Crossroads [retro viewing]

You have now entered Hell. Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

Justin: We begin watching the karaoke music video, which we sang along with (in addition to adding our own lines that shan’t be repeated here). Oh, the pain of Britney descends upon us all, but we must endure.

PoolMan: Ooh, a rating for mild sexual content and teen drinking. Yikes. I like Britney’s special DVD welcome, complete with that southern accent that somehow never makes it into interviews, or the rest of the movie.

J: Our movie opens with three little girls putting their “dreams” (read: “friend’s murdered body”) in the ground. Okay, what little girl ANYwhere thinks ahead to burying a time capsule box to dig up upon high school graduation? I mean, do kids that old even think of high school?

BRITNEY UNDERWEAR SINGING ALERT! Contact your local pedophile.

P: Another good warning sign… the movie begins with a montage of Britney dancing around in her underwear to Madonna music. Thankfully, Dan Aykroyd comes in to interrupt for you…

J: There is NO way she came from the jeans of Ray Stantz. I want to slap Britney as she rolls her eyes at the dad who was kind enough to iron her graduation robe for her. Spoiled brat. Oh, and apparently Britney is a virgin, if you haven’t heard. The mother of Jesus now has competition for miraculous sexual mysteries.

Hey, there’s Justin Long from Ed! What’s a decent actor doing in a girl-girl-girl flick? He ain’t getting lucky, that’s for sure. I’m handing this back to Pooly, as Britney is entering a “crying” scene and I need the Kleenex.

P: I have to admit, three minutes in, and the acting still isn’t that terrible. Justin’s snorting as I type, but it’s not too bad. However, they’re taking great pains to establish the black girl as the enemy. Uh huh… Britney’s the ignored one. Ms Spears is the unpopular girl. This MUST be a movie.

I like Justin Long’s plaid cummerbund. Sweet.

J: I don’t know which girl I want to kill yet. It’s gonna be a close finish. And yes, the acting is absolutely HORRIBLE. What is it with actors and actresses that makes them incapable of acting like normal teenagers? I’ve already run through three vocal “poor Britneys” as she’s been the smart-yet-ignored-and-dating-Justin-Long one. I have no sympathy for incredibly gorgeous movie characters that somehow are portrayed as the outcast.

BRITNEY LINGERIE ALERT! Teen boys everywhere have already seen all of this movie that they’re gonna, so it’s just us from now on. Unfortunately.

Let the pink begin.

Wow, this sex scene is so awkward to render me forever sterile, even with Britney in her tiny pinkies.

P: Hahaha… the checkerboard effect between Justin and Britney in bed, with his pale, pale skin and her constant tan is hilarious.

Okay, so now they’re digging up the time capsule they buried years previous, and what a shock, the three characters who obviously hate each other are suddenly all getting together again. It’s worth mentioning the box is not dirty, nor is the bag it was buried in. Ew, Bridal Barbie! And Britney wishes for her Mommy! And punk rock girl wishes for the world! I could just vomit! I’m suddenly embarrassed by my earlier “okay acting” comments.

J: The Barbie squeal is priceless. Barbie makes life worth living again. Let me sum up the three main leads and their one-sentence characterizations thus far. Britney is the dreamy blonde who is trying incredibly hard to be Diane from Say Anything. The black girl is the snooty, too rich for TV one with hidden vulnerabilities. The punky chick is pregnant and apparently an idiot natural.

DAN AKYROYD ALERT! Oh, Dan, why couldn’t this movie be about you?

P: Okay, so now Britney’s sneaking out to go on the big road trip to California so Pregnant Punk Grrl can be a singer. Oh, and a rumoured ex-con is going to drive them! I bet the girls’ skeletons won’t decorate the Arizona badlands two scenes from now!

I’m noticing this is a “soundtrack movie”, but thankfully it’s not all Britney… yet. There’s some decent rock, probably in an attempt to distract attention from all the pinky and girly stuff onscreen. Oops… spoke too soon… BRITNEY IS SINGING, AND JUSTIN IS SCREAMING. At least the murderer/driver is looking appropriately disturbed by N Sync.

J: I seriously hope Dan Akyroyd disowns Britney after she returns home after running away. What a dip. Plus, none of the girls are wearing seatbelts in the car, so we are just praying that they hit a deer and three well-moisturized people go flying through a windshield. Token love interest shows up to be tortured by having to chauffeur three ditzy girls around, along with their horrible music. Britney is subscribing to the school of Looking Sad A Lot To Add Apparent Depth. Oh, shower scene, I’m passing this back over to Pooly.

BRITNEY IN A TOWEL ALERT! I’ve never wanted to be a razor so bad in my life… (with apologies to With Honors).

"I'm a loser, baby..."

P: Wow, J is really hoping for that towel to drop… he’s praying to alter gravity or something. Oh, and a bad remix of Rage’s I Could Just Kill a Man, to drive home the point that their driver is a rumoured killer. Brother. Subtlety, thy name is Crossroads!

