Teen movies of the new millennium have legitimately lost their edge. 2004’s Mean Girls was decent but played it too safe. The 1999 theatrical release of the movie Jawbreaker marked the first real attempt at a dark teen comedy in a style reminiscent to the 1988 hit film Heathers. Panned by critics and ignored at the box office, it still managed to obtain cult classic status and remains one of my all-time favorite movies. I have yet to see another teen film that dares to take the risks Jawbreaker did.
Below are ten reasons why I think you should start cherishing Jawbreaker and stop giving Mean Girls so much undeserved hype:
1. BULLYING ASIDE, THERE’S AN ACTUAL MURDER
This 90’s movie gets straight to the point, having the story begin with a high-school clique of popular girls unintentionally murdering their best friend during a birthday prank gone horribly wrong. Mean Girls doesn’t even try to touch any subject matter of this sort.
I’ll never forget the image of their deceased BFF in the trunk with that giant jawbreaker protruding from her neck.
2. THERE’S AN UNDERSTANDABLE MAKEOVER
Dowdy Fern Mayo (Judy Greer) gets transformed into the mysterious Vylette, as HBIC Courtney’s favor for keeping her mouth shut about witnessing her clique’s concealment of their friend’s murder. The only makeover Lindsay Lohan underwent as Cady Herron in Mean Girls was dressing slightly better and wearing cosmetics.
3. COURTNEY SHAYNE MAKES REGINA GEORGE SEEM TOO NICE
This movie got Rose McGowan a nomination for Best Villain at the MTV Movie Awards. She didn’t win but really should have. Her portrayal of high-school queen bee and stylish femme fatale, Courtney Shayne, was spot on. Her character murdered her best friend, creatively covered it up, insulted her peers and pushed Vylette into a mirror until it cracked. Courtney Shayne was the ruthless high-school ruler Regina George wishes she could have been.
4. THEIR SCHOOL RULES WERE MORE INTENSE
The popular girls in Jawbreaker didn’t exclude pink to Wednesdays. What they did do was ensure they were never seen eating publicly, changing their personas to attract mass popularity, all while being unapologetically aggressive with men in order to get what they want. The ladies of Mean Girls seemed tame in comparison.
5. SPEAKING OF TAME, THE SEX IN THIS MOVIE IS ANYTHING BUT
The scene between Courtney, her hookup, and a popsicle is infamous. If you’ve seen Jawbreaker, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This movie doesn’t hide the fact that some of its characters like to get down and dirty, or sticky. Mean Girls did a lot of alluding while Jawbreaker got straight to the point.
6. EVEN THE FASHION WAS DARING
Do you remember Courtney’s sleeveless sweater with sheer cutouts, Julie’s groovy white framed rose-colored-lens sunglasses, or Vylette’s hot pink t-shirt with the word “bitch” emblazoned across it in black? The fashion from Jawbreaker is unforgettable and makes you miss some of the better styles people embraced in the 90’s.
7. THE AWESOME CELEBRITY CAMEOS
From Tatyana Ali to Marilyn Manson, Jawbreaker featured a surprising cast of well known and unknown actors. Even legendary female action star, Pam Grier, had a role in the film as the sassy detective investigating the murder of Liz Purr. Mean Girls was written by Tina Fey and featured new faces, familiar faces and some former SNL alumni, but Jawbreaker definitely wins for its riskier casting choices.
8. THE EPIC PROM FINALE
Not only were The Donnas the performing band in the movie’s prom, but the scene simultaneously documenting the rise and fall of Courtney Shayne was classically executed. Rose McGowan really did own this role and all of the corsages people pelted at her as she made her exit into social exile. Mean Girls‘s Cady Herron shares her Spring Fling Queen tiara with the school and disbands its clique of popular girls, which would unlikely occur in reality. Again, Jawbreaker wins for its consistent edginess.
9. THE MANY ONE-LINERS
No classic teen movie goes without its fair share of memorable one-liners and Jawbreaker is chock full of them. The reason I would choose its one-liners over the ones featured in Mean Girls is because of the excessive cussing and unforgiving tone they possess. I can’t say it enough. Mean Girls was too nice.
10. THE HALLWAY SCENES
Jawbreaker officially started the whole popular-clique-walking-down-a-high-school-hallway-to-cool-music scene and Mean Girls blatantly copied it. Hell, these kinds of scenes have become a teen movie standard nowadays and Jawbreaker definitely deserves its credit for pioneering that.
You may still prefer Mean Girls over Jawbreaker after reading this and you’re completely subject to that opinion. But the truth is, Jawbreaker is a fantastic movie and I wish more teen comedies dared to get as dark as it did without being as nice as Mean Girls, farcical as Heathers or as poorly executed as Jennifer’s Body.