Tag Archives: Desperately Seeking Susan

Girl’s Guide to Top Ten Adorable Cult Films

3 Aug

by Madeline Iva

It’s August! Time to make with the grabby hands before the slow, relaxed days of summer give way to the hustle of September. Grab a peach smoothie and your favorite guy, and let all your worries go while you enjoy these 10 Adorable Cult Movies — each is it’s own funky mix of whimsy and romance, sprinkled throughout with subversive feminist tropes, and SFF joy.

Here are some films that subverted the 80’s ethos.

Desperately Seeking Susan:

80’s fashion deliciousness and the essence of Madonna distilled.  She was a free-spirit, a mooch, a not-just-one-man kinda woman–the definition of a woman who didn’t draw inside the lines.  You couldn’t be her, but you sure as shit think she’s cool.Note the subtle Alice in Wonderland devices, as Susan steps through her sliding door (i.e. The Looking Glass) into a new world.

Earth Girls are Easy:

Jeff Goldblum is hot.  Okay–geek-hot, but this movie recognized that!   EGAE is a movie that rolls around in sexual objectification, even as it rejects old skool values for 3rd wave feminism and a hard core ‘whatevs” attitude.  The iconic song “I Want ‘Em Big and Stupid” was a cry from the heart back in a time when erom didn’t even exist.  When this movie came out, Jeff and Gina were married, and no one knew who Jim Carey and Damon Wayans were.  Seriously.

Clueless:

America was clueless when this film came on the scene that it was a clever remake of Jane Austen’s Emma.  (Not me! I watched it the first time thinking “Elton? Elton.  Why is that name so familiar?” And blurted out “Oh My GOD, it’s EMMA!” in the movie theatre when she got out of the car. With great styling, this story of valley-girl redemption is fluffy and fun –but also a solidly crafted movie.  R.I.P. Brittany Murphy, before you went blonde & skinny and you know, died.  Props to Alicia Silverstone for holding onto her vegan ethics in Hollywood.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai:

Peter Weller, you may teach art history now at Syracuse University, but once you were an 80’s cult legend.  Pre-Robo Cop, pre-Naked Lunch, here was a role in which you showed what a movie star you could be.  The film had a very interesting low-budget SFF style we’ve never seen before or since.  Alas, Ellen almost ruins the movie with her overwrought acting, but then again, she has to go eye to eye with an evil slug that’s going to sting her face to death, so.The classic quote from this movie shouldn’t be “Remember: where ever you go, there you are.” It should be, “Hey, hey, hey.  Don’t be mean.” The film is a cult legend, but also is everything the 80’s wasn’t about–which is why I lurv it so hard.

Then the 90’s came: sigh. We finally got to look back at the 80’s and shudder.

Romy & Michelle’s High School Adventure:

I was the Janeane Garofalo character in this movie–minus the cigarettes.  At least that’s what it felt like on the inside. (I’d still rather stick a cigarette in my eye than go to my own high school reunion.) You might be surprised that I would hail a movie which in turn celebrates Pretty Women (shudder), but this movie was groundbreaking as it planted a flag in the quivering flesh of America, advocating female friendship first.  Fromance–you never looked so good.

More recently:

Bend It Like Beckham:

Yes, you get John Rhys-Meyers.  Yes, you get a fabulous multi-cultural feminism that will carry you away, and YES, you get to cheer the idea that women can have what they want — but it doesn’t have to be the same thing for every woman.  Huzzah!

Life After Beth:

You just won’t know just exactly where this movie is going.  A shout out to Matthew Gubler in his supporting role.  This is a small film about a guy’s big problems with his girlfriend–which we ultimately realize really are HIS issues…and symbolic.  Audrey Plaza stars in this film — which is reason enough to watch it in my book.

Warm Bodies:

R is Nick Hoult, and Nick Hoult is hot.  Nuff said. 

Maleficent:

Oh, this film did not go where I thought it would.  It was FABULOUS! Have you seen it? You gotta check it out. How I wish this film had been around when I was a little girl.

Austenland:

The one…the only.  I’m sorry, but J.J. Fields is the *best* Darcy evah!!!!!!! I’ll just confess here: we watch this film allllllll the time.  I could quote the lines to you by now.  This is the film to watch if you’re having a sad day–it will make you feel better.  Our heroine finally decides to take charge of her narrative—you’ll want to as well, after you see this film.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

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