Tag Archives: mean girls

Heathers (1988)

I’ve heard Mean Girls (2004) referred to as a watered-down Heathers in the past, though I hadn’t seen the latter film until now. I can kind of understand the comparison. For example, both movies take place in the milieu of a bullying-infested high school, include a lot of made-up slang still quoted by people who’ve seen the films, and feature a school assembly that attempts to bring the pupils closer together and become more empathetic. In Mean Girls, the initiative comes from a well-meaning authority figure whose idea ultimately proves cathartic, even if the scene is played for laughs a little bit. Its counterpart in Heathers stems from a deceptive teacher out to aggrandise herself (or at least her philosophy), and it’s completely ineffective. This is symptomatic of the different approaches the two movies take.

Despite its broad comedy overall, Mean Girls is sincere in its depiction of the lead character falling in with a bad crowd and trying to redeem herself, and the titular clique is shown more as misguided and a product of their environment than as evil. The audience and maybe the characters may want the queen bee dead on occasion, but in the end she is more to be pitied than to be murdered. The 1988 version of Regina George, Heather Chandler (one of three Heathers forming a clique), is more openly malicious, less shaded… and actually dead after a few scenes, killed by protagonist Veronica (Winona Ryder) and her psychopathic boyfriend J.D. (Christian Slater). Continue reading

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Mean Girls (2004)

Not counting The Parent Trap (1998), which I’ve seen on television in bits and pieces, I had never watched a Lindsay Lohan film until now. So my image of her was that she was the typical child star who couldn’t deal with not really having a normal childhood and “broke bad” (see also: Macaulay Culkin, Britney Spears, Shia LaBeouf, Justin Bieber). While that hasn’t really changed, I do now also kinda see why the media seemed so much more interested in Lohan’s exploits than those of her contemporaries: she was actually talented.

Mean Girls was made right between the time when Lohan was too young for audiences to really tell whether she was a good actress and when she went off the rails. It’s a comedy, not a drama, but it still required someone in the lead role who had screen presence and who could convincingly portray the main character’s journey. Lohan fulfills both criteria at least as well as Emma Stone (I get the comparison now!). One wonders what her career would look like today, ten years later, if she’d stayed (moderately) clean.
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