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CameronH

Musical Mondays Week 39 Josie and the Pussycats

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I CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT I AM READING HERE Y'ALL

 

Jk in all honesty I do understand why this doesn't hit with certain people. Especially since I was 11 when this came out and was exactly the person this movie was targeted to. My best friend at the time and I both dressed up as Melody for Halloween that year and I owned not just one but two pairs of cat headbands (one was the legit ones they wear and the other the heavily marketed one you could get at Target after the movie came out). So to say I ate this shit up is an understatement. But even as an adult I love this for it's subtle comedy moments that I didn't get as a kid.

 

While I understand what you mean about Avril Lavinge like music, I still think we need to look at this through the 2001 pop-punk lens so I think it's a little unfair to say that just because this was music made for a movie and some may not have enjoyed the sound that it is less genuine than the music of DuJour. Also, we have to look at it through the lens of the story where these three girls are working their asses off, writing their own music, and have songs that they like, and in that sense they are more genuine no matter what kind of music they are playing. Obviously I still want to defend this really bad because even in 2018 I have a lot of these songs on my rotation (Pretend to Be Nice is a god damn jam and I will not hear otherwise) and to be honest I think this just comes down to musical preference more than anything.

 

Alan Cumming is legit the winner of this movie, but I think Parker leaning into the ridiculousness of it is actually perfect. If she wasn't acting like she was in a sketch I don't think I would have liked her performance as much as I do.

All of this (except I saw this in my late 20s years after out came out).

 

Putting this in context, this movie predates Avril Lavigne. This is around the time bands like Blink 182 were at their peak. Say what you want about pop punk bands because I'm extremely not a fan of the genre. I'm sure manufactured pop punk exists but I wouldn't argue a band like Blink 182 (because I'm having trouble naming another pop punk band) is inauthentic. At least not in the same sense that boy bands are.

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This movie came out when I was in college and had nothing but time, so I would see literally anything. I'd go down to the local multiplex and see whatever was playing next, then hop over to whatever started soonest after that ended.

 

I didn't expect much after hopping into Josie and the Pussycats, so I was also very surprised to find the movie enjoyable. I dug the music (if you just don't like pop-punk, okay, but I think it's good pop-punk), and the humor was shockingly trenchant for a movie done in this style. I do think a lot of critics were thrown off by the surface style: the "look" of the movie conditions you to think it's going to be something desperately earnest (like Bratz), but functionally it's a straight-up satire of consumerism.

 

Some have brought up the question of whether or not they should have used real company logos. I think it doesn't land as well if the movie has fake ads for fake companies, especially they way they do it here, plastering gigantic logos over everything. They're counting on the "twist" of seeing something familiar in a ridiculous context; if it's not familiar, you don't get the same laugh of recognition.

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All of this (except I saw this in my late 20s years after out came out).

 

Putting this in context, this movie predates Avril Lavigne. This is around the time bands like Blink 182 were at their peak. Say what you want about pop punk bands because I'm extremely not a fan of the genre. I wouldn't argue a band like Blink 182 is inauthentic. At least not in the same sense that boy bands are.

Yeah, also I think the market was starved for female centric bands that weren't solely pop. Obviously there were indie bands at the time and other female led bands left over from the 90s, but none of them were really getting as much air time as their pop counterparts. For example - I know Sleater-Kinney released an album in 2002 but that wasn't getting any plays, even on the rock stations, here in Dallas at the time. It wasn't really until 2004 or 2005 that I genuinely remember female led rock bands getting airtime. I believe it was even around that time that No Doubt's music style changed from alternative rock to pop-punk so it shows a lot more about the era than I think anything else.

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As I was watching this movie I couldn't help think about how very 2001 it is. Like the casting was dead on. You have Brekin Meyer and Donald Faison from Clueless, Brekin Meyer and Paul Costanzo from Road Trip, Seth Green and Alexder Martin of Can't Hardly Wait, Rachel Leigh Cook from She's All That, and Tara Reid from American Pie. It's like they took a who's who of late 90s teen comedies and cast them all. Heck you could even argue Alan Cummings was in Spice World around that time as well. I found it very nostalgic. I wonder if ten years from now that's how will we feel when we look back and see all the Apatow regulars together in something. I guess every generation has their core teen comedy actors.

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I totally get that. I mean, I love Captain Ron. I shouldn’t, but I do. ;)

I'll defend Captain Ron with you.

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I actually think Rachael Leigh Cook is an underrated actress who just kind of got lost after she became a "Teen" sensation in this era of movies, so seeing her starring in something was fun.

