Mean Girls

Spider-Man 2

Believe it or not kids, there was once a time when Amanda Seyfried and Rachel McAdams were largely unknown actresses with second billing to Lindsay Lohan, who was considered the most promising star of her generation, when Tom Cruise could star in a movie without Scientology and Oprahgate entering the discussion and when an M. Night Shyamalan film was something to look forward to. If I said that 2004 was the most important summer in filmdom I’d be biased, because that was the first time I started to treat the critical viewing of films as a serious pursuit, so if I said that the films that came out that summer — Anchorman, Shrek 2, and Mean Girls — were like nothing I’d ever seen before, that’s accurate in a way, as I was paying attention to films in a way I hadn’t before. Still, 2004 was an unforgettable summer (if you don’t count the forgettable films like Catwoman and White Chicks). Here were the highlights:

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Brie Larson in Short Term 12

Another month, another batch of recommendations for everyone out there who’s currently adrift in the sea that is the Netflix Watch Instantly menu without a good flick to float on. Click on the films’ titles in order to be taken to their Netflix page and to add them to your queue. Or—sorry—to your “My List.” Pick of the Month:  Short Term 12 (2013) Critics have been talking about Short Term 12 pretty incessantly ever since it started making the festival rounds last year. To the point where some of you who read about movies a lot may be getting sick of hearing about it. There’s a reason why the film keeps getting brought up, though, and that’s because it’s really that good. It’s also the kind of micro-budget movie that absolutely depends on word of mouth in order to get seen. This is the sort of small release that couldn’t even afford to launch an Oscar campaign that would have brought it to the attention of Academy voters, so it wasn’t able to earn buzz through the winning of little golden men, which it arguably deserved a handful of.  The movie, which is from a relatively new filmmaker named Destin Cretton, is set in the world of a residential treatment facility for troubled youth, which means that it’s full of characters whose lives can be mined for quite a bit of drama—and mine them Cretton does. This is one of the rare films that manages to dig way deep into themes […]

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Mean Girls

With his debut feature, Heathers, director Michael Lehmann created a cult hit that’s still earning new fans more than two decades after its release. Heathers stars Winona Ryder as Veronica, the newest and most reluctant member of her high school’s popular clique, the Heathers (referred to as such because the other three members are all named Heather). After falling in with a rebel boy named (hilariously) JD, (Christian Slater), Veronica decides that maybe it’s time somebody takes the Heathers down a peg, and maybe it should be her and her new beau. Things get out of control and murdery after that. The film sticks with audiences because it’s honest and brutal in its portrayal of the social strata of high school and the level of abuse that rolls downhill from the popular kids to the geeks. And it sure doesn’t turn a blind eye to the melancholy and melodrama that comes along with having teenage hormones. It faces the issue of teenage suicide head on and makes sick jokes about it, and it’s just that brand of nihilism that young people respond to most. Mark Waters’ Mean Girls isn’t quite yet a decade old, but already it seems to have faded away much more than Lehmann’s look at high school life. This is strange, because not only does it deal with many of the same concerns as Heathers, but it also comes from a script that was written by Tina Fey. From her work as the head writer on SNL, […]

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In the new movie Pitch Perfect, a boy (Skylar Astin) introduces a girl (Anna Kendrick) to The Breakfast Club. It’s a believable scene, on it’s own. Even if I don’t necessarily think the 27-year-old John Hughes film, classic status notwithstanding, is a hugely important thing to the generation currently heading into college, I can accept that the guy is a movie soundtrack dork who seemingly loves only titles from before his birth and that she genuinely has never seen it. But it is a bit much that the signature Brat Pack film’s ending, with its iconic Simple Minds tune and Judd Nelson freeze-framed fist thrust, is played over and over, and the film figures so prominently into the romantic plot throughout. It all just feels like something from out of the mind of a thirty-something screenwriter rather than that of these modern-day teen characters. And the movie’s writer, Kay Cannon, is indeed a child of the ’80s and admits that The Breakfast Club is something she loves from her youth. Apparently, though, Say Anything was originally the teen movie of that era to be honored and made fun of in the new a-cappella-based comedy. She also is a big fan of Hughes’s Weird Science but couldn’t make it work. But for kids born around 1995, which is the target audience as well as the roles on screen, aren’t there more relevant films to reference? Maybe Mean Girls, Bring It On, Twilight, Rushmore, Juno, High School Musical, Superbad or — going […]

