On the day you’re reading this (assuming you’re reading it the day it came out or the anniversary of the day it came out) it is my birthday! So of all the things I could do to think to celebrate I wanted to watch my favorite film.
Mean Girls is a neigh-flawless film. Follow Cady, a new student to a high school, must navigate the trials, tribulations, and friendships of high school. This is harder than she realizes when she falls in with the popular girls, the Plastics, and must find out what is truly real and what is just for show in the student-eat-student world of public high school.
It might seem odd having this be my favorite film. For one I didn’t come to this film until college. For another it is considered a “teenage chick-flick.” Third, and finally it has Lindsay Lohan in it. None of these are necessarily bad traits, instead they are often symptoms of bad movies (maybe the college factor less so, but it’s an older film that I just didn’t experience until relatively later in life). This film instead uses those elements to their fullest.
For being my favorite film, even as it is well respected in its genre, is not a masterclass in filmic work. It didn’t define a generation like Kane, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Jaws. It didn’t fill the zeitgeist with a whole new outlook on the world like The Matrix, and it’s not an intrenched classic like The Godfather, Forrest Gump, Toy Story. It’s just a teen comedy about a girl finding her place in high school. It uses incredibly standard filmic techniques to the absolute fullest. Every shot, though utterly normal, brims with life, color, and personality. When it does spice up the film with transitions, montage, or go big by using wide angle lenses they go hard. It gives the film a bigger impression than it really has. The school chaos scene still looks insanely good and complicated to have shot (also it seems like a point of inspiration for the final brawl in Cobra Kai season two).
Much of the film works, though, because it is a satire of high school comedies. Not a parody, but instead takes what seems like a relatively normal high school and ramp up the insanity by escalating petty drama with outrageous stakes. Having a friend go after your crush to be mean leading to a fight at the school because you made her fat and turned her friends against her with ease is all way too complicated for normal high school teenagers. On top of that, the terrible sex ed cutaways, commentary on teachers working extra jobs, and thin vineer of respectability that stops us from going fully primal is all talked about. Included in this is the incredible setup and payoffs the move has. So much of the early film is seameslessly integrated back in for either a good joke or emotional gut punch, or usually both.
This not even mentioning how uproariously quick, funny, and instantly quotable the film is. Every character has a solid voice and given strong lines to reinforce that and often an arc all woven in through dialogue. This is shown in how some aspects are both oddly progressive and poorly aged.
On one hand the side characters and student body is incredibly diverse even if it does fall into some stereotypes for comedy. They also use lots of words that no longer fly. The “R” and “Q” words being top among them. What separates it though is how only the characters we are against use them. Regina and the Plastics use them. Cady starts to use them more when she transitions into being plastic, and she stops using them when she reaches the end of her arc. She’s learned her lesson and that’s shown in how she speaks. In how most everyone speaks and behaves.
Inspite (maybe despite, i don’t know), or maybe because of that it makes the empowering message about lifting people up hit all that harder. Being different is what makes us special and is important to celebrate. It says that everyone has something about them that makes them better and not to get caught up chasing trends because of shallow popularity.
Some, if not all, of this seems obvious to anyone that’s watched the film. It is deeper than it looks but not pretentious. It is a good time. You watch it cause it is a really funny movie that gets more and more dated as the years pass. But being dated doesn’t mean it’s not relavent. Being glossied up in pinks and sparkles doesn’t mean it’s girly and fake. It can look plastic but be real. It’s more than just a film. It’s a good time, and that’s what movies should be.
I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!
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