Anniversary Week—Part II (2014)

December 17th was the two-year anniversary when Jack Flacco: The Official Site went live. In celebration of this milestone, I will be presenting the Top 5 Most Popular Women Who Wow Wednesday posts of 2014.

First, I would like to thank all the folks who took the opportunity to visit my site this year. I have to say, you’ve flattered me by all the attention you’ve shown me. If you’re interested to see how much attention this site received, check out this week’s Monday Mayhem post for the 2014 stats of views and visitors.

Moving along. When choosing the Top 5 Most Popular Women Who Wow Wednesday posts, I first wanted to present them based on amount of views. The more I thought of it though, more it didn’t make sense. For instance, a visitor may pop into the site and hit the same post several times within the day. I didn’t think it fair, considering there could have only been two visitors for that day and a hundred views.

Next, I thought I’d use comments as the benchmark. You know, the more comments a post has, the more popular it is. Again, I didn’t think it represented a good way to measure popularity given I can comment on my own post a dozen times and push it ahead on the popularity scale.

No, what I used is the number of “likes” a post has garnered throughout the year. It will not only present a fair representation of popularity for a post but also prevents users from gaming the system with multiple “likes”.

Okay, let’s get to list.

The Top 5 Most Popular Women Who Wow Wednesday posts of 2014 (including the three-way tie for second):

  1. Allison & Claire
    Allison & Claire

    The Breakfast Chicks“Saturday, March 24, 1984, Shermer High School—It begins at 7:00 A.M. with five students serving detention. Each one coming from a different background. Each one has a reason for being there. ‘… And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what…” ~48 likes

  2. The Wicked Witch of the West
    The Wicked Witch of the West

    The Wicked Witch of the West“No one can deny after seeing The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is a frightening gal. The first time I saw her on TV was when I was four. If you want to cite childhood memories that may have traumatized a growing young lad, this was it. What would the end of…” ~44 likes

    Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster
    Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster

    Clarice Starling“Nailed to a tree as five separate signs, the message to everyone who dares venture into the FBI training ground is clear: Hurt. Agony. Pain. Love—it. Pride. With those words, the chilling movie The Silence of the Lambs begins. As Women Who Wow Wednesday continues its month-long tribute to women who rock Horror, which began…” ~44 likes

    Amy Adams is Giselle in Enchanted
    Amy Adams is Giselle in Enchanted

    Giselle“Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom known as Andalasia, lived a maiden with whom the prince would share true love’s kiss. Her name was Giselle, and she dreamed of holding hands and dancing with her one true love. How many of you think this is Sleeping Beauty? Show of hands, c’mon. How about…” ~44 likes

  3. The Book of Eli's Solara
    The Book of Eli’s Solara

    Solara“When is it right to kill. When is it right to eat of the earth that which it provides as food? The death of an animal may prove fatal for the animal, but for a human it becomes food. So begins the film The Book of Eli, in ash-filled woods with a cat chewing on…” ~43 likes

  4. Kate Winslet as Clementine
    Kate Winslet as Clementine

    Clementine“Few women in life are memorable. Fewer women in film are so. Joel (Jim Carrey) doesn’t remember ripping the pages from his journal. Apparently, it’s been two years since his last entry. Taking a day off work in February, walking the beach in Montauk seems to ease his preoccupation with the guy who had hit…” ~40 likes

  5. Frozen's Anna and Elsa
    Frozen’s Anna and Elsa

    Anna and Elsa“If you haven’t seen the movie Frozen and want to see it, don’t read this post. I will spoil it for you. Jump to the last paragraph. If you have seen it, then you will know why I chose both Anna and Elsa as this week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday feature. I couldn’t choose one…” ~37 likes

Come back Friday when I reveal the Top 5 Most Popular Freedom Friday posts of 2014. Don’t miss it!

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Do you have a favorite Women Who Wow Wednesday post you’d recommend to your friends?

Advertisements

Kate McCallister

I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t seen Home Alone. That is no slight exaggeration. In its short twenty-four year history, the film has gone on to become a holiday favorite for many families, including ours. Once a year, we dim the lights, set the fire and curl up to the sights and sounds of “Kevin!”

Catherine O'Hara as Kate McCallister
Catherine O’Hara as Kate McCallister

Today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday is all about wide-eyed Kevin’s mom Kate McCallister—the parent who left her son home alone for the holidays.

It’s Christmas and the McCallister family has plans to vacation in France. The night before their trip, amid the chaos of the kids fighting, the ruined pizza and everyone ganging up on Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) for being a nuisance—read: kid with high IQ who no one appreciates—a wish passes through the nuisance’s lips and suddenly the next day the family disappears.

