Single Girls [1974]

The outrage surrounding the violent content in Madonna's video for "What It Feels Like for a Girl" is a bit of a controversy itself. Look at any episode of any cop show filmed during the last 25 years and you'll easily find more car crashes and human assault, containing far less artful context, than director Guy Ritchie (Madonna's husband) injects here. Madonna plays something of a femme fatale Robin Hood, who removes a blank-faced elderly woman from a nursing home and, with the old lady sitting shotgun, races around town in a yellow vintage Camaro wreaking havoc on unsuspecting males. She crashes into a car containing leering young men, stun-guns a fat-cat fellow at an ATM, gives his cash to a waitress at a drive-in, and steals another hot rod after she's banged up her own. While enjoying a milkshake with her octogenarian partner-in- crime, she pulls out a pistol and aims it at the heads of two stupefied-looking policemen (but she doesn't spray them with bullets--the weapon is a squirt gun). The Thelma & Louise-themed video hints that the entire scenario is imagined by the old woman, who fantasizes vengeance for a lifetime of indignities suffered. Satisfying, yes. Outrageous, hardly. --Beth Massa

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