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Mean Girls

Mean Girls?  

9 members have voted

  1. 1. Does it get to stick around?

    • Mean Girls is so fetch
    • Mean Girls can't sit with us

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Paul & Amy are obsessed with 2004's teenage clique comedy Mean Girls! They approach the film as a work of anthropology, praise Amanda Seyfried's performance, and ask how this pre-social media movie became so heavily GIF'd. 

Plus: Mark Waters talks about how it feels to have directed a modern sleepover classic.

This is the first episode of our first miniseries of Season 2, Back To School; next week's film is Stand and Deliver!

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Hey, I love the new theme song. A refreshed version of the original but that feels more modern, with hints of everything in between: nostalgia (E.T., Stranger Things); adventure, fantasy. Loved it.

About Mean Girls. I really love the film and its my generations High School movie, as I was in High School when it came out. We still reference and quote it all the time with my friends and its a part of our joint memory of going to see it together, rewatching it at someone's house, etc.

I really like Tina Fey's humor and I would love to read the R-rated version of the script. I hope it's out there online.

I love that you started second season with it cause it gives us a glimpse on what to expect for Season 2. Like, I know the film is beloved but it should get more recognition.

I agree that the script is very grounded while being funny. That, along with the direction make it feal very real.

I love how even the secondary characters and extras are not plain extras. They have a personality, even if they appear for a scene or two, we almost know who they are. I like that they appear in the background at school all the time, they're there at a party, they run into each other at the mall... The school world seems more real and authentic for it.

I really love some of the choices Mark Waters made. I think its understated but he has a really good eye and directorial instinct. The school cafeteria tour scene and the telephone scenes for me are standouts. Glad they mentioned the phone scenes and how he filmed them cause I always go back to them to see the pacing, how the camera is always moving, how the editing mixes perfectly between middle shots and close ups, music score is also great there. Sounds like a simple scene but there's something really cool about it.

Lastly, I think that all the actors did a really good job and I love all the characters but Rachel McAdams knocks it out of the park. I think her Regina George is the best high school popular girl ever, and here's why:

- She's like no other, she's not like other generic high school mean girl in other movies. She doesn't have to do the sassy comebacks, she doesn't do the neck and finger movements all of the oher actresses seem to be doing when channeling the mean/popular girl or the I'm always annoyed resting-bitch-face. She goes for something completely original. She channels it differently and has fun with it.

- Regina's also written differently. She's not hated. She's beloved and admired by the other girls in school. Even if she's mean and conniving, she doesn't show it. She pulls the strings behind the curtain and kind of plays around ("so you agree, you think you're very pretty" rapidly changes the subject). She is nice to people in school (the "I love your skirt" line) even if she doesn't mean it. She's not completely a villan. She's flawed, she's tridimensional. And no other highschool movie does that with the "villain". That's why she has stood the test of time for me.

I've never seen the musical but I've seen clips and even though the girl (or girls) playing Regina are super talented and great singers (and I like the rocky-diabolical Regina's theme) I feel like they changed the essence of Rachel McAdams version. I know they have to keep it fresh and they have other takes on the character but they seem to have gotten back to the "bithchy attitude, annoyed face, neck moving, finger lifting" generic arsenal of mean girl sassiness all other actresses do.

Or maybe its me, I've always hated the take on some other actresses cause it seems to be cut from the same clothes.

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I'm baffled at Paul's claims that the characters aren't wealthy (the audio clip in the episode has them discuss Gretchen's family's wealth, and Regina's enormous house is marvelled at by Cady), or that the performances are "grounded" given how ridiculously broad Amanda Seyfried's is (that's not a complaint, the movie was going more for comedy than realism). Maybe he has an entirely different idea of what "grounded" means. The giant free-for-all brawl that breaks out is not attempting to be "realistic", it's textbook "heightened".

The term "Karen" is not used to mean "crazy" but "entitled" or "bitch". People who use it want to present themselves as "punching up", typically by highlighting how the "Karen" is white/middle-class.

I don't think we can assume Lindsay Lohan has behaved a certain way BECAUSE of people talking about her. There's a lot less attention paid to her nowadays, but as far as I know that hasn't changed her behavior.