Among the family members who go missing is Kevin’s mom Kate McCallister (Catherine O’Hara) who finds herself on a plane with her husband and family heading to France. Nothing wrong with that, it was the plan after all, until she realizes she’s forgotten her eight-year-old son home alone.

The guilt tears her up so much that she wonders what kind of mother she is for having forgotten her son during a family trip. And like any good mother, when the family arrives in France, the first thing on her agenda is fulfilling her desire to get home to see her boy.

Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister
Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister

It sounds like an easy task, hop on a plane and she’s good to go. But it’s Christmas time and all the flights are bustling with folks with the same idea—get home for the Holidays. Determined to get back to her son, Kate presses for an early flight that would get her close to home, but not close enough.

When Kate arrives on U.S. soil, she hits another obstacle. She can’t get transportation anywhere. Rentals and flights are gone and her only hope is that someone would be gracious enough to help her get home to see her son. But not before she let’s go on one of the airport attendants venting her plight, reminding them of the common decency of the season. To no avail she gets nowhere.

It isn’t until a bandleader (John Candy) and his buddies offer Kate a ride that things start to make sense again for the exhausted mom. In the back of an old dingy van, she and a gang of old-time polka musicians jet cross-country through the winter Illinois landscape.

Once she arrives home and sees Kevin for the first time since abandoning him, she doesn’t know what to day. Well, actually, she does know what to say, but I’m not going to spoil it for you. You can watch it on your own and relive the excitement of Home Alone.

A mother’s love for a child is a wonderful thing, and Kate shows us what that love is all about.

[Stay tuned next week when the new feature Wednesday Warriors debuts here on JackFlacco.com.]

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you like about Kate McCallister? What makes Home Alone so gratifying to watch year after year?

Jovie

When a stranger dressed in an elf suite shows up at a department store, everyone is convinced he’s there for the part-time Christmas job. But after he decorates the entire floor with custom-made decorations, Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) begins to believe there’s more to this odd character than one might think.

Zooey Deschanel is Jovie
Zooey Deschanel is Jovie

Women Who Wow Wednesday today celebrates the jovial Jovie from the movie Elf.

Will Ferrell stars as Buddy the title character to Elf. He can toss snowballs at lightening speed, create Christmas ornaments out of plain paper, and build a LEGO city from leftover boxes of toy bricks. He has a penchant for drinking an entire bottle of cola in one gulp, mixing chocolate syrup with all his meals, and drowning the rest of his food groups with a pound of sugar. And why not? He is, after all, a real Santa elf who is trying to find his real father (played by James Caan) in the big city.

Jovie on the other hand leads a simple life. She lives in a humble apartment, has a job at a department store as an elf—not a real elf like Buddy but playing the part of one—and is all decked out in elf regalia, including the awesome hat with the little fluffy ball at the end of it. Jovie is the least likely person to catch Buddy’s attention.

Yet, the first time he sees Jovie, Buddy can’t resist staring. The clichéd lightening bolt strikes him and her beauty dumbfounds him.

Zooey Deschanel as Jovie
Zooey Deschanel as Jovie

For other girls, what would pose as a cause for concern—Buddy’s childlike behavior—Jovie instead enjoys. She relishes his simple quest for fun, even if it means trapping themselves in a rotating door without knowing when the ride would stop.

But the budding romance doesn’t come without its price. In a strange sequence of events, Jovie finds herself singing in the department store shower before its opening with Buddy joining in on her private crooning.

An innocent mistake.

Regardless of what may have happened between them, Jovie shows what makes her who she is by her belief of which others have lost faith. While others scoff at the notion Santa exists, Jovie stands up in the crowd and declares her belief loud and clear:

“You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.”

With those words, Jovie saves Christmas and the world once again believes in the things that make children stay up at night to wish upon a star.

Jovie of Elf—a true believer of Christmas magic.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What did you think of the movie Elf? What do you think about Zooey Deschanel’s character Jovie?

Skyler White

Every TV show has their haters. Every TV show has characters viewers love to hate. Skyler White of Breaking Bad is no exception. If there ever was a character a fan base poured their vitriol on, Skyler White is it. Even with the show’s final episodes of the series, fans didn’t surrender their rage over this woman.

Anna Gunn as Skyler White
Anna Gunn as Skyler White

And what better character to pick for this week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday than the complicated Skyler White?

If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad and would like to, suffice it to say this post will contain spoilers. Be warned.

