Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Carmen Ibanez

Before Ender’s Game came Starship Troopers. And before Petra Arkanian came Lt. Carmen Ibanez, leader of a ragtag military team set to destroy anything that crawls—literally. Women Who Wow Wednesday celebrates this dynamo of aggression following in the footsteps of the film’s motto: “I’m doing my part.”

Denise Richards as Carmen Ibanez
Denise Richards as Carmen Ibanez

Much like Ender’s Game, earth is on high alert, raising a youth army in the mobile infantry to combat bugs from outer space. There is training. There is testing. Then there is deployment to a far planet where the bugs reside. That’s where the similarities end with the films. Starship Troopers’ armies fight the bugs in brutal episodes of dismemberment. The film’s bright and vibrant colors lend to a retro 60’s feel in the midst of dark comedic scenes.

Setting the tone to the film, a history lesson in high school highlights the class rivalry between two attractive students, Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards) and Dizzy Flores (Dina Meyer). In the middle of instructor Jean Rasczak’s (Michael Ironside) speech of how “violence is the supreme authority for which all other authority is derived,” this interchange develops:

Dizzy: My mother always told me that violence doesn’t solve anything.
Jean Rasczak: Really? I wonder what the city founders of Hiroshima would have to say about that.
Carmen: They wouldn’t say anything. Hiroshima was destroyed.
Jean Rasczak: Correct. Naked force has resolved more conflicts throughout history than any other factor. The contrary opinion, that violence doesn’t solve anything, is wishful thinking at its worst; people who forget that always die.

Carmen at the Fleet Academy
Carmen at the Fleet Academy

Aside from being quick with her answers, Carmen also has an astounding ability with math, scoring a 97% in her finals fulfilling Fleet Academy’s first requirement. Her dream lies with piloting a half a million-ton starship. But she would need nerves of steel if she wanted to accomplish such a big dream.

Unfortunately, her weakness may be her downfall. She possesses a soft stomach, unable to watch the dissection of a bug in biology class. The dead bug measures two by two and a half feet. Its long green intestines and slippery organs leave her squeamish until she hurls her morning’s breakfast.

Oh well, at least her friends understand and respect her for her strong convictions and her smarts.

Not wanting to spoil the film, Carmen Ibanez becomes an important figure in the fight against the bugs. Her strong will and temperament saves the lives of many and her natural ability to drift out of tight situations makes her a strong influence to those who look to her as an example.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Have you seen Starship Troopers? What did you think of Lt. Carmen Ibanez?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Amber Atkins

Once a year, hundreds of young girls compete in The Sarah Rose Cosmetics American Teen Princess Pageant all across America. This year, Amber Atkins is one of those girls. A documentary film crew sent to Minnesota will commemorate this occasion.

Kirsten Dunst in Drop Dead Gorgeous
Kirsten Dunst in Drop Dead Gorgeous

Sarah Rose Cosmetics’ motto goes like this: “Making American teens beautiful for over 50 years!” In Mount Rose, Minnesota, Pop: 5,076, a handful of girls sit in the gymnasium waiting to wow the organizers with their talent and intelligence. Actually, only nine girls sit there. The rest of the town’s teen population couldn’t care less.

Before I get to Amber Atkins, let’s talk about the cast of Drop Dead Gorgeous. The movie features a whack of actresses who are now staple names in Hollywood. Girls such as Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Amy Adams and the late Brittany Murphy have made their mark on the entertainment industry since this movie came out in July 1999. Adding to the roster are Kirstie Alley and Ellen Barkin who play the matrons of the film.

With such a recognizable cast, you’d think they’d get in each other’s way, but this dark comedy has a few surprises for viewers who have never seen it. Don’t worry I won’t spoil it. I’ll only touch on Kirsten Dunst’s character Amber Atkins for this week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday series.

Kirsten Dunst is Amber Atkins
Kirsten Dunst is Amber Atkins

The first thing the audience has the pleasure watching consists of a scene featuring a big sign on the outskirts of town that says, “Welcome to Mount Rose, Minnesota, Home of Freda Hegstrom—Minnesota’s Oldest Living Lutheran.

She was Minnesota’s oldest living Lutheran, but now she’s as dead as a doornail. This sets the tone of the comedy.

Getting back to Amber, her two favorite people in the world are her mom and Diane Sawyer. She wishes however, she’d grow up like Diane Sawyer. After school, she has a job like any other teen. Of course, unlike other teens, she works in the town’s morgue. She practices her tap dance routine every chance she gets, including doing hair and makeup on dead corpses.

Many of her competitors take ballet to learn grace, something Amber already possesses. Between a regiment of “tendu, close, tendu, close, tendu close, plié,” the choreographer believes Amber has a chance of winning. It’s a dream of Amber to win, but her main goal is to get out of Mount Rose and become a big-time reporter like Diane Sawyer.

Dreaming big makes Amber one of a kind. In the midst of competition, she keeps her cool and delivers. The best part about Amber is her easygoing nature, taking things in stride and not letting others sour her mood, even if others can be sour on her.

Told you I wouldn’t spoil it for you.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Have you ever seen Drop Dead Gorgeous? What did you think of it? What did you think of the cast involved in the production of this film?