 

When she turned 'evil' for like a scene, I really wished she had played a villain in some movie during that time. I believe (and I could be wrong) she was always the 'girl-next-door' type in her movies, but she clearly could have played darker. She's one of those actresses I always like but kind of forget about.

 

All of this (except I saw this in my late 20s years after out came out).

 

I was a freshman in high school - I was the perfect age for this. Also, this movie brought back a lot of fashion memories - the obscene amount of glitter, the half/banana style shirts, those eye gem things Josie's wears, I'm pretty sure I unsuccessfully attempted all of them at some point. Even the leopard print in pink/blue/purple I remember being a thing for a while. I wonder which came first.

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I was a freshman in high school - I was the perfect age for this. Also, this movie brought back a lot of fashion memories - the obscene amount of glitter, the half/banana style shirts, those eye gem things Josie's wears, I'm pretty sure I unsuccessfully attempted all of them at some point. Even the leopard print in pink/blue/purple I remember being a thing for a while. I wonder which came first.

 

Does anyone remember dELiA*s?

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I also thought all the ads were paid for, but I also thought you legitimately couldn't use any products in TV or movies if there wasn't some kind of agreement. Why else would there be so many things where people use a computer with a pear on it rather than an apple. So I always figured that McDonald's and Target were in on this action from the get go... and now I'm wondering if there was any backlash for it by the companies. It certainly doesn't paint corporations in a great light since they all seem part of the problem.

 

There’s the reason that sometimes they need to obtain licensing to show a product, which costs money, so it’s a way to bypass that. But also, sometimes its because the show/movie doesn’t want to give free advertising to a product.

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Does anyone remember dELiA*s?

I used to collect the catalogs simply because they would put legit poetry at the bottom of every page. Made me feel super deep when I would quote fucking dELiA*s and no one else would get it.

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Yeah, also I think the market was starved for female centric bands that weren't solely pop. Obviously there were indie bands at the time and other female led bands left over from the 90s, but none of them were really getting as much air time as their pop counterparts. For example - I know Sleater-Kinney released an album in 2002 but that wasn't getting any plays, even on the rock stations, here in Dallas at the time. It wasn't really until 2004 or 2005 that I genuinely remember female led rock bands getting airtime. I believe it was even around that time that No Doubt's music style changed from alternative rock to pop-punk so it shows a lot more about the era than I think anything else.

 

They got the singer from Letters to Cleo to sing as "Josie" in the movie, which seems pretty legit to me. I'm sure Ben Wyatt would agree!

 

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They got the singer from Letters to Cleo to sing as "Josie" in the movie, which seems pretty legit to me. I'm sure Ben Wyatt would agree!

 

tumblr_n4m4aijmz61qaedvuo6_r1_250_zpsfe6f07f8.gif

 

Omg no wonder the songs reminded me of Letter to Cleo. I can’t believe I never knew that.

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Does anyone remember dELiA*s?

I used to work at dELiA*s Brothers, AKA Big Boy.

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But the music though just reminded me of the Avril Lavigne-brand of pop punk that still irks me like fish hooks scraping my ear drums. So for me, seeing a satire of Du Jour as a prefabricated boy band, then presenting the Pussycats as "real," genuine musicians with integrity to be manipulated by Evil Executives seemed pretty disingenuous from the get-go.

 

I agree. I actually like pop-punk, but not all pop punk is created equal, y’know?

 

You have bands like The Mr T Experience, Screeching Weasel, and Pansy Division - who were kind of underground - you have your Green Days and Blink 182s - who were inspired by those bands, came up from the underground, and became commercially successful - and you have your bands that existed *because* of Green Day and Blink 182s success. I’m talking bands like, SR-71, New Found Glory, and Lit. It’s not that they’re “bad” or “fake” exactly, but more that they were formed to capitalize on the pop-punk fad.

 

Josie definitely falls into the SR-71 group. It’s overly produced pap, that’s, at best, pretend edgy. Of course, that’s kind of perfect for this type of movie, but it’s also puts it out of reach of something I’m interested in.

 

This is going to take two posts, but this is kind of what I’m talking about:

 

 

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As I was watching this movie I couldn't help think about how very 2001 it is. Like the casting was dead on. You have Brekin Meyer and Donald Faison from Clueless, Brekin Meyer and Paul Costanzo from Road Trip, Seth Green and Alexder Martin of Can't Hardly Wait, Rachel Leigh Cook from She's All That, and Tara Reid from American Pie. It's like they took a who's who of late 90s teen comedies and cast them all. Heck you could even argue Alan Cummings was in Spice World around that time as well. I found it very nostalgic.

