In this weekend's Tammy, Melissa McCarthy's title character sets out on a cross-country trip to Niagara Falls with her alcoholic grandmother Pearl, played by Susan Sarandon. Aside from a welcome chance to watch Sarandon in a potential blockbuster situation, it's also a chance to watch Sarandon in one of her recurrent modes: free-spirited road-tripper.
After gathering together 30 of Sarandon's most notable roles throughout her career, we've ranked them all in order of how much fun her character would be on a road trip. Considerations included personality, aptitude for the road, durability, and intangibles.
Susan Sarandon's Roles Ranked by How Much We'd Want to Road Trip with Her
30. Dr. Sarah Roberts in The Hunger. At some point, Sarah becomes a vampire, which would severely limit her road-tripping ability.
29. Jackie Harrison in Stepmom. Jackie is dying of cancer. She should probably be resting someplace. Besides, she'd probably encourage her children to be mean to you.
28. Marmee in Little Women. It's not that Marmee wouldn't be fun on a road trip (though, real talk: she wouldn't), it's just that you'd never actually get her out on the road because there's just too much to do at home.
27. Bebe McBride in The Big Wedding: Bebe married the ex-husband of her best friend. You don't need that business on your road trip. Not to mention the family chaos that will no doubt follow her around.
26. Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Based on the admittedly limited evidence that we've seen, Janet is a total drip when it comes to car travel. Particularly when a little bit of rain starts to fall. In fact, she only really blossoms when the road trip stops.
25-19. There's a whole mishmash of underwitten Sarandon roles where she's stuck either playing The Wife or The Mom (sometimes The Mistress). Whether it's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps or Arbitrage or Alfie, or Moonlight Mile or In the Valley of Elah or Solitary Man or Mr. Woodcock, it's nearly impossible to judge how well any of these women would adapt to a road trip considering they're nearly unidentifiable as real women.
18. Margherita Sarfatti in Cradle Will Rock. Wealthy socialist with money to burn? Sounds like the perfect starting point for your trip.
17. Mimi Slocumb in Igby Goes Down. Mimi's pretty much a nightmare, sure, but she's not boring.
16. Hollie Baylor in Elizabethtown. Look, she just learned how to dance. That could be useful in any number of bars, clubs, taverns, and raves across this great nation of ours. Yes, she's probably trying too hard, but aren't we all?
15. Sally Matthews in Atlantic City. Sally's kind of a downbeat character, and it's tough to imagine her out on the open road. She's just never going to leave Atlantic City.
14. Queen Narissa in Enchanted. Well, she made the trip from the animated fairy-tale world to New York City, didn't she?
13. Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking. One pro is that she doesn't wear any makeup, so she'd be ready to go basically first thing in the morning. She would probably not be down for a whole lot of misbehavior or raising hell, but if you did, she'd forgive you pretty readily.
12. Hattie in Pretty Baby. A New Orleans prostitute in turn-of-the-century New Orleans probably could use a vacation, don't you think? Maybe drive out to a lake house somewhere where she doesn't have to be bothered by johns or her 12-year-old prostitute daughter or anything.
11. Michaela Odone in Lorenzo's Oil. Speaking of women who could use a break from their lives for a week. If you could somehow convince Michaela to leave Augusto in charge, give him the phone numbers of the various research hospitals in case there's an emergency, and hit the road, that'd be a great thing for everybody. The bonus is that your road trip will be essentially indestructible, since any conceivable roadblock, real or metaphorical, would be demolished by Michaela's iron will.
10. Jane Spofford in The Witches of Eastwick. No more flipping through an unfamiliar cable grid on your fuzzy SD motel room cable for you! After a hard day of road-tripping, you and Jane can settle in with a couple bottles of wine, a wax doll of whatever big-rig driver was hogging the road all day, and have a time with him.
9. Grandma Lynn in The Lovely Bones. She's a take-charge woman, for one thing, and she keeps a bottle of booze in her purse for another. Moreover, she is utterly opposed to any kind of moping, or houseboundness really. Leave that tomb of problems you've erected for yourself and speed on away with the windows down.
8. Sharon Thompkins in Jeff Who Lives at Home. One of the best qualities in any road tripper is an eagerness to try new things, and Sharon has that in spades.
7. Reggie Love in The Client. Reggie is kind of the perfect adventure companion. Smart but not isolated about it. Tough but nurturing. Willing to get down into the grit of things. Not afraid to bend the rules if need be. Fearless. All the ingredients that go into taking on the mechanical bull at some roadside saloon in Arizona on your way out west.
6. Mom Racer in Speed Racer. Look, the woman knows her way around a car. It's in her blood. Wherever you're going, odds are you'll get there quickly. And colorfully.
5. Pearl in Tammy. Pearl has her problems, there's no denying it. But she's also kind (sometimes) and loving (once in a while), and she does know how to have fun, when she's not ruining it by being selfish. Honestly, Pearl's best quality is that she's close with her lesbian cousin Lenore, who owns a big-ass house with a lake out back.
4. Annie Savoy in Bull Durham. Pretty much the only kind of road trip Annie would be interested in would be one that tours all the baseball stadiums of the United States. But that sounds like a pretty fun trip, honestly.
3. Lavinia "Vinnie" Kingsley in The Banger Sisters. Provided that you're hitching a ride with the Vinnie who has already been liberated from her suburban existence and is looking to recapture the rocking days of her youth then, yes, Vinnie would be an A+ road-trip companion. She'd be an easy #1 if she could convince Goldie Hawn to tag along with her.
2. Adele August in Anywhere But Here. The downside of this one is that you're not Natalie Portman and you never will be, so you're going to have to live with some degree of disappointment in Adele's eyes when she looks over at you, some small part of her expecting to see Natalie even though she knows that's not possible. But Adele is a fun mom, and hopefully the fact that you're not an easily-embarrassed teenager will help her turn around on you.
1. Louise Sawyer in Thelma & Louise. I mean. No brainer, right? Louise had got a killer convertible, she's incredibly encouraging and supportive, her head-scarf game is utterly on point, she's fond of polaroid selfies, she can throw a drink back, she is fiercely protective of her friends, she is quick and decisive in the moment, and she knows when you've gone well past the point of no return, which is really when all great road trips truly begin. It may well be the last road trip you take, but it'll be worth it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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