Thelma & Louise: The legendary film is 25 years old today

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As Thelma & Louise celebrates 25 years of being, we look at the ultimate female road trip film and see just how, and why, it has stood the test of time.

Directed by South Shields’ own (!) Ridley Scott, the film’s plot centres around the aftermath of an attempted rape: Whilst on a girls’ fishing trip, a nasty fella in the parking lot of a bar gets a little too heavy-handed with Thelma (Geena Davis), which leads to Louise (Susan Sarandon) shooting him dead. The pair then goes on the run from police in a chase that takes them from Arkansas to the Grand Canyon, and to one of the greatest, and most-debated, endings to a movie there ever was. SPOILER ALERT: Thelma and Louise drive their Ford Thunderbird, hand-in-hand, right off a cliff into the Canyon, the frame freezing as the car flies into oblivion.

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It is widely looked at now as an iconic piece of feminist art work but lest we forget, the motion picture landscape was very different 25 years ago. At the time, whilst acclaimed by many, the film also had critics a plenty. It was accused of promoting casual sex and casual misandry, amongst other despicable things. However, whilst the world has moved on ever so slightly, it could be argued that the feminist movement, like our protagonists’ fleeing from the police, is a long road to be travelled. Just look at Jennifer Lawrence, and her article last year questioning the pair gap between male and female actors.

The film constantly raises the question: Why would the police believe them? They’re women. A question that is sadly still raised now and has as bleak an answer as it did back then. As Callie Khouri, writer of the film’s Oscar-winning screenplay, explained of the final scene: “They flew away, out of this world and into the mass unconscious. Women who are completely free from all the shackles that restrain them have no place in this world. The world is not big enough to support them.”

Geena Davis has been vocal about the fact that, whilst now iconic, the film actually changed nothing for women in film. “After Thelma & Louise, which was pretty noticed and potent and significant, [people were saying] ‘This changes everything! There’s going to be so many female buddy movies!’ and nothing changed,” she told The Guardian last year.

“And then the next movie I did was A League of Their Own, which was a huge hit, and all the talk was, ‘Well now, beyond a doubt, women’s sports movies, we’re going to see a wave of them because this was so successful.’ That’s balls. It took 10 years until Bend It Like Beckham came out. So, there was no trend whatsoever.”

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The film is also notable for the introduction of a young Brad Pitt as JD (a handsome stranger and not the aforementioned nasty man) Pitt, then a blue-eyed young lad, beat out George Clooney for the role. However, his character, JD, a con artist, serves as much more than eye candy. He gives Thelma a sexual awakening. He makes her feel like she has some worth, unlike her controlling husband Darryl (Christopher McDonald). This flip of the woman in sexual control adds an interesting dynamic to the usually-male stereotype.

Thelma & Louise is so many things. Aside from fantastic performances from its leading ladies and breathtaking cinematography, it is a revenge story, a cowboy (or girl) film, and road trip adventure – all held together by two fierce female characters. Whether or not the ending is sad or tragic is not the point, really. The point is that it is a glorious piece of work, one that celebrates the strength of female friendship and one that we should be grateful was ever made.

25 years on, you’d be lucky if it was even made today.

WATCH: Our list of the UK’s best 10 Eurovision entries

The UK may have a love-hate relationship with the rest of Europe when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest (mainly we think they love to hate us) but we’ve certainly had our ups as well as downs. Sure, we haven’t won in a while. But, when we did win, we stormed it, usually with songs that have gone down in UK music history. Here, in no particular order, we look at our favourite winners (and those who didn’t quite get to the top) over the years.

Javine – Touch My Fire

She may have narrowly missed out on a place in Girls Aloud on Posters: The Rivals, but Javine Hylton makes our list with her Turkish-tinged entry to the 2005 contest. She brought dancers, she brought drummers, she brought the house down but sadly didn’t bring the title home; Touch My Fire came 22nd and only received a measly 22 points.

Jade Ewen – It’s My Time

What’s that? You need a hit written? Call Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Diane Warren. And that’s exactly what we did in 2009, resulting in Jade Ewen’s epic ballad, which became the UK’s most successful Eurovision entry since 2002 by coming fifth. Thanks to Lloyd-Webber (who also played piano for Ewen on the night) the song has more than a hint of musical theatre about it and Europe lapped it up. Bravo! (P.S If you fancy a chuckle, skip to 1.04 for an awkward collision between Ewen and an over-zealous violinist. Gold.)

Precious – Say It Again

Armed with one of the best key changes in 90s pop (say it, say it, say it, say it…Say it A-GAIN!) these five sassy girls placed 12th in 1999. Featuring a pre-Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost, Precious, and their song Say It Again, sadly didn’t win but will always have a special place in our pop nostalgia. Cue perfectly precise, 90s dance routine.

