Movies + TV

A Gang of Movies About Gangs of Girls

We warned you there’d be puns on here.

Grease (1978)
From the moment this movie begins with the raddest animated sequence set to the movie’s eponymous song to the last scene where Danny and Sandy blast off into the sky in a car, this movie is a rollercoaster ride through awesome. The first time I watched it was also the first five times I watched it, a result of baby-sitting a cousin who was DEEP in a Grease phase. He was like three and he would stand in front of the TV and dance and sing and we all died of adorableness. The plot is your average cool-teens-at-a-high-school situation; girl (Sandy) moves to a new town, hooks up with the most popular guy in school (Danny) over vacation, they both think they’ll never see each other again and then BOOM! they are at the same school, guy thinks he’s too cool for her, girl doesn’t think she’s cool enough for him, she gets a “slutty” makeover with the help of the cool girls (the Pink Ladies), and they live happily ever after. Ignore all the SUPER misogynist elements (and yes, there are a bunch) and this movie is kinda the best thing ever. Rizzo, the head of the Pink Ladies and the ultimate queen bee, is totally badass but not in a cheesy way, and yeah, she’s a TOTAL bully BUT if someone were bullying me by singing a song as rad as “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” I honestly wouldn’t mind, because that whole scene is really the best part of the movie. Actually, all the Rizzo moments are my favorite, especially “There Are Worse Things I Could Do,” the heart-wrenching song she sings toward the end when–spoiler alert–she thinks she’s pregnant, that’s all about slut-shaming and refusing complacency (really). Rizzo has always been the star of the movie to me. Seriously, go watch it and if you aren’t singing and dancing along by the time the movie ends then, um, I’m sorry. —Laia

Bridesmaids (2011)
Most wedding movies are about love and marriage and WHATEVER, but Bridesmaids is about food poisoning, serious BFF love, and being a crazy-ass bridesmaid. This movie has the best group of funny people ever, with Kristen Wiig leading the team as the maid of honor for Maya Rudolph, but she isn’t exactly the best person to handle the job. Wiig is a trainwreck of a character, but oh my gosh is she a hilarious trainwreck. My favorite person in the movie was Melissa McCarthy, who plays a badass chick named Megan who will climb a man “like a tree” and once had a dolphin look into her “goddamn soul.” She had me rolling on the floor of the theater. Wendi McLendon-Covey’s dirty lines had me giggling and gasping “OHMYGAWD,” and the toast scene between Rose Byrne and Kristen Wiig is so fucking hilarious I couldn’t breathe. Literally: I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. I’m pretty sure me and my girl gang had mascara all over our faces from laughing so hard we were crying (so hard). This is an A+ movie. It’s got everything from diarrhea to Wilson Phillips. It’s awesome. Period. —Hazel

Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
Growing up in New York City, several things were extremely foreign to me: the great outdoors, the Girl Scouts, and skirt suits being chief among them. Troop Beverly Hills made me want to buy a monogrammed tent, and to be Jenny Lewis’s best friend. (Note: I still want these things.) Few movies are engrained so deeply in my neural pathways. I often sing the Troop Beverly Hills morale song—“Beverly Hills, what a thrill!” to my cats, as well as the much-beloved classic “Cookie Time.” Tori Spelling still had her first nose, for god’s sake. Now that’s a movie. —Emma S.

Dreamgirls (2006)
The best performances by American Idol alumnae in the history of forever: Kelly Clarkson singing “Since U Been Gone” at the 2005 VMAs in the fake rain, the video for Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” and every time Jennifer Hudson is onscreen in Dreamgirls, the movie version of the 1980s musical. Hudson shimmies, belts, and teases, gets “Love You I Do” stuck in your head for the rest of time, and then brings the house down entirely with the pissed ballad “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Oh, and Beyoncé plays the role based on Diana Ross (who hated the musical and claims to have never seen the film, but probably knows every word secretly). The ’60s Motown style is approximated in all of its glamorous glory, and the sing-song girl fight “It’s All Over” is pure sass (ignore Jamie Foxx). —Joe

