There’s something about the middle of the summer that always had me aching to be with my friends every single minute of the day. Nobody felt like being alone at home, so you’d get into the kind of trouble that usually happens when the sun goes down. These highly quotable and equally stylish movies remind me of that summer freedom we so desperately yearn for when fall is just around the corner.
The stoner lines in Dazed and Confused (1993) stuck with me long before I ever tried weed. Pothead conspiracy theorist Slater (Rory Cochrane) went on a hilarious tangent about the first president: “Behind every good man there is a woman, and that woman was Martha Washington, man, and every day George would come home, she would have a big fat bowl waiting for him, man, when he come in the door, man, she was a hip, hip, hip lady, man.” Along with such memorable gems, the movie came with an awesome soundtrack and starred a bunch of then-unknown peeps like Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg, Milla Jovovich, and ’90s indie queen Parker Posey in her first major role as Darla, a real COOL beyotch. I wanted to be like Darla and the other seniors who tortured those poor freshman girls SO BAD. (Sadly when I was a senior and half-joked to my friends about spraying ketchup and mustard on the newbz, nobody was down. WHATEVA.) The film takes place on the last day of school in Texas in 1976, hence all the shorts. Get a pair like these star-printed hot pants and wear them with a cute halter, or make your own “Senior” shirt with some iron-on letters from the craft store!
Reality Bites (1994) was such a huge part of my teenhood. All I wanted to do was dance to “My Sharona” in a gas station convenience store, engage in witty, pop culture-referencing repartee, and debate the meaning of irony while unknowingly falling in love with my best dude friend, à la Lelaina (Winona Ryder) and Troy (Ethan Hawke.) But my favorite character was Vickie, played by Janeane Garofalo. She wore ’60s minidresses, strappy platforms, baby bangs, and red lipstick. SOMEBODY HAND ME A MIRROR, I think I turned into Vickie! She carried an old lunchbox tin as a purse, a trend I seriously wish would come back and stay forever. I had three: a neon New Kids on the Block lunchbox, a really cool Universal Monsters one, and a rusted Peanuts tin, which I had spray-painted and shellacked collages of Pat Smear and Drew Barrymore onto and glued faux fur around the edges. Sounds awesome right? Look for old lunchboxes while thrifting and on Etsy. Check out this cool Muppets one from the ’70s!
Kids (1995) was a really hard movie to watch, because it showed the dark reality of what can happen when people get too reckless with their bodies. Unfolding over the course of 24 hours, it depicts the lives of a few New York City teenagers, and their lives included STDs, underground raves, and drug-induced, unprotected sex that caused me and my vagina to scream “Nooo!” a few times. This was also our introduction to Chloe Sevigny, who, like Parker Posey, soon became a beloved indie “It” girl. She played Jennie, the tragic heroine who finds out she contracted HIV after her first and only sexual encounter. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Chloe when I watched this movie for the first time. There’s something about her that’s so effortlessly cool. While her clothes were simple–a blue ringer tee, flared jeans, and a red canvas military-style belt–this ensemble, paired with her pixie cut, came together in a way that undoubtedly made girls everywhere grab their scissors. If you’ve been thinking about cutting your locks for the summer, let Jennie’s hair inspire you.
When Ghost World (2001) came out, I was so stoked to see how costume designer Mary Zophres translated Enid’s look from the graphic novel. It was hard doing just a four-photo collage, because she has SO MANY CUTE CLOTHES! While mostly in vintage dresses throughout the movie, Enid still manages to play around with her look constantly. She’s a rebel girl always struggling to stand apart from everybody else. Her fashion sense was fun and kind of unpredictable, so I looked forward to what she was wearing from scene to scene. In a couple of them, she sports a blue dinosaur RAPTOR shirt, which you can actually find on Etsy, as well as a punk-inspired look that included a brief flirtation with green hair. She remains a TRUE CLASSIQUE more than a decade later. ♦