Citizen Dame 5: Quintessentially Karen Films

As we’ve done with both Kristen and Lauren, it’s another Dame’s birthday and we’re honoring them with a look at the movies that are “quintessentially” them. In this case, our own Karen Peterson is having a birthday. (We won’t disclose her age but she always mocks Kristen’s “generation” so there’s that.) Here are the movies that, whether she loves them or not, make us think of her.

Kristen’s 5:

I don’t have a ton of commentary for the films I’ve included below, but I can say Karen Peterson is one of my bestest friends. (She’s probably raising her eyebrows at that statement, but it’s true!) So happy birthday, Karen Peterson. May Xenu bless you with Tom Cruise in all his glory!

Jerry Maguire (1996)

If I know anything about Karen, and I’d like to think I know her pretty well, it’s that Jerry Maguire is her favorite of all the movies starring Mr. Thomas Cruise. (I know she’d correct me and give me his full Christian name but I don’t care so that’s what he’s getting called.) I have a love/hate relationship with Cameron Crowe and Jerry Maguire has its host of problems, but Karen loves it. I blame it all on the foppish Tom Cruise 1996 hair.

Phantom Thread (2017)

I’ve yet to see Phantom Thread but all I need to know is “Reynolds Woodcock is an asshole.” I’m pinning that on a sampler, Karen.

Top Gun (1986)

One time, Karen Peterson referred to me as her Goose from Top Gun….it was awesome!

On the Basis of Sex (2018)

I’m always going to be the resident Armie Hammer stan, but I’m willing to share him for Karen’s birthday. That being said, watching On the Basis of Sex with her at last year’s AFI Fest was great, if only because I got to be there when Karen realized what I knew all along, that Armie Hammer is a god among men!

First Reformed (2018)

I know Karen and Lauren both hate this, but considering we spent two whole episodes talking about the places where Karen Peterson sluts it up, including church, it just made sense.

Karen’s 5

I love my Dames! Thanks, ladies! But I do need to clarify that I HAVE seen The Social Network. I vowed to never watch it again. But here are a few that I have watched more than 10 times. Okay, fine, more than 20.

Star Wars

Star Wars (1977)

Yes, I’m calling it by its rightful name. Because that is how I watched it as a kid. And I watched this so many times as a kid. And a teenager. And an adult. Star Wars explains exactly why I am the way I am. What can I say?

Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Yes, Thomas Cruise Mapother IV is my One True Love. And this is his very best movie. It is perfect. Although it’s kind of sad that out of five of the major actors in this movie, one of the three that now has an Oscar is NOT my Tom. (Congratulations, Regina King!)

When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Nora Ephron’s perfect dialogue gives us one of the greatest lines in all of film history when Billy Crystal tells a teary-eyed Meg Ryan, “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” The one and only time Billy Crystal ever made me swoon.


The Sound of Music (1965)

My mom and I cannot watch this movie without singing every note of every song.


Scream (1995)

There are so many great horror films. Scream was the one that helped me conquer my fear of them. It’s funny, but also intense, with some whodunnit mystery. It’s bloody and violent and pays homage to many of the classics. To this day, I still discover horror movie references I’ve never noticed before.

Lauren’s 5

Karen’s the one who loves Tom Cruise, right?


Tropic Thunder (2008)

OK, yes, we all know that Karen loves Tom Cruise, and this film contains Tom Cruise at his sexiest. I mean, he dances. He swears. He has an abnormal amount of body hair. Wow.


The Social Network (2010)

I know that Karen has thus far refused to watch this movie, but now that she’s accepted Armie Hammer into her life, it’s only a matter of time. I mean…there are two Armie Hammers in this!


All the Mission: Impossible films (1996-whenever Tom Cruise falls off a skyscraper)

OK, I’ll stop trolling. To be honest, Karen’s adoration of Tom Cruise means that every time I hear about a Mission: Impossible film in any capacity, I immediately go, “Oh, Karen would love this.” So, yeah. We know these films are made specifically for her.


Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)

Female Ghostheads represent! I’m so pleased that Karen loves this film as much as I do – perhaps even more.


On the Basis of Sex (2018)

I think each of us included this on our lists! We all enjoyed this film, but I feel like Karen knows it better and is more passionate about it than all of us. She knows things, as evidenced by our minisode discussion, and, what’s more, she’s discovered the glory of Armie Hammer in an apron.

Kimberly’s 5:

We love you, Karen! Have a happy birthday! Here’s to many more good years of “sluttin’ it up!”.

Top Gun (1986)

Tom Cruise looking as good as he’s ever looked. Val Kilmer looking almost as good as he’s ever looked. Air Force uniforms. Sweaty beach volleyball. Danger zone!?!  Dare I go on?


Swing Kids (1993)

Because, darling Karen is the only person I’ve met whose been able to echo my love for this movie. I mean, Christian Bale? Swing dancing? 1930s clothes? *Swoon*. Well, that’s me, but I’m sure Karen’s thoughts would echo that.


The Conjuring (2013)

There are a few other movies to showcase the glory that is Patrick Wilson, but… look at that suit. We all know Karen’s fondness for Patrick Wilson… hell… I too have loved him since his Broadway days. I’d be remiss if he didn’t jump onto this list somewhere. I wanted to put The Phantom of the Opera, but that hair. Oh, that hair. Yikes.

On the Basis of Sex (2018)

This movie represents an important milestone in Citizen Dame history… Karen’s Armie Hammer awakening. This is the moment she finally joined us on the thirsty bandwagon. I mean sure, this movie brings a strong and tenacious performance by Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg through the lens of a female director (Mimi Leder! I pronounced it right, Karen!). However, what really matters is Armie Hammer cooks, supports his wife and really is the sexiest example of #DadGoals.


The Social Network (2010)

Okay, this film is a point-of-contention… she’s vowed never to watch it. However, it is her favorite film… she just doesn’t know it yet. Double the Armie Hammer, double the fun.



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