Mean Girls (2004)
How to RECOMMEND Mean Girls? I mean, you’ve all seen it already, right? RIGHT? For you poor ignorant souls, it is a brilliant comedy by Tina Fey about high school girls being mean to each other. It’s so accurate and brilliant and I think I quote it at least twice a day. So does everyone—except you, because you apparently don’t know what’s good for you. Oh god, please watch it. Your life will improve drastically. You’ll never have to drink or do drugs again or shop compulsively or whatever to be happy. Mean Girls will make you happy. Meannnn Girlllllssss. Watch it. (R.I.P. 2004-era Lindsay Lohan.) —Tavi

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Playboy magazine has this listed in its “10 worst chick flicks of all time.” Playboy can go die. This is a sweet, heartfelt, sweeping epic of a Hollywood movie adapted from a novel about two best friends. It moves between the “present day” 1980s and the Depression (so all the costuming is fabulous and inspiring). FGT tackles a lot of important stuff: racism, spousal abuse, terminal illness, and freak accidents, to name some. It’s defs feministic. Mary Stuart Masterson as Imogene aka IDGIE is a real firecracker doing what Mary Stuart (from Some Kind of Wonderful) does best: tomboy humanitarian. She even does her own stunts! Unfortch movie versus book: Hollywood shied away (as it is apt to do) and removed the lesbian part of the original plot, but the film won a GLAAD Media Award for “best lesbian content.” OK! Baby steps in 1991. It’s a good movie. —Sonja

Switchblade Sisters (1975)
Does your morning routine include polishing your knife in addition to putting on perfume? Then you might be a Dagger Deb, the girl gang at the center of Switchblade Sisters. Is the movie wildly offensive and often in poor taste? Yes. This is a genuine exploitation movie, and the Dagger Debs get attacked by one another, their boyfriends, rival gangs, their teachers, their parents, and frisky prison guards. But here’s why you should watch it: there are gang tattoos, a rumble at a roller rink, and a girl with an eye patch. It’s about power dynamics and sex and frenemys, all dolled up in polyester, black leather jackets, and skin-tight jeans. —Emma S.

The L Word
Showtime, 2004-2009

I spent the summer between my junior and senior years of high school watching every episode of this show back to back, and it pretty much confirmed how homo I was. The opening theme song is kinda awful and makes me feel tone deaf, but you will grow to love it and perhaps even make it your cellphone ring tone if you want to have an easy way to be like, “Look, I am a homosexual girl, please love me!”—just a heads-up. The show revolves around eight lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people living (and loving…A LOT…IT’S REALLY FUN TO WATCH) in L.A. It is filled with drama, but it’s also really romantic and powerful and relatable, and you get really invested in the characters very quickly—not all of them are likeable, but I think that’s what makes the show addictive. Each episode, and each season, you learn more about how everyone works. This is a MUST-WATCH show if you’re questioning your sexuality, I think, because it deals with problems every questioning person faces: coming out of the closet, dating your friends, the validity of your sexuality, all that stuff. Also, Shane is like the lesbian Johnny Depp of gorgeousness and you’ll kind of be obsessed on sight. Sharmen forever. —Arabelle

Jawbreaker (1999)
This is a totally weird little black-satire gem from 1999. It’s a Heathers and Carrie mash-up…kinda how Scream cross-references all the horror that came before it. Jawbreaker is all high school, prom, cliques, bitches, losers, psychos. The usual. Then a murder and a jawbreaker. Rose McGowan, a snow-white creampuff of a sociopath, carries the entire movie, and you can’t take your eyes off her. Her boyfriend at the time, Marilyn Manson, has a bit part as a “stranger/rapist.” ALL the casting was so smart: William Kat and PJ Soles from Carrie play the prom queen’s parents (like 10 seconds of screen time); then there’s Carol Kane (Annie Hall, When a Stranger Calls), Pam Grier kicking ass and taking names, and even Jeff Conaway from Grease (!) has a small part as a very square single dad (R.I.P). It’s all in the details. OH! And the Donnas are the prom-night band. The slo-mo hallway strut scene* of the “three graces” (what is it with these girl-gang power trios?) is incredibly memorable. You will access this scene in your mind every time you walk a hallway. —Sonja
* The song is “Yoo-Hoo” by Imperial Teen.

