Can you believe it was nine years ago this month that the world was introduced to Cady Heron, Regina George, and Glen Coco (you go, Glen Coco)? Yes, on April 30, 2004, Mean Girls hit theaters and immediately became a cultural touchstone for a whole generation who is still making GIFs of all the action nearly a decade later.
The movie was initially a star vehicle for Lindsay Lohan, whose career was on a rapidly upward trajectory, but a funny thing happened – Mean Girls not only brought her front and center but introduced the world to a crop of actresses who are still claiming the top spots in Hollywood as LiLo continues to crumble. Which of The Plastics now reigns supreme? We looked at the careers of seven women from the film to see who comes out on top. Who "won" Mean girls? It looks like writer Tina Fey.
Here they are in order of who is doing the best based on their subsequent roles, career, and ability to stay out (or in) the tabloids:
Tina Fey: Sure, she was the brains behind the whole operation, but when she wrote this movie, she was just some funny lady from SNL. She had yet to launch 30 Rock, win a slew of Emmys, and do one of the most famous impressions of the 21st century. Movie Roles: Admission, Megamind, Date Night, The Invention of Lying, Ponyo, Baby Mama Movies That Gross More Than $50 Million: Date Night, Baby Mama Flops: Admission TV Roles: 30 Rock, Sarah Palin on SNL TV Shows Produced: 1 Emmy Nominations: 20 Emmy Wins: 6 Arrests: 0 Break Ups: 0 Scandals: Only when Taylor Swift told her she was going to hell Assorted Pluses: Wrote a best-selling book and became a "thinking man's sex symbol." Did a bang-up job co-hosting the Golden Globes with bestie Amy Poehler. Is working on a Mean Girls musical with her husband. How awesome is that! Assorted Minuses: I can't think of one.
Rachel McAdams: 2004 made this Canadian a star when Mean Girls and a little thing called The Notebook launched her. She has more blockbusters than anyone on this list and hardly a flop. If she had the same awards recognition and was spread across as many platforms, she would have beaten Tina Fey. Turns out the nice girls do finish last. Movie Roles: The Vow, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Midnight in Paris, Morning Glory, Sherlock Holmes, Time Traveler's Wife, State of Play, The Lucky Ones, Married Life, The Family Stone, Red Eye, Wedding Crashers, The Notebook Movies That Gross More Than $50 Million: The Vow, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, Midnight in Paris, Time Traveler's Wife, The Family Stone, Red Eye, Wedding Crashers, The Notebook Flops: 0 TV Roles: Rachel McAdams does not do TV... yet. TV Shows Produced: 0 Emmy Nominations: 0 Emmy Wins: 0Arrests: 0 Break Ups: Ryan Gosling, Josh Lucas, Michael Sheen Scandals: 0 Assorted Pluses: Um, she dated Ryan Gosling! She's also great in both comedy, action, and dramatic roles. Assorted Minuses: She has a thing for dating co-stars.
Amanda Seyfried: One of the most sought-after starlets in Hollywood, unfortunately she has about as much smarts as her Mean Girls character when it comes to picking roles. Movie Roles: Lovelace, Les Miserables, Gone, In Time, Red Riding Hood, Letters to Juliet, Dear John, Chloe, Jennifer's Body, Mamma Mia!, Alpha Dog Movies That Gross More Than $50 Million: Les Miserables, Letters to Juliet, Dear John, Mamma Mia! Flops: Gone, In Time, Red Riding Hood, Jennifer's Body TV Roles: Big Love TV Shows Produced: 0 Emmy Nominations: 0 Emmy Wins: 0 Arrests: 0 Break Ups: Dominic Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Josh Hartnett, some real estate guy Assorted Pluses: According to People she is the fourth most beautiful person in the world. She also has a taxidermy collection, which is cool. Assorted Minuses: Did you see the list of flops? Sadly the movies she stars in are high-profile duds where the ones where she is a supporting cast member do aces.