Ah, some backstory on the engaged black girl, about her fiancée, who’s apparently a loser. And punk girl’s baby’s father, who is apparently also a loser. And we already know Britney’s dad is a loser. It’s so nice to be a man watching a girly movie. At least the murderer guy supplies some male comic relief, grimacing with disgust at nearly everything the girls do.

J: Dan is finally laying down the law. “That is a command!” And Britney hung up. She is so out of the will now.

Man, the forced interaction between the girls is painful. They all have a comprehension of a three-year-old of how the world works. Happily, they’ll all be dead in a ditch by the end credits (if we change the movie real quick to a horror flick, that is).

Britney whips out her vast mechanical skills, in addition to being allergic to clothes. Marriage material, definitely.

More forced discussion about high school cliques! Fortunately, this ground has never been covered in a movie before now.

CATFIGHT! CATFIGHT! Oh, where is a mud puddle! AH! Britney swore!

DURRRRR

P: I remember when this movie came out that people were outraged that Britney paraded around in her undies and swore. It was pretty major news. Yikes, way to exaggerate the importance of something.

Hahaha… #2 hangup on poor Pops. I smell running gag.

For some reason now, the girls who were in the process of tearing each other apart in the previous scene are begging each other to stay without any justification whatsoever. Me love logic!

J: Ah, the midriff. I knew Britney would break that bad puppy out sooner or later. Her hair looks like a poodle got caught in a scrunchie fight, if that makes any sense. At least Britney’s now getting her big break at a karaoke club! Good to know that punkie girl no longer has any special talent, since Britney now has a monopoly on the nekkid and musical properties. Maybe she’ll put a hotel on Midriff Ave.

P: Okay, so now we’re in the middle of the world’s slowest cover of I Love Rock and Roll. The crowd, which was just a second ago ready to cook and serve our three heroines as appetizers is now all up on its feet, throwing tips and cheering. Holy smokes. Okay, the ovation’s going on for about a full minute…

And they make a total of “enough for the car and the trip”. Who needs numbers?

And a fight breaks out over who gets to grope Ms Spears… come on, my kingdom for a screenwriter!

J: What runs through my mind, other than the enormous tracts of land that Britney keeps displaying (and funny how the other female leads have

Prepare to get hung up on, dude.

more clothes on than a medieval nun), is wondering if girls anywhere actually watch this movie as a bonding experience. Ten years from now, will college chicks talk wistfully about the days where they and their slumber party friends would do each other’s hair while listening to Britney talk about how hard her life is?

PENIS TOUCHING CONVERSATION ALERT! Please, exit the building in a calm and organized manner.

P: So… much… giggling…

It’s starting to really dawn on me that this may have been a mistake. I mean, we knew “bad movie” was inevitable, but this is really slowing down. It’s running back and forth with almost impossible moments of giggly hilariousness to slow, dragging, depressing talks about (once again) how men are scum and how great it is to be three girls who are best friends. Gag…

J: We all know how a mere road trip can fix all wrongs in one’s life, and this one’s definitely going to fix punkie chick. As she no longer has her musical dreams to rely upon, all she has going for her in the script is her pregnancy, which – according to the back of the video box, where it has warnings of violence and sex and such – she won’t have much longer anyway. Road trips, fix all bad stuff. Missing the mother who deserted you? Road trip. Need to learn how to appreciate life fully? Road trip. Faulty credit report? Road trip. Out of touch with your local criminal element? Road trip!

As I write this, I look over at Sean, watching the screen wistfully as the girls are singing to Shania Twain. It really makes him look youthful, with that wide-eyed expression.

P: Wow, ex-con is reading some godawful set of lines about hating being around girls, and girl talk, and being surrounded by girls, and how his car is the “one thing that hasn’t been taken over by chicks”. Deep as a puddle, folks.

Oh, we know EXACTLY what you're going through.

Justin’s just pointed out to me that they seem hellbent on never driving on highways… they’re taking every possible back road from Florida to California. Interesting approach.

Thank goodness, we’ve learned Mr Ex-Con isn’t really a murderer (gasp!), he just drove someone’s kid across a state line. Thank goodness, the dramatic tension was starting to kill me.

J: Excuse me while I pause for a few minutes of unbridled laughter. The big bad criminal token love interest reveals his sordid past, and darn it all, it comes out making him more noble than Lincoln freeing the slaves. Heck, after this admission, *I* want to marry him.

Black chickadee has some big-ass rollers on. She looks like her head might be a landing zone for stuntmen needing severe cushioning.

Dialogue you never want to hear in a movie:

    Him: What are you writing?
    Britney: Poems, mostly.
    Him: Can I hear one?
    Audience: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P: So Britney actually reads out lyrics from Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman. I’m looking for a means of ending my life.

Yes, her co-stars are in this scene during the concert. Look closer.

I’m noticing that that the girls are always EXTREMELY made up. There is SO much makeup on these girls they must be stopping at every single Revlon stand they come across.

Oh boy! It’s Kim Cattrall! And she’s not incredibly excited to see Britney! Complete with stunted dialogue! Excellent! Off to purge again!