Thelma and Louise (1991)
Whenever this movie comes on TV, despite owning the DVD, I can’t help watching it the whole way through. Every single time, I promise myself I won’t cry, but I always do. Because this is the law of Thelma and Louise: you cannot watch this movie, you cannot listen to the Hans Zimmer score swell while the two best friends in the title drive through the American Southwest giving a metaphorical middle finger to American patriarchal society, sticking together through thick and thin, never losing hope while their fates are unknown, without crying. You just can’t. It’s a bit like On the Road, except here the douchebags are the villains. —Anna

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982)
Three teenage girls start a band. The outfits! There are variations to the uniform, one being: neon white ankle socks (with pompom) worn with black nylon tights, underwear worn over top, a beautiful sheer red blouse, no bra, and amazing HAIR and amazing MAKEUP. The hair is black with white side streaks resembling a skunk. The makeup is red, red, red, red, red. The movie is about copycats stealing from clones. Capitalism, music industry, blah blah blah. How can you not love a movie that puts punks, metalheads, and a Rastafarian all together on a reggae tour bus…in 1982? Predating and forecasting Riot Grrrl by a decade (approx), this film influenced most of the major players of that very movement. The Fabulous Stains is to movies as the Shaggs are to music. Yes, you are flawed, but I love you just the way you are. Best quote: “I think every citizen should be given a guitar on her 16th birthday.” (She said citizen and she said her). —Sonja

Mi Vida Loca (1993)
A down-ass ruca is never supposed to betray her homegirls, but when Sad Girl got with Mousie’s man during a night of passion down by the logs, their girl pact was broken. Then the lives of these two Echo Park cholas got too crazy, bringing them and their cans of Aqua Net together again. Mi Vida Loca is the the ultimate girl gang(sta) movie, so grab your chicas, some brown lip liner, and a Sharpie for your eyebrows and kick back and relax. Fun fact: Spike Jonze and Jason Lee both have cameos, so watch closely! —Marie

The Runaways (2010)
Apparently Cherie Currie collapsed in her kitchen in tears when she found out Dakota Fanning was playing her in the movie about her 1970s rock band, the Runaways, which was COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY, because Dakota is ridiculously amazing in her part. And Kristen Stewart is spot-on as singer Joan Jett, even down to the singing. If you’ve never heard a Runaways song before, this could be a really good introduction and the start of a beautiful relationship. And no matter what, the clothes and the hair will make you wish you had been born in a different decade. This is what dream girl-bands are made of. —Naomi

Foxes (1980)
Foxes opens with a camera panning across a bedroom of sleeping teen girls as Donna Summer’s “On the Radio” plays in the background—two of the girls are sprawled haphazardly on the bed and two are curled up next to each other like kittens on the floor. The movie, set in the San Fernando Valley toward the end of the disco era, follows this group of girls as they become disenchanted with their sleazy boyfriends and fed up with parents that are either absent or frighteningly overbearing. Jeanie (played by Jodie Foster) is the mature mother figure, Deirdre is boy crazy and snooty, Madge is the bespectacled virgin, and Annie (the Runaways’ Cherie Currie) is the drugged-out wild child. When I first came across Foxes on cable I was immediately lured in by Jodie Foster’s vests and long-sleeved button-downs (I’m a vest-and-long-sleeved-button-down enthusiast), and I stuck around long enough to be impressed by the film’s authentic and moving portrayal of female friendship. You can’t watch Foxes without longing for the kind of connection these girls have—they really look out for one another. The actresses actually seem like they’re best friends. (You also can’t watch Foxes without getting “On the Radio” stuck in your head.) —Amber

32 Comments

  • November 24th, 2011 11:19 PM

    Am I the only one who finds it a little creepy how Tavi’s voice drops into a kind of ‘demonic tone’ towards the end?

