid back then, it was Marion.

With those big blue eyes and winning smile, she could stand up to Indy (and slug him). She could drink men under the table. Yes, she tended to get captured by Nazis, but she wasn't a damsel in distress - rather, she was a giant pain in the ass to the German army.

One of the reasons why the "Indy" sequels never quite worked for me was that there was no female lead to get me excited. Kate Capshaw (Mrs. Steven Spielberg) mostly whined her way through the second picture. I mean, we get it, it's scary with these crazy cultists, but Marion would have given them lip, not screamed "Help me, Indy!" every five seconds.

And while Alison Doody's classical good looks weren't an unwelcome addition to "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," she loses a lot of points for being, you know, a Nazi. (And not much of an archaelogist, either. No wonder the Nazis had to trick the Jones boys to find the Holy Grail).

Marion broke the mold of making it possible for a woman to be an action star, yet still retain her feminine side. Sigourney Weaver's Ripley from "Alien" was the other strong woman archetype from the early 1980s, but I don't think she would be as fun a date as Marion would be.

Allen, now in her 50s, still looks terrific in the few clips and stills I've seen from the new movie, still with the twinkle in her eye. Hopefully, she also still has that right cross.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 8 p.m.) wraps up its second season with a bit of stunt casting, as Lindsay Lohan makes the first of what could be several appearances on the show. No doubt the producers are hoping LiLo gives "Betty" the same shot in the arm in the ratings that Britney Spears gave "How I Met Your Mother." The difference here is that Lohan (when sober) is actually a pretty decent actress. The "HIMYM" producers should have stopped with Spears after the one time; but Lohan could be a decent addition if she stays committed to the acting, especially in the faux tabloid world of "Betty."

"Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 9 p.m.) wraps up the year wtih a two-hour finale, in which creator Shonda Rimes promises a lot of kissing, including one kiss that's supposed to be so huge that viewers will go nuts. That's what is being reported, anyway. Supposedly, the viewers will also get some resolution to the Mer-Der on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again (you get the idea) relationship. They had better, because it pushed back the finale of "Lost" for an extra week.

The reality series "Last Comic Standing" (NBC, 9:30 p.m.) also returns to the network with a 90-minute debut tonight.


zodin2008 said...

While I wholeheartedly agree with you on the greatness of Marion Ravenwood and was obviously the best of the 3 love interests for Indy, she was still the 2nd best female heroine of my childhood, next to Princess Leia.

And most guys in their 30's that spent their childhood in the 1980's, think of Leia before Marion.

I might have also put Sigourney Weaver's Ripley character from "Aliens" in there, if I hadn't waited until high school to finally see "Alien" and "Aliens" for the first time.

I agree on the Lohan vs. Britney comparison. Considering that Lohan is a decent actress and the world of "Betty" is very over the top anyway, this is a much better fit. If the HIMYM producers keep shoving Britney down our throat, it might be enough to piss us off.

If you get the chance, go to newstands Phillip and check out this week's TV Guide - worth the purchase. It's a wonderful center layout on "Lost" and a fantastic, chronological review of everything leading up to the finale, including putting all flash forwards in the right time frames.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'll check out TV Guide.

Princess Leia was pretty good, especially in the gold bikini, but unlikely to drink anyone under the table. Plus, she kissed her brother!