High School Movie Showdown: The Mean Girls

Welcome to the High School Movie Showdown, a new Friday FabOoolousness series here at The Ooo Factor!  At least once a month, we’ll take two popular movies in the teenage genre and pit them against one another.  We’ll feature the classics (like Grease), some popular Generation Xers (like Cluelesss), and some that are a bit more recent to the scene (like Project X).

First up, the mean girls…

Pretty much everyone is familiar with or has lived through high school cliques and mean girls.  And for the most part, we all survived or are in the process of surviving.  But no matter how hard we try, these two obstacles will live on and continue to haunt teens for generations to come.

Not long ago, as I flipped through the channels, I happened upon Heathers.  Like I do with a handful of the ‘80s classics I have seen numerous times, I sat down and watched the film again from start to finish. I say again because it had to be at least the twentieth time…  And while the movie might be a tad dated, from the outfits, to the actual clarity of the frames, it reminded me why it will forever be one of my favorite movies about high school.

Then again last night, as I was waiting for a new flick to begin, the particular movie channel I happened to be watching aired a commercial for their current features—Heathers being one of them.  The sound bite called the film, “the original mean girls.”

Which got me to thinking, when paired up side-by-side, which of these films would win—Heathers or Mean Girls?

Both films do share a few similarities: both are loaded with popular young actors from that particular generation (Heathers stars Christian Slater, Winona Ryder, and Shannen Doherty… and Mean Girls stars Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried), and the overall messages of the two movies are not all that different—in high school, everyone wants to fit in; no one wants to be a pariah; yet, everyone is awkward and insecure in one way or another; and more times than not, there’s always that one obstacle preventing them from shining, making them feel inferior… and often times, this obstacle can only be described in one way (well, two ways)—the Heathers and the Mean Girls.

Heather, Heather, Heather, and Veronica.

However, the two films are really nothing alike, the most important element being the fact that Heathers is a dark comedy and Mean Girls is a flat-out, laugh-out-loud comedy.  For instance, the main characters in Heathers play murderous games with their classmates, whereas the “Plastics” in Mean Girls are just plain mean.  Say what you will, but poisoning a friend, staging the said friend’s suicide, shooting classmates, and planning a bombing at a school function goes way beyond mean.  What did the girls in Mean Girls do again?  Oh yeah, they spread rumors, secrets, and gossip (although they do this as well in Heathers), and played tricks on one another.

Cady, Karen, Gretchen, and Regina.

Bottom line, both films were popular in their day.  And both will achieve cult classic success and live on through their fans year after year.  But which one would win in a head to head battle?  The Heathers, and Veronica and J.D., or the Plastics and Miss Cady?

I say Heathers.

How about you?  Heathers or Mean Girls?  I’d love to hear from you!

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28 Responses to High School Movie Showdown: The Mean Girls

  1. I’ve never seen either of these movies, but I think I would like them both. Judging by the clips, I would have to go with Heather.

    On a morbid note. I noticed one of the girls in Mean Girls is named Regina George. There was a girl by that name murdered in my town. I knew her family. TMI, right?

    • I know I recommend a lot of stuff, Lauralynn, but you should really check out Heathers. It’s a cult classic. 🙂

      You’re kidding me? I’m sorry to hear that… did they catch her killer? I’m fascinated with true crime stories. Now that’s morbid!

      • I’m not sure if they caught her killers. She was missing for a long time before they found her body. Then, later, her brother was also murdered (he was in my class in elementary school). The two murders were totally unrelated. The brother’s wife killed him. I can’t make this stuff up.

      • That is crazy!! I would never accuse you of making this stuff up. How very sad for that family.

  2. tomwisk says:

    As a middle-aged male I’ve got no say. The creepiness factor of me watching those movies is waaaay off the scale. Anyway the last teen movie I saw was Breakfast Club.

    • The Breakfast Club will ALWAYS be one of my faves, Tom. Hughes made some great films in the ’80s.

      And regarding the creepiness factor of you watching either of these movies, Heathers isn’t nearly as much a chick-flick as Mean Girls. If you ask me. My guy has watched it numerous times with me. He probably didn’t want to after the first time, but he laughs along with it anyway. 🙂

  3. Emma says:

    I adore Heathers. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater were so good in this. “Why are you such a mega bitch?” “Because I can be.” – ah, hate those mean girls.
    Mean Girls is way more lightweight. Heathers wins hands down.

    • I love that line, Emma!! hahahahaha

      Do you watch Deception? They had a good one this week. My mom would disapprove, considering it’s an “s” word, but I loved it: “Shut Up. I don’t like you.” Deception has some great hateful and mean girl-esque lines…

  4. Heathers by a mile. THe dialogue in Heathers is just greatness. “Great pate dad, but I got to motor if I’m going to make it to the funeral.” Normal parent/high school child conversation.

  5. Fabio Bueno says:

    I like both, but Heathers threw way more curveballs at me. Heathers FTW!
    Great idea, by the way!

  6. Jess Witkins says:

    Oh Heathers for sure! They were way more vicious! The site of croquet makes me shudder!

  7. andrewmocete says:

    You’re right, you can’t really compare the two, but as far as teen movies go, nothing beats Heathers. Has there been a line better than “Eff me gently with a chainsaw.” in any movie since? I think not. But forget that it’s a “teen” movie, it’s head and shoulders above most movies in any genre. Way too unique to be copied and way too awesome to be forgotten. Mr. Mocete has spoken.

  8. Julie Glover says:

    I can’t believe that I never saw Heathers, but I didn’t. Nor have I seen Mean Girls. I do think the girl-bully theme rings true for many generations of teens.

  9. Catie Rhodes says:

    I loved Heathers back when I first saw it in the 80s. I love the part where JD (Slater) pretend-shoots Ram and Kurt in the caf. I still howl every time I see that. And the thing with the corn nuts. Hahahaha.

    I was past 30 when Mean Girls came out. I found your point that it was a lot more gentle than Heathers. But I think that’s a sign of the times. In many ways, we’ve become a more gentle society (which is not always a good thing).

    • I agree. I’ve watched a lot of ’80s movies here recently that I also watched back when I was a kid and I am kinda shocked with the dialogue and the storylines… YA isn’t as blatant as it used to be. I don’t mind it either way, as long as the writing is good.

  10. I think Heathers, because it’s darker and violent, makes you think more about the issues in it. Mean Girls pretty much trivialises how cruel teenagers (especially girls) can be. Heathers wins, hands down.

    • I agree 100%, Clare. Heathers makes you think about just how bad certain things can be… and get… and how vulnerable teenagers can be. Mean Girls just makes it look fun.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Amber West says:

    I don’t think I ever watched Heathers, but Mean Girls is one of those movies I was surprised at how much I liked it. (Of course, I think Tina Fey is a very funny writer, so it shouldn’t have surprised me)

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