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Tuesday
Jul102012

Tues Top Ten: Me Blogger, You Janes.

Today is the anniversary of the first day of Lady Jane Grey's infamous reign as the Queen of England. "Infamous why?" you ask. On account of its length, see. Her days as Queen numbered only nine.

They made a movie of the short event in 1985 (Lady Jane) which is all but forgotten today. Maybe it shouldn't be since it starred baby faced rising stars Cary Elwes and the now resurgent Helena Bonham Carter. HBC quickly became the go-to actress of choice for directors who wanted a porcelain dress up doll for their costume pictures. And by directors I mean the great James Ivory.

So herewith a top ten top nine list in Lady Jane's and Helena's honor...

TOP NINE BEST "JANES"

With apologies to four time Oscar nominee Jane Alexander, Susan Sarandon's delightful Jane Spofford, Jane Lynch (before Glee), Fun with Dick and Jane, and Demi Moore's G.I. Jane, Thomas Jane, and Jane Goodall. I'm sure I forgot someone wonderful but that's what the comments are for.

09 Jane Wyman
I didn't really understand Wyman until I finally saw Magnificent Obsession (1954) in which she can't see. I highly recommend that you don't remind blind to it because what a good picture that is.

Judy Bernly: What did you call this again?
Violet Newstead: Mowie Wowie!
Judy: Well, I love it.
Violet: Primo. 

08 "Mary Jane"
Or as Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton like to call it "Maui Wowie." Recently while watching a terrible 80s movie, (not 9 to 5 which is great) The Boyfriend and I were discussing which drugs make good movies and which ruin them. And Mary Jane is clearly the winner. Case evidence: Robert Altman's filmography. In the 80s Hollywood was on cocaine and it shows. Not in a good way!

Seven more classic "Janes" after the jump!

07 Me Tarzan, You Jane
Film Experience readers know (and don't love based on the radio silence whenever I discuss him) that I have a small thing for Tarzan movies. I can't help it. My favorite Jane is Maureen O'Sullivan on account of both the Weismuller movies and for bringing Mia Farrow into the world.

06 Jane Krakowski
"JENNA!". Krakowski would be much higher on this list if the movies knew what to do with her but despite a few horny tiny parts of note here and there (Alfie in which she seduced Jude Law and Pretty Persuasion in which she was seduced by Evan Rachel Wood) her claim to fame is Broadway (Deserved Tony winner for Nine and it's not every day that an actress can say the put Penélope Cruz to shame!) and television hilarity (Ally McBeal, 30 Rock). That she doesn't yet have an Emmy and is not likely to win one even for her overachieving brillliance in this last season of 30 Rock is a crime against all humanity. Or at least showbiz.

I love Jane so much that I spent this birthday at her concert in NYC. I felt like she was singing just for me. If that weren't enough of a gift, Cheyenne Jackson also showed up to sing with her.

05 Jane Austen
She only lived to be 41 but those six classic novels are immortal. Filmable, too! Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion. The only one I've never seen a filmed version of is Northanger Abbey but without looking it up on IMDb I feel confident that at least one exists... *looks it up* Yep, a 2007 version with Felicity Jones and Carey Mulligan. Also without Austen there's no Clueless (1995). That's way harsh, Tai. 

04 Jane Eyre
Because Hollywood loves her as hard as Rochester does. So many film versions. And also: my god how great was Mia Wasikowska in the last one? Very. When will people realize? Even Meryl Streep was moved enough to give her a shout out in one of her Iron Lady speeches.

So here's to "Mia VashiViKovska!" [sic] and to the eternal Bronte heroine. 

03 Jane Campion
The Piano (1993) is one of the greatest films of all time but it's hardly her only treasure. In a better world she'd be as revered as Martin Scorsese or David Fincher or [insert dozens of fawned over male directors]. The only thing I don't love about her is the sheer agony between movies. I'd totally let Sam Neill chop off one of my fingers if I could get a Campion movie every year. Rent Bright Star immediately if you haven't seen it!

02 Baby Jane Hudson

01 Jane Fonda 
We began with "Lady Jane" and we end with another... Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda. Thank you to screen legend Henry Fonda for lighting the way. Thank you to 50s director Joshua Logan (of the just discussed Picnic) and Lee Strasberg for nudging her towards the screen. Thank you to ex-husband Roger Vadim for properly exploiting her (Barbarella!). But most of all thank you to Jane for "Bree Daniels" in Klute, "Sally Hyde" in Coming Home, "Judy Bernly" in 9 to 5, "Gloria" in They Shoot Horses Don't They and so many more. So glad she's back to what she does best whether it's on stage (33 Variations), the big screen (Peace Love and Misunderstanding and the forthcoming The Butler) or television (The Newsroom... the whole time watching her in this I kept thinking how great she would have been as "Violet" in the film version of August: Osage County. Sigh).