Not to mention Parker Posey and Eugene Levy from all the Christopher Guest movies that had their heyday around that time (they even made fun Levy's odd turn-of-the-millennium fame). I only wish they could have found a bit part for Catherine O'Hara.

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Cameron H has turned this board into a Van's Warped Tour time capsule.

 

skanking_by_sicnarf1.gif

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When she turned 'evil' for like a scene, I really wished she had played a villain in some movie during that time. I believe (and I could be wrong) she was always the 'girl-next-door' type in her movies, but she clearly could have played darker. She's one of those actresses I always like but kind of forget about.

 

She played a FANTASTIC villain in one of my favorite movies of all time.

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Edit: if you don't know this is from Dazed and Confused which is FUCKING awesome. Is this eligible for Musical Mondays??

 

Edit: Sorry SaraK - I misread your quote.

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Not to mention Parker Posey and Eugene Levy from all the Christopher Guest movies that had their heyday around that time (they even made fun Levy's odd turn-of-the-millennium fame). I only wish they could have found a bit part for Catherine O'Hara.

My favorite Parker Posey role is in The House of Yes (1997). She was perfect as Jackie.

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Is this eligible for Musical Mondays??

No one sings in it so I am assuming no.

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Not to mention Parker Posey and Eugene Levy from all the Christopher Guest movies that had their heyday around that time (they even made fun Levy's odd turn-of-the-millennium fame). I only wish they could have found a bit part for Catherine O'Hara.

This reminds me that Eugene Levy being one of the most Canadian people being used to promote American consumerism before he says "God Bless America" is also a moment that still cracks me up.

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Ah shit, it's a public holiday here in Canada so I have been doing family stuff all weekend and missed the start of the chat. I can completely understand both sides of the hated it/loved it fence. I remember liking it when it came out, and was happy to revisit this week, but found myself tuning out more than I expected. Three Small Words, shitty pop-punk or no, is still a song that gets my head nodding, all these years later.

 

I feel so old with Taylor saying she saw this at 11.

 

I also completely agree with CamB about the era-specific casting: the main one I point to is Paulo Costanzo, who is from Toronto and had a very large role in Road Trip, so much so that I thought he was on his way to being a big star, but then just wound up being such a niche guy that he was quickly annoying. He's done stuff since but I don't know if we'll see big things from him again.

 

I also agree with the notes on the OTT performances from Cumming and Posey: I'm just not sure whether this subject matter could have borne anything different, you know? Like, a movie about Josie and the Pussycats without any reference to the rest of the Archieverse (I assume that's a thing) can't stand on its own as a serious thing. It has to be ridiculous and overwrought.

 

And I'm not sure I agree that Josie is being positioned as being more talented than Du Jour, just more principled. Nowhere are they saying their music is better - they are literally signed and marketed before Cumming has even heard a note they've sung!

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Josie definitely falls into the SR-71 group. It’s overly produced pap, that’s, at best, pretend edgy. Of course, that’s kind of perfect for this type of movie, but it’s also puts it out of reach of something I’m interested in.

Okay, but I don't think that Josie and the Pussycats are at all trying to pretend to be edgy. Their songs are all about love and having boyfriends that are too disinterested in the relationships they're currently in. I will give you that their sound is definitely more in the vibe of the last set of musicians that you mentioned, but I'll say again that in 2001 that's what we were at in terms of sound. In the story I'm not even really sure if we're supposed to consider them "edgy." The girl in the music store that is a "free thinker" is what I think we're supposed to consider edgy but J&TP seem just more like they like what they like and they write songs about what they know. I mean we see them all working like 3 jobs and volunteering at food banks and animal shelters. That's not exactly the punk life lol.

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And I'm not sure I agree that Josie is being positioned as being more talented than Du Jour, just more principled. Nowhere are they saying their music is better - they are literally signed and marketed before Cumming has even heard a note they've sung!

I don't think any of us said talented, but rather genuine. It's a thing we see in real life all the time that bands that play their instruments are positioned in a better light overall than bands like N*SYNC or One Direction. They're accused of being nothing more than marketing ploys by studios, which may be true, but that shouldn't take away from the talent the singers actually have. Justin Timberlake nor Harry Styles would still have careers if they couldn't actually perform or write.

 

Also, I'm sorry about making you feel old lmao.

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I'm with TTL on this... at what point does product placement stop being commentary and just become... product placement?

I mean - Val had the fucking Target Dog on her bed.

 

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That's really specific current (to 2001) marketing for Target.

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