GIMME FIVE: Movie Cliques

BY AMBER KELLY-ANDERSON

With The Bling Ring out this week, let’s count down some of the movies’ most memorable cliques.

5) Grease and Grease : The Pink Ladies and T-Birds

grease

Who doesn’t want to be part of a group that has their own custom embroidered jackets? (I would totally wear a Cinefilles jacket.) Whether building a car from a hunk-a-junk or swearing to be a “girl for seasons,” these slicksters are the most. While the T-Birds in the original Grease are far superior to their tepid sequel stand-ins, the I versus II face off between those ladies who aren’t too pure to be pink is tighter. It all boils down to the head chick: Stockard Channing’s snide Rizzo or Michelle Pfeiffer’s cool girl Stephanie Zinone. That’s a debate for the ages.

4) Back to the Future I and II : Biff’s Gang

back to the future

Past, present, or future, Biff and his buddies (as well as his grandson and his buddies) are every mean boy cliché on the books. Made in the 80s when blond baddies were the rage, this crew led by lughead Biff Tannen (Michael F. Wilson) is the perfect foil for smart, charming Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox). Their badness is so great, it’s genetic. By skipping through time it becomes evident that they never grow out of it and it seems to run in the family.

3) Dead Poets Society : The Dead Poets Society

dead poets society

The clique for the artistic soul, this group of prep school boys rallies around a vivacious teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), reviving his secret literary society. Unlike other cliques, the boys support each other through trouble (wooing women) and triumph (yawp for Puck!) until tragedy befalls them. The movie’s final shot of the boys banding together in a sign of protest and support still brings chills.

2) Mean Girls : The Plastics

mean girls

Tina Fey’s witty commentary on adolescent girls introduced the label that has become part of our vernacular: mean girls. Fake, conniving and cunningly superficial, The Plastics, led by alpha Regina George (Rachel McAdams), is like a group of Velociraptors trapped in the bodies of teenage girls. Like most girl cliques, they turn on each other in passive, poisoning ways that aim to kill. For crying out loud, let Gretchen wear hoop earrings.

1) Heathers : Three Heathers and a Veronica

heathers

The ultimate clique begins and ends with this 1988 black comedy’s group of croquet playing, note-writing, colour-coded sociopaths. Those soul-crushing popular girls of Jawbreaker, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, and Mean Girls only wish they had this much game. Kim Walker’s queen Heather practically spits venom. She’s so vile that when Veronica (Winona Ryder) laments that she just killed her best friend and J.D. (Christian Slater) reminds her Heather was also her worst enemy, she replies, “Same difference.” How very is that for a clique?

amberAmber Kelly-Anderson is a Texas-based writer and literature professor harbouring a long-standing infatuation with film. Her lifelong missions are to Save Ferris and voice a Pixar character.

Read more of Amber’s posts.

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