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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Ah, prom. The single most important thing to an 18 year-old American with an active libido and a pop culture saturation. Prom is built up to be one of the best memories a high school student will make. Unfortunately, like most of the best things in life, prom is far from free (take that, Luther Vandross). Of course, when it comes to movies, prom always seems a bit more feasible financially... mostly because movies have the convenience of "skipping over" the whole financial aspect of a story, in favor of the more exciting romantic aspects. Check out the list below of some of cinema's greatest prom movies, complete with calculations about just how much these nights would cost in real life terms, and whether or not the characters could truly afford them.
10 Things I Hate About You
Character: Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger)
Expenses: Tuxedo + a guitar to make up for the whole “I’ve deceived you from the start” thing = $600
Funds: Dirty money courtesy of Joey Donner
Payoff: He tamed the shrew, and fell in love
Character: Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles)
Expenses: Dress + pearl necklace = $500
Funds: A father who, while dead-set against the idea of either of his daughters having fun, is secretly generous enough to buy her whatever she wants
Payoff: A brand new guitar... oh, also love, and a new lease on life
Character: Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
Expenses: Tuxedo + an ice pack for his punched nose (also courtesy of Joey Donner) = $108
Funds: Never revealed
Payoff: A whelming end to all the burning, pining and perishing
Character: Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs)
Expenses: Tuxedo = $100
Funds: Never revealed, although he does have some generous parents
Payoff: He fulfilled his pact, met his future wife, and began the next step
Character: Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan)
Expenses: Dress + band camp (which proved to be necessary preparation) = $650
Funds: A band camp counselor's salary
Payoff: Met her future husband, which started her on a path to gradually losing that bizarre speech habit
Character: Carrie White (Sissy Spacek)
Expenses: Dress + and a whole lot of funeral arrangements = tens of thousands of dollars
Payoff: The ability to start a fire
Character: Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon)
Expenses: Tuxedo + professional dance lessons (don't be fooled into believing that people can just dance like that) = $200
Funds: Never revealed, but he might have won a few bucks betting on tractor chicken
Payoff: Bringing joy back to the American Midwest
The Girl Next Door
Character: Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch)
Expenses: Tuxedo + limo, camera crew, pornographic actresses, various other film production materials = Well over $1000
Funds: Retroactive profits from his highly successful line of sex education films
Payoff: He fell in love, got to go to Georgetown, and, most importantly, had something to write in the “I Will Always Remember” section of his yearbook
Character: Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan)
Expenses: None; she didn't even wear a dress — that tiara really jazzed up her math-lete jacket, though
Funds: Did that math competition victory come with any prize money?
Payoff: Instituting a new regime of kindness, acceptance and honesty throughout her high school
Never Been Kissed
Character: Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore)
Expenses: All the era-appropriate clothing and age-concealing makeup to make a twenty-something reporter look like a high school student = $300
Funds: A reporter's salary... so there's probably some debt
Payoff: Spoilers: she gets kissed
Pretty in Pink
Character: Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald)
Expenses: None — she made her dress herself
Funds: Just the loving support of her father to overcome feelings of social inferiority
Payoff: The kind of unmistakable ending the world just doesn't get any more
She's All That
Character: Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.)
Expenses: Tuxedo + a soccer ball = $125
Funds: Never revealed.
Payoff: Indecent exposure that probably landed him behind bars
Character: Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cooke)
Expenses: Dress = $250
Funds: Art is a frugal career, right?
Payoff: The love of a boy who, even at the end of the movie, was kind of a jerk
Character: Louise Miller (Robyn Lively)
Expenses: Dress + amulet polish = $275
Funds: When you have witchcraft, do you really need money?
Payoff: The valuable lesson that all the magic you need is in your heart
The above prices for tuxes and dresses were gathered from Men's Wearhouse, Prom Girl, and the Hollywood.com staff's rampant high school nostalgia.
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.