So, Mean Girls is trashing its competition over in the best high school movie poll. My vote went to Heathers , my generation's spin on the same social truth. In point of fact, I love both films. I figured Mean Girls would do well given that it's both recent and excellent. That's a winning combination for polling. Though the screenplay has been justly lauded, the movie also benefits highly from two killer star turns. First there's the Golden Globe nomination worthy lead work from Lindsay Lohan *sigh.* This will sadly prove to be her peak. I've finally accepted it. Girlfriend just didn't acclimate well to her success. Too young perhaps or maybe fatally lacking in Jodie Foster or Evan Rachel Wood levels of gray matter needed to process it all? I don't know. But shut up and let me grieve in peace.
The second star turn of note comes from the always superb Rachel McAdams (Bronze Medalist in my 2004 Awards for "Best Villain") as the bitchtastic Regina George. I've been giggling lately about her shirt "a little bit dramatic." It's one of many great costuming choices made in the movie and it's also a pretty accurate description of high school movies in general. The good ones are always a little bigger, stylized depictions of what we all went through in real life. Every school has a Regina George. In the 80s she went by the name Heather Chandler. Same girl. But the real ones are never as beautiful, witty, and fabulous as the reel ones. They're just mean. You need the heightening to make the movies and characters enjoyable. Otherwise... well, who wants to relive high school?
The only time realism seems to work for high school stories is on television. My So Called Life will forever be one of my favorite shows. It plays more real but even that show is ever so slightly fantastical. Real life Jordan Catalano's never leaned quite that well. Dye jobs on pretty girls who didn't know they were pretty (like Angela) never looked quite that perfect. Etcetera. But for the most part that show was true.
If asked to name the show that most perfectly captured the high school experience for me --with no airbushing-- it would be Freaks and Geeks. I saw it for the first time a year or two ago when my lifelong friend Christine urged me to watch it. I was shocked...shocked by what I saw unspool. Save for character names and minor details it was like watching my own high school. Where had they been hiding all those cameras. Not only does it take place in the 80s when I went to high school but it took place very close to where I went to high school. They even mention going to places that I went to with my friends. I also had an older sister who ran with a different crowd than me. I was also the youngest looking kid and a geek. Etc... Watching it was both frightening (how did they remember so much?) and unusually cathartic.
Still, I'm willing to bet that even if you didn't go to high school in 1980s era Michigan the show will feel absolutely authentic to you should you ever rent or buy the series (just one season long *sigh* --just like My So Called Life) which I suggest you do. Right now.
My Favorite TV Dramas (Ever) * To Lindsay on her 20th Birthday * Paris is Only a City in France * Hump Day Hottie: Rachel McAdams
Tags: Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Lohan, celebrities, television, TV, High School, movies, entertainment, cinema