I dedicate this list to any reader who: is named "Jane", has loved a "Jane", has slept with a "Jane", or has obsessed over a celebrity "Jane". That's got too include a lot of you!

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Reader Comments (25)

Might I add Miss Jane Marple, as played by Margaret Rutherford?

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

I don't like Jane Fonda. Never been a fan of her acting (her Oscar win for Coming Home ranks among the ten worst in the category, IMO) and she comes across as very ungracious, entitled, and whiny in her autobiography.

Plus, her favorite actresses include Reese Witherspoon and Annette Bening. Gross.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Also, Jane Birkin.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

Liz, i know you just didn't say "gross" about The Bening, also one of my all time favorites!

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Jenna is always portrayed as self-absorbed. Everyone forgets about the wonderful work she has done on behalf of Merkins of Hope.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBilly Held An Oscar

"Mia VashiViKovska!" [sic]

Is that how Meryl (mis)pronounced her name?

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJP

What about Thomas Jane? ;)

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarek

Ooooh man, Lady Jane is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. There is simply no resisting mid-eighties Cary Elwes ♥♥♥

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmes

Now is the perfect time to ask: it's Mia Vosh-ee-KOV-ska, right? Or have I been saying it wrong as well?

We actually watched Lady Jane in my Tudor-Stuart England class in college. I'll just say that I don't think it's forgotten for unjust reasons.

My contributions: Jane Levy, who is very funny on the ABC show Suburgatory (ok, not cinematic, but I think she's a star on the rise), and Jane (played by national treasure Frances McDormand), the best character in Nicole Holofcener's Friends with Money.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

Jane Russell if for nothing else, although there's plenty else to love, the Isn't Anyone Here For Love number in Gentleman Prefer Blondes.

Jane Powell a fine singer, even if not particularly to my taste, and a cheery effervescent screen presence.

Lastly how can any list that includes Tudor English history be complete without both Jane Seymours, Henry VIII third wife as well as the current undervalued Jane Seymour, if you've ever seen her version of East of Eden, in which she was electrifying, you'd know what a shame it is that she's become stuck with pretty much just the memory of Dr. Quinn.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

No Baby Jane Hudson fans in the house?

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

I love Fonda. She's a sensational actress and her biography was so interesting to read.
Where are her SAG, AFI and Cecil B. DeMille Awards?

I would love her to grab a big meaty role and I know she did "The Dollmaker" decades ago, but do you really see her rural (and crazy) enough to play Violet? I'm more into Lange or Bening...

PS The rest of your Janes are pretty amazing.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Anybody but Jane Wyman!!!

I adore Jenna but my favorite Jane Krakowski will probably always be her creepy "Confederated Products" saleswoman-slash-molester in Go. "And by March... we might be number three."

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJA

In a perfect world Jane Campion would be so revered. I adore her so.

Also, Jane Eyre is by Charlotte Bronte, so she's not an Austen heroine.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterD Austin

D Austin -- oh god. horrible typo. I had just written the sentence about Jane Austen. LOL. fixing right now.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Baby Jane Hudson is Iconic! of course.....

two other Jane's off the top of my head...

Jane Wyatt
Jane Withers

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLola

My mother's name is Jane.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

brandz -- then she would top your list! but who else?

July 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Fonda is a fair actress ... best They Shoot Horses ./.. Klute.

Just saw her guest on Kathy Griffiths new show and she was pathetic ... she had no idea what was even going on .. not one smile the whole interview.

Glad she did NOT get into "August" .. no depth to her acting.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Rick, Jane Fonda's appearence on the Kathy Griffin show did little to endear her to me, either. She always seems so above it all...no sense of humor or fun.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

You shouldn't have mixed characters with real people. Anyway, Baby Jane Hudson shoud have been ranked as Nº1, THAT'S WHO!!

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

I love Lady Jane. It's one of my favorite "comfort food" movies. It's also amazing eye candy, as well. Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes are so gorgeous together.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

John Woo has an earlier film, a comedy, titled Plain Jane to the Rescue in English. I don;t know how good that movie is, but based on the trailer found on Youtube, you have to give Woo a little love for including visual quotes from both Lady and the Tramp and Some Like it Hot.

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Nellhaus

Jane Lynch, Becoming Jane, Jane Seymour, Jane Doe, Jane Smith

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

Aaaaand the Law of Attraction made Walter Hill decide to direct a remake of Whatever Happened....
Please, Nathaniel. Do a Cast This!!

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames T
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