Every other week I’m going to defend a movie that did not get that much love, but really should have. These are not unheard of classics or lost gems, but I feel that there was something in these films that a lot of people just missed or didn’t much care about. This week I’m looking at the 2001 music comedy. “Josie and The Pussycats“
Cast: Rachel Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, Tara Reid
Writers and Directors Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont
Based on the Hanna Barbara show of the late 70’s. “Josie and The Pussycats” follows a trio of rock girls who try their best to build an audience, but fail. This is because everyone listens to boy bands instead of rock. Keep in mind that when this movie opened NSync and Backstreet Boys were a big deal. The movie opens with a track by a popular boy group known as Dujour. The video shows all of their fans yelling and talking about how great they are(DuJour means friendship). This was a parody of the show Total Request Live. On that show they would play a song, but would then cut to random fans who would yell at the camera about how much they love the band and then give out some stupid shot outs to people we don’t know a thing about.
(Back Door Lover by DuJour.)
DuJour is on their way to a concert when their plane suddenly crashes.(DuJour means Crash Positions). The only known survivor of the crash was the band’s manager Wyatt (Alan Cummings) who now has to find the next big group for the Mega Record label run by Fiona(Parker Posey). Luckily for Wyatt he ends up running into the girls one night(well, to be fair he almost runs over them with his car) and offers them a contract without even hearing one song. This was poking fun at the whole Seattle Grunge era or The Los Angles Hair Metal days. Bands who were barely together are somehow giving a huge contract and tons of money just for sounding like others. Josie(Rachel Leigh Cook),Val(Rosario Dawson) and Melody(Tara Reid) vow they won’t let success go their head, and will remain friends forever. The band ends up becoming a huge hit with everyone, but not because of their music. It’s discovered later that subliminal messages were put into their songs to make people like them. Also advisers would put in messages to help sell their products to the masses as well. The filmmakers have fun with this element and use it throughout the feature. The part that made me laugh is when you see a quick message on a billboard that says “Can’t Hardly Wait” was underrated (Harry Elfont and Deborah Elfont directed both movies).
The movie does make fun(albeit very lightly) of those who like the style of music that DuJour plays, and maybe that’s why a lot of people did not care for it. As I mentioned before Backstreet Boys, NSync, 98 Degrees and many other boy bands were big in the mainstream during the time of this release. Rock groups and especially girl ones were not. To this day I still don’t think there is one, but I could recommend a few that should be big. The movie has fun poking jokes not only at the fans,and the artists but also at consumerism. Popular songs are used many times to help sell a product. I bet at one time you heard a song on a commercial and wanted to hear the whole thing. There was even a compilation CD of songs that were in commercials. This movie does have a few bad subplots involving the girls becoming distant when Josie gets most of the attention, and one involving the military wanting to use subliminal messages to get new recruits . But the main theme of how marketing can sometimes influence people’s taste in things is very sharp and dare I say it clever. This would be a good double feature with “Fight Club” in that both films share the same sort of hatred towards mass consumerism. The songs Josie and her friends made were not that bad and I hate to say kind of catchy for a teen rock band. The lyrics are very bubble gum pop, but it does have a slight edge to them which I enjoyed. In short it is not a bad pop song.
What do you think about this movie? Am I right in defending it. Please leave comments below Thanks for reading.