Saturday 18 December 2010

A is for AWESOME

       So I have an elite list of favourite chick-flick-high-school films. To get into the list, the film should have:
1) chicks aka girls
2) humour(because it is a chick-flick)
3) bitchy-ness(same as above)
4) a high school
5) an original story
6) an everlasting impression

       As of yesterday, I had 6 films in this list- Heathers, Clueless, Drop Dead Gorgeous, 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls and She's The Man (will write about them someday, promise). Many films have almost made it into the list- Princess Diaries (I like both together), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (I like all 7 together), The Virgin Suicides (very dark humour- not exactly chick-flicky), She's All That (too sweet), Cruel Intentions (too bitchy and no real high school), Slap Her She's French (it just somehow doesn't belong in the same league), and all the John Hughes Brat Pack classics (they're not chick flicks).

        And now there is a new member in this elite list, and with great pomp and pleasure I induct *cue drum roll* Easy A!!

         Easy A has been inspired by the story of Hester Prynne, the protagonist in Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous novel A Scarlet Letter. But with a very high school twist. Olive Penderghast (I love the name), who is a nobody at her school, becomes the talk of the place when the religious fanatic Marianne overhears her lie to her best friend Rhiannon about losing her virginity over an otherwise boring and Pocket Full of Sunshine-filled weekend. Instead of denying it, Olive likes the attention and soon with her new-found slut status decides to help homosexual Brandon by making him appear straight by testifying to having had sex with him. They go to a party and behind closed doors with an underwear-obstructed key-hole, have really loud fake sex. Rhiannon gets jealous of Olive's popularity and over a very heated phone call, Olive decides to really get into her skank-shoes, and clothes and buys a whole lot of stripper-esque clothes and stitches an 'A' on them, courtesy Hester. She goes to school like this, and everyone is awestruck with the bad-ass attitude and the tramp clothes. However, a number of guys find out about the fake sex thing, and they ask her to lie about having done, well, sexual deeds with them so that they too get a reputation. She does so, in exchange for gift coupons and vouchers, but soon things start looking bleak when Marianne's boyfriend Micah gets an STD and blames it on her. In fact, he is having an affair with the school councellor and wife of english teacher, Mrs. Griffith and got it from her. To save her favourite teacher's marriage, Olive takes the blame, only to get more drastic condemnation from the religious circle that now includes Rhiannon. While all this is happening, for the first time since her bad reputation surfaced, Olive gets asked out on a date by a boy called Anson. She is very happy about this untli she realises that Anson literally wants to pay and have sex with her. She escapes from him, only to run into the only nice guy in school, the mascot-playing Todd. Olive has had a crush on him since eigth grade, and had lost her only opportunity to kiss him while playing Seven Minutes in Heaven, when he was nervous about it. She still lied about doing so on his wish, and knowing this side of hers, he doesn't believe her fallen-woman image. With a little help from her very liberal parents, Olive decides that she will do a webcast telling her story to all of the school, after doing a very slutty-showgirl number at the school game to create interest. The whole film in fact is her telling this story. The film then ends with an awesome tribute to 80s teen films like Say Anything and Breakfast Club.

         This was very fresh film. Once again a classic story has been updated to our time to show its never-ending relevance and impact. Clueless was based on Jane Austen's Emma, 10 Things was based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew and She's The Man on again Shakespeare's Twelfth Knight. The obsession with fallen women is still present today, as it was in Hawthorne's days, though the terminology might have changed a bit. Like Hester Olive also battles this image, but unlike her it is after she embraces it due to what it does with ones popularity level. I loved the 80s films references, and the fact that instead of being nerdy looking, Olive is very pretty but still invisible. Her problems are very identifiable, and despite the fame, we understand her loneliness. Along with that, it is very novel in showing the Christian fanatic group of teens, who are generally shunned from such stories due to the unappealing aspect. Also when it ends, I like how it neither glorifies nor condemns sex.

        Emma Stone is Awesome! She is one of the genuinely funny, self-loathing and prettiest new actresses. She has a long way ahead. Her Olive is hilarious, cute, gorgeous and plain lovable. She has a great body and face and I personally loved the lingerie type clothes on her. This is the first film with her as the protagonist, and she is charming in the way she handles her whole situtaion. Cannot wait for her to get it on with my-future-husband Andrew Garfield as Gwen Stacey in the upcoming Spiderman reboot! Amanda Bynes as Marianne was fantastic since she always plays a rebel. Also I'm glad she didn't quit acting, despite having played a teenager for what seems like her whole life. I love Dan Byrd, and he is so funny in the fake-sex scene. Penn Badgely was a sweet supporting character, but he ain't no John Cusack. Thomas Hayden Church was pretty convincing too as the cool and mental teacher. Lisa Kudrow and Malcolm Macdowell were there, but only to add to the very strong support cast. The best were Olive's parents played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. Who would not want parents like Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson? I would kill to have parents like Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. They are wacky, witty, radical and just cuddle-able. The world needs more parents like Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson!!

        The reason why Easy A is now on the list is because it really does fill all the necessary conditions. Olive is a excellent female character, the film is very very funny, the bitchy-ness is in your face, there is a high school, the story is fantastic and so very properly adapted from a 19th Century classic. And of course, try as you must, one cannot forget the webcast, the crazy chapter names, the fake sex, the religious bimbos, Olive's clothes and just Olive. I guess one of the conditions is also to have a brilliant female protagonist(s) and along with Veronica, Cher, Amber, Kat and Bianca, Cady and Regina and Janice and Gretchen and Karen and Damien, and Viola, Olive is truly unfogettable.

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