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) just found out he’s dying of lung cancer. It’s aggressive. Apparently it’s Stage IV, but hasn’t metastasized to any other part of his body. The news of his pending demise is the catalyst for his journey into the dark world of drugs. He wants to secure his family’s future with the proceeds from the sale of methamphetamines. Joining him is former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) who takes care of the business end—sometimes with unexpected results.

What first starts out as a small-scale operation on the streets of New Mexico, expands to include cross-border and overseas sales. Additionally, like all fledgling drug empires, any business conducted will include coercion, blackmail and murder.

Married to the wannabe drug kingpin is the oftentimes-confused Skyler White (Anna Gunn). She drifts from being a mother, an accountant, a mistress and a cashier, to Walter’s conscience. She is the proverbial voice of reason to Walter’s manic appetite for money and power.

Breaking Bad's Skyler White
Breaking Bad’s Skyler White

Without giving any details to the online stories of disgust directed toward this character, it’s safe to say fans of the show could do without this woman. Despite her ability to maintain a household, cook the books for a multi-million dollar enterprise, and standing up for what she believes is right, fans still despise her.

Her sin? She has more than a professional relationship with her boss, lies about it to her husband, and kicks him out for being a drug dealer.

What could possibly redeem this woman of her sin with the audience after having sunk so low as to betray her husband with her lies?

She has one quality no one can deny. How does that saying go? Oh, yes. Of course. “It takes one to know one.” Skyler has the uncanny ability to spot when Walter lies. Call it a sixth sense, but no matter what it is, she knows perfectly well when her husband lies to her. That makes someone like her extremely dangerous. Even though she may appear fragile, vulnerable, and at times, weak, she can spot a liar. She knows what the truth sounds like. That ability is enough to make her a larger-than-life hero.

Now, if only the show’s fan base could see that. Then, instead of hating, they’d admire her.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you seen Breaking Bad? What are your thoughts about Skyler White?

Alice Dainard

If the name Elle Fanning sounds familiar then you wouldn’t be the only one wondering the same thing. Yes, Dakota Fanning is her big sister. And, yes, much like her big sister, Elle is landing huge roles in top box office titles. You might recognize her as the girl who plays Sleeping Beauty in the movie Maleficent. In 2011, however, a movie hit the big screen that somewhat came and went without much fanfare. That movie was Super 8.

Elle Fanning as Alice Dainard
Elle Fanning as Alice Dainard

For today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday, I would like to talk about Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning), the love interest to a young makeup artist Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney). In the movie Super 8, directed by J.J. Abrams, Alice becomes an actress in an amateur zombie movie shot by a group of friends from school.

More as an homage to the Steven Spielberg movies of the Seventies and early Eighties, J.J. Abrams captures the essence of the era by propelling the audience to a small Ohio town where a group of teenagers want to find out the truth behind the eerie events taking place all around them.

The tough, levelheaded Alice is one of those teenagers. With a dark past casting a large shadow over her friendship with Joe, she manages to befriend him, even if their families’ history together contains a tragic event to overcome.

Elle Fanning in Super 8
Elle Fanning in Super 8

The friendship eventually comes in handy when one evening a train derailment nearly kills the kids at the station they were using to film their latest scene for their new zombie movie. The event sparks the kids to pull together, as the event entails more than simply running away. In Alice’s case, since she’s the catalyst to the group’s curiosity, drive and action, she leads them to question the origin of the crash.

After the film’s first fifteen minutes unfolds, Alice displays the kind of courage only a true hero could possess. She presses everyone to think through the problems at hand and not jump to any conclusions before coming up with a solution. The train derailment was just the beginning.

But there’s also that soft, delicate side to Alice. In a scene reminiscent of many contemporary young adult romances of today, Joe preps Alice with zombie makeup, then watches her come to life as she lurches forward toward him with a blank stare and sullen eyes. Of course, Joe doesn’t move, but instead stands there with the curiosity of a squirrel wondering what will happen next.

In the end, there’s more to the movie Super 8 than anyone can imagine. Upon multiple viewings, countless Spielberg references surface to keep the viewer busy for a long time. In Alice’s case, she’s the perfect amalgam of a female hero and a vulnerable victim. Make no mistake, though, the vulnerable victim role doesn’t last long.

She’s too busy saving the world.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you seen Super 8? What did you like about Alice Dainard?