Amy Poehler: She was always Tina Fey's second fiddle until she got a show of her own that is just as successful. Now if only she could start reaping those awards in the same way.... Movie Roles: A.C.O.D, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Baby Mama, Horton Hears a Who!, Hamlet 2, Blades of Glory, The Ex, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny Movies That Gross More Than $50 Million: Baby Mama, Monsters vs. Aliens, Horton Hears a Who, Blades of Glory Flops: Hamlet 2 TV Roles: Parks and Recreation TV Shows Produced: 1 Emmy Nominations: 9 Emmy Wins: 0 Arrests: 0 Break Ups: Will Arnett Scandals: Again, when Taylor Swift told her she was going to hell, and she had a snappy rejoinder. Assorted Pluses: This award show queen not only killed it at the Golden Globes with Tina Fey, but she orchestrated those Best Actress in a Comedy bits at the Emmys for all those years. Assorted Minuses: She's always funniest with someone else and while she's been in some hits, she has yet to have the big starring vehicle of her own.
Lizzy Caplan: You could barely recognize our gothy Janice Ian today. Not only did she grow up right, but she is one of the most well-respected funny ladies around. If only Hollywood could figure out what to do with the indie star. Movie Roles: 3,2,1...Frankie Go Boom, Bachelorette, Save the Date, 127 Hours, Hot Tub Time Machine, Cloverfield, My Best Friend's Girl Movies That Gross More Than $50 Million: Cloverfield, Hot Tub Time Machine Flops: 0 TV Roles: Masters of Sex, Party Down, True Blood, The Class TV Shows Produced: 0Emmy Nominations: 0 Emmy Wins: 0 Arrests: 0 Break Ups: 0 Scandals: That she's not a bigger star. Assorted Pluses: Between Party Down and Bachelorette she has a huge and devoted cult fan base and tons of street cred. Masters of Sex is getting tons of advance buzz. And she dates Matthew Perry, so that's cool. Let's not forget her killer guest stint on Season 1 of New Girl. Assorted Minuses: If everyone loves her, why can't she make any of her products stick? Also, she was in a Dane Cook movie.
Lindsay Lohan: America's reigning tabloid queen and walking punchline, Lohan has been on an almost decades-long spiral and still hasn't hit rock bottom. Movie Roles: Scary Movie 5, The Canyons, Machete, I Know Who Killed Me, Georgia Rule, Bobby, Just My Luck, Prairie Home Companion, Herbie Fully Loaded Movies That Gross More Than $50 Million: Herbie Fully Loaded Flops: I Know Who Killed Me, Just My Luck TV Roles: Liz & Dick, a guest stint on Ugly Betty that got cut short due to bad behavior, playing herself on Glee, a guest stint with her BFF Charlie Sheen on Anger Managment, and an arc on, of all things, Million Dollar DecoratorTV Shows Produced: 0 Emmy Nominations: 0 Emmy Wins: 0 Arrests: Between the DUIs, the jewelry theft, the probation violations, the court-appointed rehab, the stint working in the morgue, I can't keep any of this straight anymore, but I love her court outfits. Break Ups: Wilmer Valderama, Samantha Ronson Scandals: Do we need to ask? Assorted Pluses: There was a time with Lindsay actually had tons of talent, gold records, a line of leggings, a catchy single ("I'm just a little bossy"), and all the free clothes she could steal from photo shoots. Even now we're still fascinated by her. Still we look at her like a pair of wadded up panties in a gutter, trying to figure out just how they got there and who the heck is going to get them out. Assorted Minuses: If it's not the shopping addiction, bad plastic surgery, friendship with Charlie Sheen, bad Glee guest appearances, the cultural scourge of Liz & Dick, getting publicly fired from a consultancy with Ungaro, the Playboy nude spread, all the nip slips and upskirts, then it's, well, drugs, booze, and rehab. Lohan has blown it all.
Lacey Chabert: This was the Party of Five star's big comeback. It didn't quite work out. Movie Roles: Ghosts of Girlfriends PastMovies That Gross More Than $50 Million: 0 Flops: 0 TV Roles: Are we counting cartoon voiceovers, Christmas movies, and schlocky Lifetime specials, because she has a ton. No, seriously, she's been a voice on like every superhero cartoon you can name. That has to count for something. TV Shows Produced: 0 Emmy Nominations: 0 Emmy Wins: 0 Arrests: She couldn't get arrested in this town. ZING!Break Ups: 0 Scandals: No one is talking about her. Assorted Pluses: She was really good in Mean Girls, you guys. Assorted Minuses: Ugh, Christmas movies.
