Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coffy Vs. Foxy Vs. Sheba Vs. Friday Vs. Jackie

A Pointless List dedicated to one of my favorite actresses, Ms. Pamela Suzette Grier.

Top Five Pam Grier Movie Roles

1. Sheba Shayne

Sheba, Baby is probably one of my least favorite Pam Grier movie. It's got a workable storyline and the locales are nice and gritty but she just doesn't get a lot to work with on this one. Her romance angle with leading man Austin Stoker is just terrible - absolutely no spark and most of the dialogue is just awful. Pam plays Sheba Shayne, a tough Chicago private detective returning to Louisville, KY to protect her father's business.

Money Quote: "You better talk, big man, before I put my number one foot down your number one mouth!"

2. Coffy

Coffy stars Pam as... well, Coffy! That appears to be her full name in this one. She's a nurse driven to vigilante justice after her sister gets hooked on drugs. This one really pushes Pam's inherent sexiness to the limit with some of her costumes and she spends the whole movie alternately enticing men and then blowing their brains out. It also features the infamous scene where she pulls a 9mm out of her afro. Good times!

Money Quote: "It was easy for him because he really didn't believe it was comin', but it ain't gonna be easy for you, because you better believe it's comin'!"

3. Foxy Brown

A lot of people, including myself, get this movie and Coffy mixed up. And for good reason as it turns out that the director, Jack Hill, actually intended it to be a sequel to Coffy. Foxy is a nurse (again) who turns to vigilantism (again) when her boyfriend gets killed by some gangsters under the employ of a creepy brother and sister duo. This one also has a great star turn from Antonio Vargas, better known as Huggy Bear, the informant pimp from the Starsky and Hutch TV series. He plays her no-good brother in this one and has one of movie history's greatest lines: "That's my sister, baby, and she's a whoooole lotta woman!" Indeed.

Money Quote: "You pink-ass corrupt honky judge, take your little wet noodle outta here and if you see a man anywhere send him in because I do need a MAN!"

2. Friday Foster

I just saw this one recently as was blown away by it. What a cast! Pam and Yaphet Kotto have such a great rapport, I wish they had more opportunities to work together. Also, not credited but very noticeable is a young Carl Weathers as one of the bad guys. Pam looks fucking AWESOME in this movie and she plays an ex-model photographer who barely picks up a gun through the whole film! This would be at number 1 if it didn't kind of sputter at the end. Still recommended highly, though.

Money Quote: "You treat a person like a person... and a woman like a woman."

1. Jackie Brown

I'm sure when Quentin Tarantino announced that his next movie after the wildly successful Pulp Fiction would star Pam Grier a lot of people probably rolled their eyes at this bit of "stunt casting". But, damn if he didn't get it right. Pam acts her ass off in this one, outperforming such heavyweights as Robert De Nero and Samuel Jackson. And she does it with such a casual flair that it looks effortless. Her platonic relationship with Robert Forster's bail bondsman brought a tear or two to this jaded old fart. It's a brilliant jewel in a the crown of a fabulous acting career.


Churlita said...

I watched a ton of Blaxploitation movies in the mid eighties but have only rewatched Foxy Brown since and then saw Jackie Brown when it first came out. I don't really think it matters what Pam Grier does on screen, we're always going to want to watch her doing it...And how does she not age? I would really love to know her secret.

Your Humble Proprietor said...

To re-state something I said in my review, please, PLEASE rent or netflix Friday Foster. It is SO good. You can tell Pam really relishes playing something besides a feminist killing machine. It makes me want to work on writing my own sequel, but of course that way lies madness and fanfic.