Meadow Soprano

If you’ve ever seen The Sopranos then you’ll know Meadow Soprano (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) is Tony Soprano’s daughter. Some may think she’s an unlikely candidate for a Women Who Wow Wednesday tribute. I beg to differ. As you’ll see, Meadow is a lot smarter than the average young woman and a heck of a verbal fighter. There’s nothing in her vocabulary that would compel anyone to call her a doormat.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano

[Author’s note: For those who have been following my Women Who Wow Wednesday series since its inception in December of 2012, I write these posts in honor of female fictional characters who show more than an interest in being good role models for women everywhere. Yes, I write about darker characters, too (i.e. The Wicked Witch of the West, Kathryn Merteuil from the movie Cruel Intentions, etc.), but only in the context of them possessing the ability to lead. Other than that, I do not enjoy watching female characters in film act as doormats when I know they could do better. The same goes for real life.]

In Meadow’s case, she’s a mob boss’ daughter, an honor student and will eventually end up working in law under the auspices of social reform and aid for the less fortunate. If anyone deserves a U.N. honorary role for human rights, it’s Meadow Soprano. She never agrees with government policy that works against poverty. Not only is she a social issues maverick but also a leader.

How did she get this way? Having Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as a father helps, since just when he thinks he has the upper hand, she knows how to play him perfectly. For instance, one evening she uses her grandmother’s house for a late-night party, but gets off with minimal punishment from her parents. This is after her friends had trashed the place, leaving behind broken windows, soiled walls, and vomit on the floor. The next morning, she apologizes and, as a preemptive strike, suggests her parents take away her Discovery card for three weeks. They cede thinking it’s a great idea. She walks away with a smile on her face.

Robert Iler & Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Robert Iler & Jamie-Lynn Sigler

The other instance where she shows her metal is when she is dating Jackie Aprile Jr., the son of the late mob boss of the Soprano family. She suspects him cheating on her, but it isn’t until she chases after him that she discovers the truth. In the throes of a massive head cold, she catches him with another woman and dumps him right on the spot that evening. She never returns, which shows her resolve as someone who thinks better of herself than stay with someone who lies and is an abusive mate.

Meadow Soprano is more than a young woman on the road to discovery. She grows to become an advocate for the poor, a loving daughter, and a close friend to those who need a friend. She’s a wonderful role model for women looking for an alternative lifestyle without all the drama associated with personal relationships.

In other words, Meadow is someone who would make a good friend for life.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you seen The Sopranos? What are your feelings toward the character Meadow Soprano?

Julia Maddon

Imogen Poots—how’s that for a cool name? Exotic, yet refined. Full of mystery. Imogen Poots is the British actress who plays the female lead in the road-blazing film Need for Speed. Her character? Julia Maddon, the money behind the movie’s most notable acquisition.

Imogen Poots as Julia Maddon
Imogen Poots as Julia Maddon

Welcome to Women Who Wow Wednesday, the series dedicated to strong women in entertainment.

If you haven’t seen the film, take note, I may have some spoilers. Jump to the last paragraph if you don’t want to know anything about this incredible character. She is worth every penny one would pay to see her on the big screen.

I’ll start with the film’s premise. Fresh from his stint on Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul plays Tobey Marshall, a mechanic whose business is floundering in a sea of debt. His only chance for redemption is for him and his crew to rebuild a very rare car and sell it to the highest bidder. The cash would clear his debt and would give his shop a brand new lifeline to carry on his late father’s legacy.

Eventually, the car he and his crew restores becomes the desire of the wanton eyes of the beautiful Julia Maddon, fast car auction purveyor who will stop at nothing to purchase the mint-condition vehicle. As the events of the film unfold however, Tobey sells the car to her without the knowledge of Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), the one who approached him to commission the rebuild in the first place. A wager ensues and Tobey loses more than the money on the table.

Imogen Poots
Imogen Poots

Two years later, Julia receives a call from Tobey for help. She hears of his desperate willingness to do anything in order to settle things with Dino, and readily offers the car he had completed for her employer as collateral. Her end? He is to promise to win a big race featuring Dino himself as one of the participants. What’s so enticing though is the winner gets to take home all the cars from the race—including a high-performance Lamborghini.

What makes Need for Speed so powerful is the portrayal of Julia Maddon as the all-you-can-be go-getter. She dishes the sarcastic jabs as much as she takes them, but more importantly, she can play with the boys without the need to feel they’re out of her league. If anything, she’s out of their league.

The best part of Julia’s character is that one scene where she’s the one driving and taking control of the situation under Tobey’s guidance. The scene features her as the leader while everyone else, including the audience, is trying to catch up with her fast and aggressive style. She’s a powerhouse of a woman, and there’s no denying she can give it as much as she can take it.

If you haven’t seen the character Julia Maddon in the film Need for Speed, I suggest you do. The film is definitely one of the best empowering stories I’ve seen in a long time. And I watch a lot of movies.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

If you’ve seen Need for Speed, what do you like most of Julia Maddon?