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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Cliff and Cydney are happy newlyweds headed to Hawaii for a quiet honeymoon on a remote portion of the island of Kauai. Their marital bliss is abruptly interrupted however when they receive word that just a few days prior a pair of newlyweds not unlike themselves were murdered on Maui and that the killers believed to be a man and a woman were still at large.
Dismayed by the unsettling news Cliff and Cydney nonetheless resolve to move forward with their honeymoon but start to become anxious when they encounter not one but two exceedingly strange couples each of whom seemingly fit the profile of the killers. Miles away from civilization unable to get a decent cell phone signal and seemingly surrounded by possible murderers they begin to wonder if they might be the next victims.
WHO’S IN IT?
Playing the part of Cliff is Steve Zahn a prolific character actor best known for supporting roles in films like Rescue Dawn and Sunshine Cleaning. As a jittery Hollywood screenwriter who too often lets his overactive imagination get the best of him Zahn’s performance is the most credible aspect of the movie. In the role of his wife Cydney is Resident Evil series star Milla Jovovich demonstrating how truly unremarkable she can be when not cast opposite expressionless zombies.
Despite being saddled with most of the film’s worst lines Hitman star Timothy Olyphant proves convincing as Nick a wild-eyed survivalist who claims to have served as an army special forces operative in Iraq. Laying it on a little too thick with the fake Southern accent is Kiele Sanchez who plays Nick’s equally suspicious girlfriend.
Director David Twohy (Pitch Black The Chronicles of Riddick) makes an earnest attempt at crafting a modern-day murder mystery and for the most part he does a commendable job of messing with audience expectations setting the stage for a major second-act plot twist that proves every bit as surprising as advertised.
Twohy is one of the more likable Hollywood directors and it’s good to see him back from the dead after the Riddick disaster set fire to his career. Unfortunately he falls headlong into the M. Night Shyamalan trap with A Perfect Getaway focusing too much on pulling off the big twist and forsaking just about every other element of the movie. To be fair Twohy’s film isn’t nearly as dreadful as Shyamalan’s recent Razzie-amassing efforts like The Happening and Lady in the Water but its deficiencies are similarly multifaceted. Awkward dialogue mediocre performances by Jovovich and Sanchez and an excessively aimless pre-twist plotline are just a few of the problems that plague the movie.
But my biggest gripe with A Perfect Getaway is that Twohy fills the story with so many seemingly important plot devices which end up going nowhere that the film could very well be re-titled Red Herring: The Movie. At a certain point you throw up your hands and ask “Well then is any of this s--t real?” And the answer is: No probably not. But isn’t Kauai beautiful?
Admittedly the twist is pretty darn clever. Too bad we have to wait over an hour to see it.
The climax features an excruciating scene in which a key character’s cell phone previously assumed to be out of service receives a sales call from an Indian-accented telemarketer. Rather than simply hang up and dial 911 the character pleads with the befuddled phone company rep to alert the police with predictable lack of success. All this while a deranged killer stalks the vicinity. Characters that stupid deserve to die.