Rather than saying it's "not just a lover story", I'd see it's not really a love story at all. At best there's an infatuation subplot. And one way in which he's not "perfect" is that he's perfectly aware that Regina is awful to other people, but he's fine with taking her back as long as she's not awful to HIM. I don't know why Paul used Breakfast Club as a counterexample where relationships are more important, because that's a genuine ensemble film without a single protagonist and nobody has dating as a major motivation (it takes place during a single day where they can't go anywhere and are just stuck together). I haven't seen Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles, but my impression is that dating is more central to those.

I'm with Anthony Lane: I would also rather see a movie about the teachers (and not just because some are played by SNL alums). Teenagers typically have neither of the factors in the saying "With great power comes great responsibility". This makes their lives an uninteresting wait until adulthood. Exceptions are movies like Winter's Bone where the teen must take on adult responsibilities. Admittedly, I only saw this now and not when I was in highschool and the film originally came out, but I didn't care for teen stories then and was thus never really the target audience.

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It's a "no" vote from me, but that shouldn't be confused with a dislike of the movie. I like it very much. I'm just not sure it's one that needs to be preserved for all time in the space capsule.

I agree with a lot of the praiseworthy elements talked about in the episode: the jokes are very sharp, the lead actresses are all great, it's very memeable and rewatchable. I think the thing that keeps it from "all-time classic" status for me is that it's also a bit didactic and literal in its delivery of themes. It's a script that has characters explain directly to the audience what the movie is about (at one point it's Fey herself doing it). Yes, that's all done with amusing jokes, so it's not a big drag or anything, but I think there are better ways to allow the audience to receive the same messages strictly through the drama and not have to explain it within the text.

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I did join the Spoolies FB group to see what the group was like, so I won’t vote again here because that seems unfair. I enjoyed the movie but I didn’t vote for it because there are so many high school movies and this one didn’t have the emotional resonance—for me—that other movies like Fast Times, The Spectacular Now, Booksmart,  or several others have had.

Also, I have a question about how the new list is being compiled. Doesn’t it seem really premature by starting the list off by deciding what should DEFINITELY be on it? A)we don’t know what other movies we’ll be talking about (besides the back-to-school ones) so it’s difficult to have any perspective, b) it seems like we should come up with a rough draft of a list and then vote. Perhaps  Amy and Paul are intending it to be a rough draft, but I’m unclear on what the guidelines are. I would be more inclined to vote for something like Mean Girls as a candidate for the list than as something that HAS to be included from the jump.

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I voted no. It was my first time seeing the film and I thought it was fine. None of the gags really did much for me, but that might be an effect of seeing so much of this style of humor already, specifically from Fey; I felt like I had seen all these jokes a million times before. The film also does that Tina Fey thing of using some stereotypes and tropes ironically while at the same time unironically reinforcing others. Some of that stuff just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I thought the acting was pretty strong overall, especially among Lohan and the Mean Girls. They all had good comedic timing, just the material was mostly bland.

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5 hours ago, GrahamS. said:

I did join the Spoolies FB group to see what the group was like, so I won’t vote again here because that seems unfair.

Yea, I guess we can stop with that. This here is just a little extra discussion thread with a smaller group of Unspooled fans than the 'talk about every movie ever' FB group.

I really like Mean Girls a lot, it pretty fun. I could nitpick a few things here and there, but I generally think it's very high quality. I voted no though, because I have a very high bar for this Unspooled List of Greatness. As much I'd love for Tina Fey to be on there...

5 hours ago, GrahamS. said:

Also, I have a question about how the new list is being compiled.

My guess is this will become a little clearer as we go, as they develop what they're doing. Right now I think it's pretty basic. "Is the movie great enough to send to aliens?" seems to be where they're at with it right now at the start haha. But I do think voting/deciding may also be better served if we vote after discussing the other School movies. If we watch these other 6 notable School movies and Mean Girls blows them all away... I may want to change my vote. 

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So is this another "The Canon"? because we already have alot of that. What I liked about that pod was when it was two film critics getting into more detail while having different views. I love Paul but if this is "The canon" with Amy and a person that is not going to challenge her, then I'm kind of bummed. It has always kind of been that but the conversation around what white dudes have deemed worthy of some higher historical praise and then pushed it hard on the rest of the country, is an interesting topic, I would like something more structured. 


Mean Girls is good, I would like to have seen a version directed by David Wain 

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