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We love television, but we love movies more. And we love movies a lot more than awards for television. So, why would we watch the 2012 Emmy Awards when we can just watch any number of this year’s nominees in their great film works, a lot of which are streaming on Netflix. Classics that you’ll find from the Watch Instantly service featuring Emmy nominees include Platoon, Fatal Attraction, Reservoir Dogs, Black Hawk Down, The Terminator and plenty others. But I noticed a bunch of recommended titles with the special circumstance of involving two or more Emmy-nominated talents, including a few from the contending directors. Speaking of which, I could have counted Louis C.K.‘s Pootie Tang, but I still haven’t seen it. Maybe that’s what I’ll be watching this evening. Check out the list and links after the jump.

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Despite the obstetrical impossible, Mean Girls has labored to deliver Mean Moms – a follow-up of sorts to the Lindsay Lohan-starring comedy. It also stems from an advice book written by Rosalind Wiseman, and shares a producer in Jill Messick. Plus, the logline in exactly the same, but in reverse: “A happily married mother of two moves from small town America to the high class suburbs and is faced with confronting the cutthroat world of competitive parenting.” Replace bitchy teenage girls with bitchy mothers, and you’ve got a movie. Or it’s close at least. Variety is reporting that New Line has hired writing partners Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (The Vow) to rewrite the current script. It’s also important to note that Kohn and Silverstein have been behind Cubic Zirconia Era rom-coms like He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day (where they earned a story credit). This may be an unfair comparison, especially with that resume, but it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to craft something as sharp and still human as Tina Fey did with Mean Girls. There’s a huge difference between character and caricature, so far this team’s writing doesn’t show that they know that difference. Is there any chance this next project won’t be a movie version of Real Housewives of Wherever?

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We have had precious few comedies of quality made about high school students over the past ten years. Teen comedies used to be a staple of the multiplexes, the places where studios grub money from teens and tweens who have borrowed a twenty-spot from their moms, but they have been all but decimated in recent times by the merciless reign of the generic horror flick. Election came out in 1999, so what good ones did that leave us in the aughts? Only Mean Girls by my estimation. You did like Mean Girls right? Combining a great script from a pre-30 Rock Tina Fey and perhaps the most buxom cast of young actresses ever assembled made it one of my favorite comedies of the decade. One time I watched it with a room full of hung-over college friends mostly in slow motion. It took us about five hours, but it was worth it. Well, Paramount has decided to rob us of our treasured memories by creating a low budget, direct to basic cable/DVD sequel, and unleashing it upon the unsuspecting masses.  Mean Girls 2 debuted Sunday night, January 23rd on ABC Family, and until about 3 PM the next day the term “REGINA GEORGE” was trending on Twitter. Regina George is a character from the first film, played by Rachel McAdams, and one click on the trending topic revealed a steady stream of Twitter users who loved the first film bemoaning a sequel that doesn’t include the character. I can’t imagine […]

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Your daily recommended allowance of random movie stuff, stories that fell through the cracks, and news you can’t use.

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decade_teenmovies

Though they very seldom win awards, the best teen movies usually compel repeat viewings and somehow seem to intuit the needs and tastes of generations to come. Here are 15 of the decade’s most memorable explorations of all the intrinsic charms and traumas of teendom.

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Kevin asks the folks planning this God-forsaken Heathers TV remake: Did they have a brain tumor for breakfast?

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