SummerScreen, Brooklyn’s free outdoor film series, returns this Wednesday, July 11, with the 1999 dark comedy Jawbreakers.
When I was asked to write a piece for Jawbreaker, the obvious answer was yes. I’ve seen it a thousand times and love 90’s nostalgia. This is the original Mean Girls! I eagerly started taking notes and recording memories…
In the time of the Spice Girls and white people’s blissful ignorance, we were graced with Jawbreaker, a film with B-List actors, (among them Rose McGowan pre-Harvey Weinstein fame and Pam Greer, Judy Grier, Carol Kane and… Marilyn Manson!?); a real satire for us to sink our teeth into.
Jawbreaker came out in 1999 when I was 10 years old and already a true cult follower of Can’t Hardly Wait, She’s All That, and The Craft. Jawbreaker has so much to offer. The clothes! The cliques! The horrible dialogue! Mean Girls is baby stuff compared to Jawbreaker because you know, murder.
This movie is the opposite of feminism, and instead of women lifting each other up, its message is what I call the “90’s Conundrum”: a disregard for public health, and full of white privilege, jealousy and bad habits. Best friends were enemies, men were dumb jocks and no parent allowed gay children in the house.
And then I hit play.
My fun walk down memory lane became a true emotional exercise. This movie starts off super traumatic – I watched while screaming into my pillow as Liz Purr, teen beauty and grace, gets hogtied and thrown in her friend’s car. Her body is later tugged at and pulled in multiple directions, like a blow-up doll on break. This is not a movie for kiddos. This is not a fun black comedy. This is a horror movie.
I do want to note that Courtney, Marcie and Julie could have gotten away with it if they had pinned it all on Fern. Fern Mayo is a super creepy character. She is what I would imagine a high school shooter would be like if men didn’t already own exclusive rights. She’s definitely a stalker waiting to happen. This movie is strife with lack of moral compass and absurdity!!!! Fern girl, you need to tell about that murder! No one makes the switch from timid girl to dancing on their Corvette in a matter of weeks.
What about the fashion, you ask? It’s a far cry from New York normcore. The colors are vibrant and well… ugh! What even is Courtney wearing on her head at the prom?! So terrible, what is that out of focus tattoo we keep seeing? It’s Rose McGowan’s real tattoo — they just didn’t cover it up. Maybe there wasn’t industrial makeup back in 1999.
One of the redeeming qualities of the film is the boys. Shoutout to Zack’s soul patch and Dane, Big Stick Boy! Kinky! Plus, where is Marilyn Manson?? Oh, he’s just the pedo-stache perv that Courtney seduces while Liz’s body lays under the bed. Amazing job, guys.
In conclusion — this is a cringefest, but absolutely worth the bad feelings. If you like groaning and get second hand embarrassment like me, it’s so much better with thousands of people. You’ll love Jawbreaker — see you Wednesday!
Bonus moments to consider. Take a sip of your beer when you see these easter eggs!
- Horrible opening Jawbreaker Factory.
- Who wears heels to school? No backpacks?
- There’s a man wearing sunglasses inside.
- Cameo from the sister of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
- Sound effects.
- Kurt Cobain sunglasses are back in style, which did excite me.
- OMG Rose McGowan I cannot. What is her tattoo?
- I liked Fern’s brown hair.
- And where are they walking down the hallway?
- Courtney hit Julie with a car. Nbd.
- Julie is having the time of her life.
- “See you at prom tonight!”
- What other movies were The Donnas in? For one, Drive Me Crazy.
- Why are end credits in alphabetical order??
- I’m obsessed with Carol Kane. All moments were perfect, great job, Hunty!