Shedding many of those trappings that make a James Bond movie well a James Bond movie Quantum of Solace is really the first sequel ever in the long-running series. While it’s always exciting something gets seriously shaken and stirred in the translation. Picking up exactly where the brilliant Casino Royale left off we see Bond (Daniel Craig) trying to get to the bottom of why his love Vesper Lynd had to die jumping right into the first of many MANY chases as he traverses six countries. Still on rogue patrol Bond then inadvertently meets the crafty and gorgeous Camille (Olga Kurylenko) who introduces Bond to the evil Dominic Green (Mathieu Amalric) the head of an eco-phony stealth operation angling for some prime desert land while financing a crooked Bolivian general’s planned coup. With the ever resourceful M (Judi Dench) trying to keep him in line at all times Bond must put his revenge plans on hold as he crosses paths not only with Greene and his fake pro-environment front but also the intriguing and mysterious group known as Quantum. In this outing Daniel Craig -- leaner and meaner than any previous Bond -- really becomes a man of single-minded determination and grit. He’s less like the James Bond we know and love and more a humorless killing machine like Jason Bourne (those two should really get together). Still Craig is such a compelling actor that we are with him all the way even if he doesn’t go for the suave Bond moves. Olga Kurylenko is a great foil but not totally in the tradition of a Bond girl. A later encounter with Gemma Arterton as a British agent in Bolivia does however briefly recall the heyday of Goldfinger. Judi Dench has taken the perfunctory role of M and turned it into a full-blown supporting role. Her dry wit and take-no-prisoners attitude is welcomed every time she shows up on screen. French star Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) doesn’t really pull off his villainous alter-ego ecologist while Jeffrey Wright is pretty much wasted as U.S. agent Felix Leiter. At least Giancarlo Giannini returns for some nice moments with his Craig. Although they usually leave the challenging job of steering the Bond ship to an English director oddly this time the baton was handed to Marc Forster known more for his intimate dramas such as Finding Neverland and Monster's Ball. His grip on the action sequences is secure but he never really seems to have a handle on what distinguishes this legendary movie spy from everyone else. There’s a reason Bond has survived as a screen icon for almost half a century but the sort of workman-like filmmaking Forster displays here does not represent 007’s finest hour. It’s almost like the producers had a checklist: car chase on winding roads; boat chase; airplane chase; rooftop chase -- all check. Quantum of Solace is definitely worth checking out however. I mean it IS Bond and we wait for these movies on bated breath. Just maybe next time a little less Bourne please.
Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek) is a mischievous and sexually liberated student and aspiring painter in Mexico City when she first spies the much older prominent muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) cavorting with one of his models. Frida lives with her loving parents--Mexican mother German-Jewish father--and is intimately involved with her boyfriend. Tragedy strikes when Frida is gravely injured in a trolley crash and she never fully recovers. When her boyfriend takes off for Europe Kahlo focuses more on her paintings and boldly approaches Rivera for an honest appraisal of her work. Rivera well known for his marital infidelity and womanizing immediately recognizes Kahlo's talent and takes her under his wing as a protégée rather than a lover. An ardent Communist with a zest for socializing he introduces her to his artsy and progressive circles where Kahlo easily fits in. The pair soon become lovers and believing they have a special understanding of each other decide to marry. The union is immediately threatened when Kahlo learns that the hotheaded Lupe (Valeria Golino) one of Rivera's ex-wives occupies the apartment above theirs. After Rivera is awarded several commissions in the U.S. he and Kahlo begin their tour in New York and enjoy life as minor celebrities. Kahlo exercises her promiscuity by carrying on with one of Rivera's lovers and Rivera exercises his political intransigence with a fateful confrontation with Nelson Rockefeller (Edward Norton) who hired the artist to paint a mural in the Rockefeller Center lobby. The dust-up causes the loss of another commission and the couple returns to Mexico where they become hosts to fugitive Communist Leon Trotsky (Geoffrey Rush) and his wife. Kahlo has an affair with the legendary figure but when it threatens his marriage they move away and Trotsky is assassinated soon after. Rivera and Kahlo divorce but remarry when Rivera returns to his partner who is now impoverished and desperately ill.
The acting here is outstanding. Salma Hayek as the wild and quietly creative Kahlo is in practically every frame and dazzles in a variety of moods and situations. Alfred Molina in the more subtle role of Rivera is every bit as marvelous managing to charm and delight as a character who is essentially dissolute yet warm and lovable. Valeria Golino is another standout in the lesser role of the fiery Lupe. Geoffrey Rush makes a credible Trotsky and Ashley Judd pleases as a jovial Mexican party girl with a taste for mischief. Antonio Banderas does a neat cameo as a heated Communist and Edward Norton plays a very decent Rockefeller not shy about saying who pays the bills. Brits Roger Rees convincing as Kahlo's loving father and Saffron Burrows as Kahlo's loving diversion add heft to their supporting roles.
Julie Taymor best known for some very showy previous works like Broadway's The Lion King her feature debut Titus and a number of critically acclaimed operas proves again with Frida that she's an incomparable visual stylist. Taymor engages the eyes with a dazzling palette of Mexican colors and iconography and episodes of magical realism and mixed media invention that convey the intoxicating world of her subjects and the dramatic signature events of their lives. But Taymor (who also delivers a seductive majestic soundtrack) never loses sight of the fact that it is her beguiling characters who matter most.