  • missblack November 24th, 2011 11:26 PM

    Foxes is, like, a super good movie. Jodie Foster = the coolest person alive and the clothes were all totally awesome. I first watched it one Sunday morning a couple of months ago and whenever it’s on the movie channels I immediately drop whatever I’m doing and sit glued to the television.

    Little&Trivial

  • Ruby B. November 24th, 2011 11:29 PM

    I’m so watching these this long weekend!

    Ruby
    therubylotus.wordpress.com

  • Syd November 24th, 2011 11:46 PM

    <3

  • Syd November 24th, 2011 11:48 PM

    Where is Deathproof? That is the most kickass movie ever and includes the coolest girl gang. :/

  • @sarahspy November 24th, 2011 11:49 PM

    Also, Foxfire!!!

    • Mags November 25th, 2011 1:49 AM

      Yes, absolute, Foxfire is amazing!

  • j a z z November 24th, 2011 11:58 PM

    yay, foxes mention!

  • darksideoftherainbow November 25th, 2011 12:16 AM

    what about faster pussycat, kill kill!? LOVE it

  • Mags November 25th, 2011 1:47 AM

    Oh, man, Jawbreaker is pure teenage comedy gold. As much as I love Mean Girls, Jawbreaker holds a very special place in my heart. I was OBSESSED with that hallway/runway walk.

  • Toilets November 25th, 2011 5:47 AM

    I will never get tired of Thelma and Louise, ever.

  • giov November 25th, 2011 7:59 AM

    I watched the fabulous stains at this amazing movie theater with my now ex boyfriend who hated it (of course). I still wear my “We don’t put out” pin on a daily basis. Watch this movie before it’s too late!

  • Breeanna November 25th, 2011 8:53 AM

    After seeing this list, I immediately started organizing a movie weekend with my girl gang. It’s going to be so faaaaaannntastic!!!

  • MichyMich November 25th, 2011 8:56 AM

    Bridesmaids: BEST female-centric comedy ever! What made me love that flick is that it’s not like a conventional chick flick where the guys are just there to save the chicks, who are characterized as damels in distress. Plus, Megan makes Samantha Jones from SATC look SO TAME! I was also surprised that Judd Apatow even produced this superbadass flick! Pure comedy gold.
    Mean Girls: This will NEVER get old! I just watched this at my best friend’s b-day party and we LAUGHED at the lines!! Every time I watch this, I will never get sick of it! To me, the most memorable line is when Regina says “Boo, you whore” to Karen!! Tina Fey is SPOT ON when she satirizes the way how the Plastics behave. That was what made me fall in love with MG.
    The Runaways: LOVE that movie!! My favorite character will always be Joan Jett – the original badass in rock ‘n roll history! I love how she isn’t afraid to be who she is – especially during the 1st scene when the saleslady told her to go to the ladies section and she insisted on getting a moto jacket. Man, I adore JJ!
    Grease: All-time classic! Now, I wanna dance and sing along with Danny Zuko and Sandra Dee whenever the songs come on! Pure musical gold.
    Dreamgirls: I LOVED Jennifer Hudson – she proved the public that she is more than just an AI reject. The way she performed Effie was superb! When she was singing “I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”, J. Hudson brought in so much soul into Effie. Plus, the wardrobes are so amazing – who would’ve thought about wearing a dress backwards! The Dreamgirls are pure fashion icons.

  • jessejames November 25th, 2011 11:44 AM

    Other best quote from ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains’: “My name is not Corinne Burns, it’s 3rd Degree Burns”.

  • CariStereo November 25th, 2011 12:47 PM

    I just signed on to back the recommendations for:

    - Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (this movie was like, seminal to my youth)

    - The Runaways (the costumes by Carol Beadle were dead-on ’70s and are so lustworthy.)

