Girls On Film: My 5 Guilty Pleasures

Via the magic of electronic mail (a/k/a “e-mail”), I was asked by a blogging buddy – why hello there, Jess Witkins – if I’d be interested in writing a themed post about women in film whom I consider guilty pleasures, to coincide with her Friday Top 5 Cinematic Men who are guilty pleasures post. She was looking for a male’s perspective and wanted to represent both genders, and came to me after seven other bloggers bailed on her because she likes my writing. Sniffing an opportunity to do a little bit of link swapping, I ditched my plans for a post on Goatskin Moccasin Weaving Techniques Of Himalayan Sherpas (which I can always cover another time, as it’s a topic that is entertaining all year long) and decided to go for it.

First off, let’s define what constitutes a “guilty pleasure.” Take it away, Wikipedia:

guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes.

In other words, if you think Michael Bolton walks on water and can’t go a day without hearing Time, Love And Tenderness, then you’ve got yourself a bona fide case of guilty pleasureitis (and also, you should really see a doctor about that). So, in order to come up with a list of 5 women in cinema that I consider guilty pleasures, I can’t just talk about the actresses whose work I admire most (favorites like Kate Winslet and Annette Bening and Cate Blanchett, who melt into every role they’re given and turn out truly remarkable performances time and again). Meryl Streep is not a guilty pleasure, but Jennifer Lopez could be, for example. According to Jess’s rules, I can pick either an actress or a specific role.

OK, then. With that criteria in mind, here is my list of the Top 5 Cinematic Women I consider to be guilty pleasures.

Totally worth $10/ticket. (Courtesy of
    1. Jessica Alba. Let’s face it, Jessica Alba isn’t much of an actress, but what she lacks in thespian skills, she more than makes up for in sexiness. That body…that incredible body. Happy sigh. I have watched movies that I knew would be absolutely terrible just because there were scenes where Jessica prances around in a bikini (Into The Blue). I have, in fact, seen a whole bunch of films I otherwise had no interest in – none, zero – merely because she appeared in them. Movies like Honey and Fantastic Four and Little Fockers. The mere possibility that I might get to see a little bit of exposed Jessica flesh gets my blood pumping and causes me to rearrange my Netflix queue so that Good Luck Chuck is number one.
    2. Piper Perabo in Coyote Ugly. Piper who-a-bo?? She may not exactly be a household name – rumor has it she’s working at Subway nowadays – but back in 2000, she burst onto the scene playing Violet Sanford, an aspiring musician who takes a job as a waitress/bartender in Coyote Ugly. What makes Piper so engaging in this role? She slithers around, and sometimes on top of, the bar in various states of undress, occasionally cavorting with her equally scantily-clad coworkers. She’s cute and plucky, an innocent girl who transforms into someone a little grittier and dirtier. I like that. The movie is flashy and loud, with a rock ‘n roll soundtrack, and there’s a surprisingly poignant backstory. Plus, did I mention all that eye candy?
    3. Julie Andrews. I’m sure I could come up with a long list of actresses I like purely based on sex appeal, but that would be missing the point. Guilty pleasures involve more than just hot bodies, which is not a knock on Julie Andrews at all. I’m sure beneath her nun’s habit she’s rockin’ it, but she made a career in the mid-60s based on a wholesome image…and it’s pretty endearing. I used to mock The Sound Of Music – all that singing and frolicking despite the approach of the Nazis seemed unrealistic – until I actually watched the movie, and fell promptly in love with it. Nannies who burst into song may not be “cool,” but who wouldn’t want to hang out with Maria – or Mary Poppins – for an afternoon? I even – gulp – like her in The Princess Diaries.
    4. Jennifer Aniston. Sitcom stars rarely morph into acclaimed actors (unless their first names are Tom and their last names, Hanks). Television characters are notoriously one-dimensional to begin with, and Jennifer Aniston will forever be associated with Rachel on Friends. She even had a trendy haircut named after her alter-ego – it’s hard to take somebody like that seriously. But you know what? She’s good, as anybody who has seen The Good Girl can attest, and regardless of the role, she delivers. I like Jennifer because chances are if she’s in a movie, I’ll enjoy it: Office Space, The Break-Up, Bruce Almighty, Along Came Polly, Derailed – I loved them all, and in this summer’s Horrible Bosses she is crude, funny, and sexy as hell.
    5. Lady in Lady And The Tramp. Nobody said my favorite cinematic females had to be human or non-animated, and simply put, Lady And The Tramp is the best Disney movie of all time. Why? There is danger (a rat on the loose, ready to attack a baby!), drama (Lady is caught by the dogcatcher!) and a classic battle between good and evil (a pair of conniving Siamese cats trying to make the dogs look bad in front of Aunt Sarah, Jim Dear and Darling). Best of all, though? Only the most romantic scene in movie history: Lady and Tramp sharing a bowl of spaghetti under a moonlit sky while being serenaded by an Italian chef, and sharing a surprise kiss. If that doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, you’re made of stone, my friend.

There you go! Those are mine…what about yours? Which actresses (or actors, or cartoon characters) do you consider guilty pleasures?

And they call it puppy love. (Courtesy of

Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

35 thoughts on “Girls On Film: My 5 Guilty Pleasures

  1. Nice list Mark! I highly approve of your picks, especially Jessica Alba, she’s my guilty pleasure crush too. I’m surprised you had Julie Andrews and Lady on there. I underestimated you. Just another reason I knew you were the perfect man for this job. Thanks for sharing this with us! And I agree, if the spaghetti scene doesn’t tug at your heart strings, you are made of stone. Ha!


