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Entries in High School Movies (27)

Tuesday
May062014

Hot Docs '14: Beyond Clueless, The Secret Trial 5

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting on The Hot Docs Film Festival which wrapped Sunday. Reviews will continue this week.] 

In the history of cinema, there are few genres that receive as little acclaim or critical analysis as the high school film does. British critic Charlie Lyne's (of Ultra Culture blog fame) visual essay is therefore a treasure for enthusiasts of recent film history. In Beyond Clueless, he examines teenage characters in a wide variety of films produced between 1996 and 2004. Little of the titular film is shown, though its influence over the films that came after it looms large. From The Craft to Mean Girls, from The Faculty to Rules of Attraction, via Spider-man, Final Destination and everything in between, the high school student is analyzed through the tumultuous process of entering that period of adolescence and exiting it unscathed and transformed.

Beyond Clueless itself takes on the narrative arc of a teen movie. Divided in five chapters that are designed to embody the high school experience, it begins with ‘Fitting In’ and ends with ‘Moving On.’ No new material is added to the clips taken from the films discussed, but crucially, the lengthy essay is narrated by Fairuza Balk, star of The Craft, whose somber but familiar voice instills the film a teen personality of its own. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr302014

"I know what you're thinking: Home schooled kids are freaks!"

[Our Mean Girls week concludes with a really fresh angle I think you'll love. Here's Tim on being a home schooled freak. - Nathaniel R]

Tim here. I can't tell you how many times I, a perpetually overweight, underemployed, thirtysomething male, have looked at Lindsay Lohan and thought to myself gosh, she's just like me! But I can tell you the time it struck closest to home was when I first peered into Mean Girls a decade ago. Look at any appreciation, vintage or current, like the ones we have going for our Mean Girls Week, and you're going to encounter the sentiment that the film understands deep and universal truths about the public high school experience, but the kinship I feel with Lohan's Cady Heron is of an entirely different sort - the exact opposite, in fact.

Mean Girls, after all, isn't just a movie about any old bright teenager entering a new school and being partially devoured by the social order she finds there: it's about a bright teenager who has spent her life to that point being home schooled, thrust for the first time into a world full of people her own age. And like Cady, I spent my share of time being home schooled, though it wasn't because my parents were awesome zoologists who took me with them for a decade-plus research trip in Africa (it wasn't for fringe religious reasons either, I want to make that very clear). And unlike Cady, I never did get to experience the magical horror show of American high school. But I did get to have that same brutal, abrupt shift from being essentially solitary, driven only by my own sense of discipline, to be thrown into a terrifying world of people and schedules when college and dorms came upon me. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr282014

Podcast: Mean Girls Commentary, Two Parts

You own a copy of Mean Girls (2004), right?

Pull it off the shelf, rent it or Netflix Instant it (it expires May 1st!) so you can watch as you listen to this podcast. In this very special 10th anniversary celebration, Nathaniel R (The Film Experience) and Joe Reid (The Wire) return to North Shore High to watch Mean Girls together and provide you with our very own DVD commentary track. If you don't watch while you listen we'll sound like mad men giggling out of context or merely like we're too gay to function.

We discuss everything: performance, writing, costumes, set design, scoring and even casting that almost was -- it would have been such a different film. We also talk the reliable time capsule worthiness of the high school comedy film genre and tangents occur. Due to file sizes and the 97 minutes of running time, I can't embed both parts here in the post but you can download the 2 part conversation on iTunes. Or, if you don't have iTunes, both parts are here on the podcast upload page

Joe and I would really love you to continue the conversation in the comments. (Katey and Nick couldn't attend. But they love Ladysmith Black Mambazo!)

Articles referenced in The Podcast
Mean Girls Cast power rankings
Hit Me With Your Best Shot 
'let me tell you something about Lindsay Lohan' 
IndieWire: Daniel Franzese's coming out letter 
The Map of North Shore High's Cafeteria

Friday
Apr252014

Mean Girls: 1) Choose Your Seat and 2) Scribble in the Burn Book

Mean Girls Anniversary Week 

Two comment party questions for you this lovely Friday.

click for a larger view in new window

THE CAFETERIA
I love how detailed the North Shore High's social structure is and that Janis & Damian ('the coolest people you will ever meet') make a map for Cady.

1. Was your High School as regimented? And which table would we have found you sitting at? My table was more "the brains" but I don't see that here so I definitely would have been with seated at either of the "Band Geek" tables (all my friends were in band), sexually active and otherwise. 

THE BURN BOOK

it seems kind of unsanitary to leave lip prints all over a book.

2. What would people have written about you in high school? Or were you one of the mean girls who did the writing? 

JANIS: What does it say about me?
CADY: You weren't in it.
JANIS: Those bitches! 

Monday
Mar312014

"monday morning, you're history"

Happy 25th birthday this very day to the daring, hilarious, and utterly classic Heathers (1989). It's one of the greatest high school movies of all time and the most shamelessly ripped off. (See also: Mean Girls, classic in its own right don't get me wrong but the debt it owes cannot be overstated. It's "very". My guess is Tina Fey (who was 18 when it came out) must've watched it a million times.

Growing up this was the bit my friends and I quoted all the f***ing time.

Heather: You stupid fuck

Veronica: You goddamn bitch 

Heather: You were nothing before you met me. You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn. You were a bluebird. You were a brownie. You were a girl scout cookie. 

I got you into a Remington party. What's my thanks? It's on the hallway carpet. I got paid in puke.

Veronica: Lick it up, baby. Lick it up.

[Great Moments in Screen Bitchery #9, Winona Ryder in Heathers]

 

While we're on the topic of Heathers, I'll report on the new Off Broadway musical tonight but I have two questions for you in the comments.

1. What lines have you quoted most often?

2. Which Oscar nominations do you think it was robbed of (since Oscar don't touch high school comedies). I am very serious when I say I would have nominated it for three that year: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress. But 1989 is one of the years where Oscar and I have been least sympatico - none of the Best Picture nominees even made my top ten list. (If you're curious to know my top tens from years past there's a pull down menu up at the top of the blog)