    - Foxes (Cherie Currie, period.)

  • Me November 25th, 2011 2:40 PM

    Dreamgirls= BEST MOVIE EVER.

    I just love it when they sing “It’s all over”, I never thought there could ever be more sass in one song.

  • rhymeswithorange November 25th, 2011 5:10 PM

    I saw Dreamgirls twice in the theater. and I had the soundtrack. good times

  • OrangeSunrise November 25th, 2011 5:40 PM

    Okay, all of these movies are literally the most amazing movies ever, but Mean Girls holds a special place in my heart. Remember the scene where they’re all opening up and saying all this shizz about Regina and Kady and whatnot? And that girl stands up and says something like “I wish we could all bake a cake full of rainbows and eat it and be happy?”

    Well, me and my girl gang have a rule. If we’re ever fighting, one of us must butt in and say this, which of course, prompts the others to burst out with “She doesn’t even go here!” Which prompts laughing and smiling all around, and the fight is over.

    Seriously, try it.

    It works.

  • TheNarcissisticGinger November 25th, 2011 8:26 PM

    The first time I saw The Runaways, I was enchanted. Dakota Fanning’s makeup, her wispy hair, Kristen Stewart’s badassery, the manager’s craziness…<3

  • maggiemadge November 25th, 2011 9:10 PM

    I went to see Bridesmaids with my sister on my last day of high school when it came into theaters. It is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen in my life, like laughing until your belly hurts. There are not that many films about women that you can actually relate to. Lately I have been having problems with boys, school and everything else between. Then I think of Kristen Wiig’s character and how screwed up her life was in the movie and it gives me a glimmer of hope that maybe things might work out. I know it sounds silly, but it’s the little things that keeps us going, right? Plus whenever something reminds me of Bridesmaids, I can’t help from giggling and having a grin on my face. It’s the best.

  • SweetWater November 26th, 2011 12:32 AM

    How can we forget one of the best and most potent Girl Gang movies of all time: Foxfire!! Staring Angelina Jolie before she was all hyped up and brother-frenching.

    Seriously, this movie changed my 16 year old life.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116353/

  • Lilly November 26th, 2011 3:34 AM

    I’d also like to recommend Tank Girl!

  • Lizzie November 26th, 2011 2:29 PM

    You forgot Josie and the Pussycats! Only the best movie ever!!

  • LeAnn November 28th, 2011 4:36 PM

    What about Now and Then? It has Enid (Thora Birch), Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci), seances, and a Tarot card reading.

  • bowiesong November 29th, 2011 5:37 PM

    did anyone say Steel Magnolias yet?

  • unicornia November 30th, 2011 2:07 AM

    The racist/chola remarks re: Mi Vida Loca are repulsive. This is the first and last time I’ll ever visit Rookie.

    • Anaheed November 30th, 2011 2:21 AM

      What did you think was racist? I’m really curious!

  • NatashaRose November 30th, 2011 10:22 AM

    I’m with Syd that brought up DeathProof, Shamefully neglected. Sure the first group of girls are typical slash film bimbos (and considering they’re just the film’s disposable ditzes, they have surprising depth and are still pretty bad-ass) but group número dos is in all seriousness, THE SHIT!! Mary-Elizabeth Winstead, Tracie Thoms, Rosario Dawson, and Zoe Bell are cool, smart, funny, bad to the bone ladies. I mean for heaven sakes Alvy, Zoe Bell didn’t have a stunt double throughout the movie (regardless if she use to be one) that’s her the entire time hanging on for dear life on the hood of that 1970 Dodge Challenger with a 440 engine. Bad. Ass.

  • inkandhonesty April 14th, 2013 11:56 PM

    Runaways is my favorite movie of all time. I love it. So much. It made me by their album and a lot of Joan Jett’s songs and listen to them 24/7. It also made me forget Twilight and appreciate Dakota as a serious actress and as an amazing person.
    But I was surprised Clueless wasn’t listed here.