    1. I surprised myself, too. Especially after the first two picks – I could see myself headed down Sexy Road. Which wasn’t a bad place to go, but I wanted to prove myself to be about more than just that. Thanks for the topic idea and for sharing with me – this was fun!


  2. Piper is on USA Network as the lead in Covert Affairs. Now she can be one your Television Guilty Pleasures.

    Thank you for Julie Andrews…did you ever see her in S.O.B??

    My most guilty pleasure is and always will be Sam Elliott….*swoons*

    Can’t wait to read about the moccasin weaving…sounds interesting!!


    1. So, wait…Piper isn’t building sandwiches for a living? Well, that’s good to know (though I was secretly hoping for a sighting the next time I ordered up a tuna on honey oat).

      I did not see Julie in S.O.B. or Victor/Victoria. Worth watching either?


      1. I thought so…

        S.O.B. is soooo Blake Edwards and soooo much about Hollywood…you just gotta see it!


  3. “(favorites like Kate Winslet and Annette Bening and Cate Blanchett, who melt into every role they’re given and turn out truly remarkable performances time and again).”

    Bravo…I totally agree, Mark!

    And definitely Julie Andrews and Jennifer Aniston too!

    Oh…and also Lady And The Tramp – HA! That one was BRILLIANT!

    Let’s see, for me (and I’ll chose one male and one female)….

    Javier Bardem and Julianne Moore.

    And for a cartoon character….

    George Jetson (can you tell from my avatar?)

    Great post, buddy! Enjoyed


    1. Oh, yes – Julianne Moore! She was fantastic in The Kids Are All Right (as was the aforementioned Ms. Bening).

      I never would have guessed you were a Jetsons fan, though…shocking! Hope you have a great weekend, Ron.


      1. Oooh, I approve of Javier Bardem. Mark, can we do this again: Latin Version? You were smart to include Jessica Alba, but I forgot Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Javier Bardem… Mmmmm


  4. You included Lady! I love it. 🙂

    GREAT list. As a woman, I must admit that Jessica Alba and Jennifer Aniston are two seriously gorgeous women. I’m not 100% sold on Piper’s acting in Covert Affairs, but I did love her in Coyote Ugly – And, Julie Andrews. Classic.

    Alltime – I’d add Audrey Hepburn. Current day – Sandra Bullock.

    Great post! I’m glad Jess linked me to you. 🙂


    1. Sandra Bullock crossed my mind. After her win for The Blind Side, I wasn’t sure if she would be considered a guilty pleasure or a serious actress. Then I remembered Miss Congeniality 2. Yep…total guilty pleasure!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m going to check out your blog, too – any friend of Jess’s can’t be half bad! 🙂


      1. Another fabulous idea: Childhood Heartthrobs? Let’s see, to start, we’d have to say Barrett Oliver (Neverending Story and Secret Garden) and Jeremy Sumpter from Peter Pan. What cute little boys.


  5. I’m glad that one of the three comments already posted was to help defend Piper Perabo’s good standing as a television actress.

    Also, I love the introduction to this blog entry. The line about her reasoning for choosing you was excellent. This is the first post of yours I’ve had the chance to read, but I love how much your voice comes through in the writing. (


    1. If 1 and 2 did nothing for you, I might be concerned, Carl. J-Lo did an excellent job in both Selena and Out Of Sight…but then she had to go and do Gigli. Sigh. If I did a Top 10 list, she’d probably make the cut.


  6. hmmmm.
    guilty pleasures include Mel Gibson–esp. Mad Max, The Road Warrior, and Lethal Weapon 2.
    Melanie Griffith. I can’t tell you why, specifically, I like her, but I do…I always thought her silhouette was like mine. (might have been pure delusion…)
    ANY movie with both Julia Roberts and Richard Gere–there are maybe only the 2–Pretty Woman (which I tried to watch with my kids recently and about DIED it was so…lewd in the beginning) and Runaway Bride…
    fun post, Mark.


    1. Don’t forget Braveheart! Mel made blue cool long before Avatar came out. And my ex-wife hated Melanie Griffith because of her voice, but I never minded her. In fact, maybe that makes me like her even more nowadays…


  7. I just love that Lady made it on a list that didn’t fall far behind Jessica Alba. Too sweet. I think the Prince from Little Mermaid would have to be on mine! I love Sean Connery, anything with Tom Hanks, Johnny Dep is amazing (however I have not followed all the POC’s… just the first), Matt Damon, and let’s throw one in just for looks (okay and laughs..because I think he’s simply hilarious) Owen Wilson!


    1. Owen Wilson is the only one on your list who surprises me. I know he’s funny, but a heartthrob? Interesting! Thanks for sharing. Did you know the Little Mermaid’s character was based on Alyssa Milano in real life? Yummy! 😉


      1. I had no idea about the Little Mermaid… that’s interesting! I think Owen Wilson being so clearly imperfect is what makes him so great! However, I can see how it was surprising, haha!


  8. I also had to add, I had a crush of some sort on Jessica Alba when she was in that series where she had the barcode on her neck (the series name escapes me, but I was in love).


  9. Antonio Banderas in the Spy Kids movies, Alan Rickman in most things, but particularly Diehard and Truly, Madly, Deeply and Sense and Sensibility. Burt Ward in his Robin costume.


      1. Of course, I was 8 years old when I made this choice. I thought Robin and I would get married and be a crime-fighting team.


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