Having watched Mean Girls at the behest of a couple of my employees, it was time for me to get my revenge and assign them each a movie of mine to watch. Since Mean Girls wasn’t a terrible movie, I honestly went looking for something they each might of liked.
When I asked Lindsay for her preference in movies (noting either fantasy or sci-fi, because, well, it’s me after all), she said she preferred fantasy, with a good heroine, witty dialogue, mystery, and an ending that might make her cry in a good way. From that, I drew upon my pool and provided the choices of:
- The Princess Bride (no female protagonist, but checks the other boxes)
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks (she had apparently already seen it)
- Romancing the Stone (not traditional fantasy, but still good)
To which she chose Labyrinth or Romancing the Stone – being a fan of Labyrinth myself, that’s what I brought as my Mean Girls Revenge movie. Lindsay graciously provided me a full review, which I’ve reproduced here:
Summary: A hodgepodge of WTF
My initial reaction to this movie was “I don’t even know.” It was so different from anything I’ve ever seen, that I, for once in my life, was rendered speechless.
Plot analysis: Heroine Sarah goes on a quest to rescue her baby half brother, and during this quest she experiences all that a 15-year-old girl generally does, though in a much more bizarre setting than the mall or a party. Being a brat to your parents? Check. Disdaining responsibility? Check. Realizing the importance of friends? Check. First forays into romance? Check, though with creepy 80s David Bowie? Yuck. This girl needed some Backstreet Boys posters in her bedroom.
This plot can be (and has been) utilized in a multitude of eras and locales, and can be played out with diverse casts of characters. But we had to go with puppets. I think puppets are like clowns – you either like them or hate them, and I’m in the latter camp, which made it difficult for me to bond with this movie. Are they cool artistically? Yes. Do I want to hang out with them? No.
Character analysis: Sarah is an oddball, but she’s got spirit. I applaud her realization that she needs her friends, but some things need to be conquered alone. In that sense, she’s got more figured out than most people I know who are twice her age. Hoggle is one of those socially-unacceptable types that once you display some interest and kindness, they’ll worship you forever because they’ve never experienced the magic of friendship before. This can, and did, come in handy, but had the movie gone further, there would’ve been an awkward scene where Sarah must tell Hoggle that she needs some space. Ludo is cute. I wanted all the Fireys to die miserable deaths. Jareth… yeah, I don’t even know… he spends his days dancing around his goblin land wearing too-tight 80s wear. Whatever floats your boat I guess.
Props to the Bog of Eternal Stench. That was the best part of this movie. It appealed to my childish sense of humor.
Countering that, I found it interesting that there was nothing beautiful in this movie. No stunning nature scenery, no deep relationships to stir the heart, no really thought-provoking conversation.
At the end of the movie, my hopes are that Sarah learned the value of real friendship from her adventure in goblin land. It’s time for her to ditch the stuffed animals and make some friends. My hopes for Jareth, whom I found entirely unrelatable, is that he finds a more satisfying life path than running around in his creepy spandex, setting traps for the unsuspecting. He could do so much more with his life. I could see him as a board game designer, a set designer for the theater, a hairstylist, a choreographer, etc.
I don’t have a numerical rating system for movies, but I do have the Twilight rating. As in, would I rather watch this or Twilight? Result: Twilight.
I’d rather not disparage her review (even if I disagree on some points), instead, I think it’s much more interesting to note how differently we both view this movie. For me, it’s always been a more abstract movie with the characters being personifications of Sarah’s subconscious, rather than a movie about relationships between those characters. From these two lenses, perceptions of the movie are bound to be quite different (especially, since I do feel like muppets make this movie what it is).
However, if I were to rebut one point it would be that Sarah would not have a Backstreet Boys poster in her bedroom, as the movie predates their debut album by almost a decade. Even the New Kids on the Block released their debut album only three months ahead of the release of this movie, while the Jacksons and the Osmonds (pop “boy” bands that were active at the time) would have been pushing 20+ years of being active while also being odd choices given the themes of a disturbed family unit subtly explored in the film. Looking deeper, New Edition may have been a contender for this poster slot, but the pop musical choice of David Bowie may have conflicted with their R&B style… Still, I did way too much research on boy bands for that wan point, so you can decide who ultimately lost.
In any event, if I were to use Lindsay’s Twilight rating, I would much rather watch Labyrinth than Twilight – Labyrinth is on my top five favorite movies, and Twilight… …is not.