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Tim Burton's Top 5 Lady Badasses

Tim Burton's Top 5 Lady Badasses

Sure, Tim Burton's reigning muse might be Helena Bonham Carter, but what about the director's less-lauded heroines? Prepare for the Tim Burton exhibition opening up at the LACMA this weekend (May 29-Oct. 31) by reacquainting yourself with these great Burton female leads of the past.

I want your undivided attention.
I want your undivided attention.

5. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985): Dottie

"You don't want to get mixed up with someone like me. I'm a loner, Dottie, a rebel," Pee-Wee tells this lovelorn bike store employee. Who doesn't feel a sympathy pang? Even if these days the syntax is different --"I think you're really nice but I'm really not ready for a relationship right now, and I'm going on tour with the band this summer so, yeah..." --we've all been there before. In the end, though, Dottie gets her date, and Morgan Fairchild plays her in the movie version of Pee Wee's life! If Dottie were alive today, she'd be the most sought-after lady in Silver Lake, no question.

My whole life is a dark room. One. Big. Dark. Room.
My whole life is a dark room. One. Big. Dark. Room.

4. Beetlejuice (1988): Lydia Deetz

An early glimpse of the girl who would eventually bring us the phrase "Well fuck me gently with a chainsaw," thus revolutionizing our cultural lexicon. Worth re-watching for Winona Ryder's awesomely awkward white-girl dance moves in the last scene alone.

The light concealing cream goes on first. Then you blend, and blend, and blend. Blending is the secret.
The light concealing cream goes on first. Then you blend, and blend, and blend. Blending is the secret.

3. Edward Scissorhands (1990): Peg

Once upon a time, Johnny Depp was just a shy kid in the suburbs with weed-whackers for hands. For some reason, (blonde!) Winona Ryder usually gets all the credit here, but this movie belongs to Dianne Weist as Peg, Ryder's Avon lady mom who just wants everything to be alright for everybody all the time no matter what.

 

Meow.
Meow.

2. Batman Returns (1992): Catwoman/Selina Kyle

Maybe the best part about Catwoman's character is her origin story. Christopher Walken pushes her out of a window and then some stray cats lick her face and suddenly she's a super-villain in a full-pleather body suit that she made herself? Because the cat spit not only turned her into a kickboxing champion but also, an expert fashion designer and seamstress? Probably, this is one of those things that doesn't make sense unless you read the comic books. Not, I suppose, that anyone's complaining.

Daddy, I want a pony.
Daddy, I want a pony.

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005): Veruca Salt

Yeah, there was no reason to remake the original, and yeah this version suffers from the lack of Gene Wilder, but the world can never have too many Veruca Salts. It's basically the law.


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