When I was a little girl, my family and I would spend a few weeks of summer at my late great uncle’s lake house in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. The house was beautiful, the lake was secluded and as an eight-year-old, I especially loved driving the speed boat and pretending I was in an action movie. (Thanks, Dad!) Throughout the years we spent vacationing there, we made many memories, such as the time my sister, Courtney, my friend, Jordan, and I ate so much candy that I literally had a candy hangover the next morning, complete with vomiting. On that same trip, Jordan introduced me to a little television show called Law & Order: SVU and clearly, eight seasons on DVD later, that was a life-changing moment for me. (ELLIOT AND OLIVIA FOREVER…..sorry.) I can remember one morning when Courtney and I were still young baby angels (probably ages six and eight, respectively) when fate intervened and led us to the cabinet under the VCR. As we dug through the collection of dusty movies hidden there, we found something that would change our lives forever: a VHS copy of an 80’s movie called Girls Just Want to Have Fun. The worn case displayed a teenage Sarah Jessica Parker jumping joyfully in the air, a teen Helen Hunt wearing a hat with a huge ass grasshopper on it and a young Shannen Doherty flipping her hair. I turned the case over and began to read the synopsis. I stopped when eyes landed on the word “dance”. I knew in that moment that this movie was going to be EVERYTHING.
And I was right. The plot focuses on Janey (played by the iconic SJP), a teenaged girl who spent her childhood moving from one army base to the next with her family, which is headed up by her uber strict, militant father. Janey ends up at a private school in Chicago (holla!) and is quickly befriended by Lynn Stone (Helen Hunt) after she gives a really pathetic introduction of herself to her new classmates. Said intro ended with the sighed statement of “I love to dance”, which her classmates really judged her for and became my go-to phrase in any situation. While Janey helps Lynn babysit a ginger baby (“babysit” is a loose term, as the child is sitting ON a pizza at one point), Lynn convinces her that she should audition for DANCE TV, the most popular show on television that films in Chicago. Long story short, Janey’s father gives her a hard “negative” when she asks permission to audition, which she promptly ignores. So reserved, naive Janey gets paired with bad boy Jeff Malene and the rest is history. (Since I know that after you read this, you all are going to stop whatever you’re doing to watch this movie, I won’t spoil the ending for you.)
The fashion in this movie is spot-on. SJP pulls off leggings and a crop top unlike anyone else and her hair is fiercely huge. And let’s be real, this was the performance of Helen Hunt’s career. As I mentioned before, she wears a hat with a huge plastic grasshopper on it and I’m going to be honest, I’m pretty sure at some point she also wears a hair clip featuring a plastic stegosaurus. I was infinity jealous of Lynn’s devil-may-care attitude and outrageous style. I mean, the girl literally added Velcro to every part of her school uniform so that after school, she could take the sleeves off her blazer and turn it inside out to reveal a leather interior. COOLEST PERSON EVER. Sadly enough, I never had the opportunity to steal her genius, as I always went to public school. Disappointing.
My absolute favorite part of this film is the dancing. When I was younger, I was enthralled by the dancing scenes. SJP was a phenomenal dancer and the supporting cast were fantastic as well. I still love anything related to dancing or gymnastics (see: obsessions with the Olympics and DWTS) and when Courtney and I were young, we’d watch this movie on repeat at Smith Mountain Lake and then tried our hardest to recreate the dances. Unfortunately, our “lifts” consisted of us jumping up on the bed and posing like we were being lifted by a male partner, so the grace and skill of my dancing were definitely amplified in my head. Oh, well. Girls just want to have fun!
This movie contains the best of all worlds: comedy, drama, DANCE, great/hilarious 80’s music, one hot guy, awesome 80’s fashion, SARAH JESSICA PARKER, witty one-liners, strict parenting, and my favorite thing ever, MONTAGES. It is the perfect movie for a girls-night-in or to make your boyfriend watch if you want him to break up with you. So what are you waiting for?! You can watch it at random times on ABC Family, as it has apparently made a comeback and is now being shown regularly on television, buy it off of Amazon for like four bucks, or watch the entire movie in surprisingly good quality on YouTube. (If you click that YouTube link, within the first three minutes you’ll see “I love to dance”.) If you’re still not sold, click here to watch the Dance TV audition scene. Classic.
I’m glad you guys have a new favorite movie. Have a great weekend!