Molly – Children Of The Universe

Taking her rightful place on the list of UK Eurovision divas, Molly Smitten-Downes dropped the surname to attempt to take the top spot in Austria in 2014. One of the firm favourites before the final, she lost fair and square to one of the most famous entrants in the contest’s history, Conchita Wurst. In any other year, Molly would have stood a good chance of glory but Conchita came along at a special time in history and pipped her to the post.

Brotherhood of Mann – Save Your Kisses For Me

Dressed like the love child of Agnetha from Abba and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, Brotherhood of Man’s performance was deliciously 70s. Makes perfect sense though, as it was way back in 1976 when the four-piece won the contest for us with Save Your Kisses from Me. The song hit Number One in the UK two weeks before the contest and remains the entry with the second most votes ever and the biggest-selling Eurovision winner ever.

Jessica Garlick – Come Back

In 2001, Jessica Garlick made it to the final 10 in Pop Idol. A year later, the Welsh beauty was representing her country in a very different contest. Come Back is the type of big ballad you would expect from a Pop Idol winner, never mind a runner-up and it certainly struck a chord with Europe; Garlick came joint-third.

Katrina and the Waves – Love Shine A Light

Cementing her place in Eurovision history, and a gig at Pride events across the world ever since, 1997 saw Katrina and her eponymous Waves storm to victory with Love Shine A Light, a, quite frankly, inspiring power ballad. It became the band’s biggest success since Walking On Sunshine 12 years earlier. The singer said about the song, “For Eurovision you need a song with a universal message, lighters in the air, Coca-Cola, heartwarming positive ‘all-unite’ message and I think that’s what ‘Love Shine a Light’ says and I’m just lucky that I’m the one that gets to sing it.” *Tears*

Gina G – Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit

The UK has always had a special relationship with the land of Oz, which is why in ’96 we called upon Aussie songstress Gina G to sing for us. Not only did she sing, though, she danced her arse off like it was the last rave on earth. The performance tapped into the 90s dance culture and I defy anyone to sit still when they hear the opening to the track, which gave Gina G a UK number one. Oh and try to stop yourself from singing a long. I DARE YOU.

Lulu – Boom Bang A Bang

One of the most successful female singers of the sixties, Lulu is one of a handful of Eurovision competitors to continue a successful career post-contest. Her winning entry to the 1969 competition, Boom Bang A Bang, is like the little pop song that could; a gutsy, powerhouse of a track from the pocket-sized singer. To younger audiences, it is probably better known as the title song of the BBC sitcom, Him & Her.

Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up

Blonde highlights. Detachable skirts for the ladies. White trousers for the men. There’s few performances more stereotypically 80s than this one from Bucks Fizz. Arguably the greatest, and campest, entry from the UK in Eurovision history, Making Your Mind Up has a special place in the hearts of Eurovision fans. A win for us in 1981, a win for fashion 4EVA.

The Eurovision Song Contest will be on BBC1 on May 14

Eurovision 2016: We pick our favourites for the contest in Stockholm

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With days to go until the big night in Stockholm, we thought it appropriate, nay necessary, to compile our favourite entries of the competition. The Eurovision Song Contest is world famous for bringing the camp, something which is distinctly lacking this year. This year’s common theme seems to be big, dance tracks, which always go down well in the arena. Of course there’s the obligatory 80s power ballads (FYR Macedonia and Poland) and the twinky boy band (Denmark) and on the whole, everyone has brought their A game this year. Here’s our top picks…

Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One (Russia)

Who? Sergey Lazarev is a former member of Russian pop duo Smash!! and is famous in his home country for hits like Obsession. Russia is looking like the one to beat this year. Yes, the lyrics may be daft (“thunder and lightning, it’s getting exciting”) but when did the words ever matter in Eurovision? The song itself is a huge pop track, with a pounding baseline that leads you right up to a thunderous chorus. His dress rehearsals have looked MAJOR, complete with dance routine and expensive staging. And Sergey is easy on the eyes too, which won’t hurt his chances.

Agnete – Icebreaker (Norway)

Who? She has had number ones in her native Norway as the lead singer of Tha BlackSheeps, a punk band. She also won the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing, Skal vi danse? Icebreaker is full of pounding drums and dramatic strings, both of which compliment Agnete’s great voice. The song also has an interesting structure – the chorus is somewhat restrained, compared to the build, which is a classic dance banger. Our favourite!

Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone (UK)

Who? Joe Woolford and Jake Shakeshaft were both solo contestants on the fourth series of The Voice UK. They became a duo after the show ended and went on to be chosen to represent the UK via the BBC’s Eurovision: You decide. You’re Not Alone is a great little pop song – think One Direction in the early days, with a rocky twist. It’s a song that builds so the lads will need a big performance on the night to get everyone on their feet by the end.

Douwe Bob – Slow Down (Netherlands)

Who? Douwe Bob is folk singer-songwriter. He is also the son of Simon Posthuma, who with The Fools famously created costumes for the likes of The Beatles and The Hollies. Bob’s effort for the Netherlands, Slow Down, isn’t your typical Eurovision fare; it’s a cool, laid-back guitar song that wouldn’t sound out of place on an indie band’s album. A refreshing change from all the electronic stuff this year.

Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting For This Night (Lithuania)

Who? Donny Montell previously represented his country in the contest back in 2012, but was beaten by Sweden’s Loreen and her absolute banger, Euphoria. His real name is Donatas Montvydas (ooh!) His entry for this year reminds us of a Joe McElderry or Westlife track, and looking at the track record for pop in Eurovision, that is by no means a negative.

Dami Im – Sound Of Silence (Australia)

Who? Dami Im is a Korean-Australian singer who won the Aussie version of The X Factor in 2013. She is one of the country’s biggest artists and became the first X Factor contestant to follow up a number one single with a number one album on the ARIA Charts. Sound Of Silence, the second-ever Australian entry to Eurovision, is quite stunning. Sounding like Sia’s little sister, the drama of it mixed with Dami’s enormous pipes stand it in good steed (although Oz’s rookie status may go against them.)

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place on May 14.

LISTEN: All of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest entries

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It’s that time of year again, when Europe’s, erm, finest singers come together to battle it out and crown the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. On a night that in the past has seen everything from a certain Swedish pop group singing about a certain famous battle to a drag queen making music history to Polish maids milking cows on stage, the pop competition is nothing if not memorable. At it’s best it is remarkable and at it’s worst, well, it is even more remarkable.

This year’s contest will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, after the country came out victorious last year thanks to Mans Zelmerlow and his song, Heroes. Zelmerlow will host the show, along with Swedish comedian Petra Mede. Our entry, Joe and Jake, will be fancying their chances with the rather good You’re Not Alone. The song was picked by viewers to represent the UK as part of the BBC television programme, Eurovision: You Decide.

And those fearful of them getting the dreaded nul points can rest a little easier this year as voting has changed. Voting will be split, with each country’s jury vote cast first, and votes from viewers in all countries combined and announced at the end. The juries and the public voters will award a set of points from one to eight then 10 and 12 for each of the top 10 places.

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Saturday May 14. It will be shown on BBC1, time TBC.

Listen below to our playlist of this year’s hopefuls:

WATCH: No Doubt about it, Gwen Stefani is flawless in the latest Carpool Karaoke

No Doubt front woman and all-round kick-ass rockstar Gwen Stefani is the latest passenger to get the carpool karaoke treatment on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

The mythical creature (SHE’S 46 WHAT!?) rattles through hits like Don’t Speak, The Sweet Escape, Used To Love You and Rich Girl with harmonies on point.

She also reveals she loves emojis (a girl after our own heart) and when she asks Corden what the eggplant emoji means, he replies, “it’s the dick.” He also tells her he refers to his own manhood as ‘the truth’ and she reminds him her latest album is called This Is What The Truth Feels Like.

The pair casually pick up Hollywood stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts on the way and hilariously sing along to Holdback Girl. It’s the stuff carpool dreams are made of, quite frankly.

WATCH: 14-year-old singer brings the BGT judges to tears

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*SPOILER ALER* You’re probably going to cry at this one.

Britain’s Got Talent is no stranger to talented young singers. And last night, one 14-year-old girl came along and joined those ranks.

Jasmine Elcock sang a slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe and within the first few bars, it was clear which way this audition was headed.

The acoustic version of the song, previously performed by Ella Henderson on The X Factor, brought hosts Ant and Dec, and judges Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden to tears, with Alesha telling the singer, “There are so many reasons that auditioned moved me so much. I hope all your dreams come true.”

Simon Cowell said, “I think this country is going to totally fall in love with you.”

And the audition was topped off when Ant and Dec stormed the stage and used their Golden Buzzer to send a visibly-elated Jasmine straight to the BGT finals. All together now: AWWWWW.

Watch the audition below:

Britain’s Got Talent is on ITV1 Saturdays at 8

Get in! Scarlett Moffatt’s debut book is officially a Sunday Times bestseller

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She made our way into our living rooms, and hearts, on Channel 4’s Gogglebox, and now Scarlett Moffatt has bagged a place on the Sunday Times bestseller list with her debut, Scarlett Says.

The book is currently number five on the list, which is comprised of the bestselling books in Britain. It gives her take on everything from politics to dating to red carpet moments. Scarlett, who is from Bishop Auckland, also shares hilarious stories from her childhood. Comedian Alan Carr described it as “absolutely brilliant and really funny. Half autobiography, half mad woman on a roundabout shouting at the traffic.”

She tweeted her delight at the news this morning:

One person who will no doubt be cutting himself a little slither of humble pie will be The Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie. He criticised Scarlett’s weight in a recent column and said she should not be a role model for young girls.

A successful television and radio career, millions of fans and, most importantly, an enormous heart. Oh and now a bestselling book. She’s certainly a role model to us!

Take that Kelvin Mckenzie! You pr**k.

Scarlett Says is out now and available in all good book shops and online retailers. It is also available as an audio book.