J: The entire, and I do mean entire, audience knew that Britney is going to be shot down by the mother-who-abandoned-her from the first minute in the film, but apparently there isn’t enough RAM in her head to process the odds of this happening. I don’t feel sorry for her in the least. Her bubblegum-pink ensembles will keep her going.

By the way, Noble Criminal Boy keeps wearing this hat that makes him look a lot like Ricky from American Beauty. “Heyyy Britney, want to see the most beautiful thing in the world? Oh, you’re showing off your cleavage, that’s all I need.”

P: Speaking of pink ensembles, that’s not just Justin imagining things. I think Britney’s had ONE outfit thus far that didn’t look like a reject from Legally Blonde.

So now criminal-boy and Britney are in the bathroom dissecting the conversation with Momma. My insides are tearing up, and I don’t mean because it’s a beautiful scene.

“I don’t have a mother.”
“Well you have us, the friends who have hated you since the first scene in this damn movie!”

J: Here’s what just happened:

    Criminal Boy: Do you still have that poem you wrote?
    PoolMan: He’s going to SET IT TO MUSIC!
    Justin: NOOOOOOOOO!!!

    AHHH! THE PINKNESS!

Honestly, do you think Britney ever, ever, ever had pimples? A single day with a bad complexion? A night without a thousand male supermodels hunkering at the foot of her bed?

P: So they sing their little song, and I start cringing. Justin attempts to reassure me that Glitter was worse. I cringe some more.

KISSING ALERT! 68 minutes in, Britney and The Thug kiss after their song, and Justin’s started a timer to see how long until they have sex. He says five minutes, and I’m inclined to agree.

HAHAHAHA… the guy starts singing along full scream to Sheryl Crowe… very, very funny. I love making a mess of girly music too.

J: BRITNEY BIKINI ALERT! Her boobs seem to be reappearing and disappearing depending on the outfits. She also keeps wearing those upside-down bucket hats that make any girl look 12 years old and slightly slow. Sure, maybe we’re focusing too much on her fashion and figure, but what else is there to talk about? The Oscar-winning performances? The special effects? The awesome poetry of Britney that rivals even Jewel’s?

Oh, I think I’m going to lose my five minute prediction, but just barely. They’re alone in a hotel room together at the Kiss-plus-five mark.

P: BRITNEY SEX ALERT! 6.5 minutes from first kiss to sex scene, and in front of an open window to boot. By the way, Justin talking dirty is something you DO NOT need in your life. “Oh yeah, Britney, you like that, don’t you?”

Hey, it’s time to meet the fiancée! And he’s hiding some hot woman in his apartment! Well, by “hot”, I mean “trashy”. Oh, and he keeps drinking as he tells her the wedding’s off. AND he’s the father of Punk Girl’s kid. This just gets better.

J: Okay, the Crossroads universe is a lot like the Star Wars universe, in that there are only about ten major characters, and they’re all – ALL – somehow related to each other. The black chickie’s boyfriend (who cheated on her, of course, of course) is the same guy who raped punk chickie and is the father of her child, who doesn’t make it past the scene (the baby, that is). As sad and really disorienting as this whole scene is, at least Britney shows up for the sad part in her HOT. PINK. SWEATER. It makes everything better! And Dan is back!

Poems, makeup and girl talk. The horror never really ends here.

P: I can admit, it’s nice that at least this movie isn’t constantly focused on Britney. The other characters aren’t just secondary diversions, they’re really there to drive the story… what little story there is, but still. At least it’s not a 2 hour camera-on-Britney event.

More tears as Punk Girl loses the baby, and No Longer Engaged Girl feels all guilty about it. Justin struggles to compose proper lesbian jokes.

Hahaha…. Good moment.

    Britney: God, doesn’t it feel like we left home a million years ago?
    Justin: Yes, yes it does.

J: It’s a weird movie where Britney actually has on way more clothes for her sex scene than in her opening scene.

See, Daddy Dan is being very responsible and a pretty good dad for coming to get them and not yelling at Britney as much as she deserves, but the body language of everyone is saying that he’s being a tool for some reason. Oh, and Britney runs away YET AGAIN. Remember folks, stray pop stars should go straight to the pound for a little painless injection. It’s only humane.

P: And we wind up at the big audition (that was originally for Punk Girl, if you’re paying attention), and Britney’s coated in pink, showing off the midriff, and lip syncing to the soundtrack. It really does amuse when the note that’s being sung is a steady note, and her lips are shaking in huge vibrato.

Wow, Dan Aykroyd’s just getting his chance to shine in this scene. He’s just sitting there, grinning like a fool and tearing up. And the judges… oh my god, they’re leaning on each other and smiling like they’re addicted to Prozac! Wow, that’s just beautiful.

J: PoolMan: “Oh, they’re BURYING CRAP again! Oh, they’re not burying it in the ocean!”

This karaoke bar has a stripper dance pole. Britney is seconds away from leaping over to Showgirls.

You know we’re at the end of the movie when it comes to the Britney music video. Could they shove her two friends any further back on the stage? I mean, you might make them out if you pause your DVD and use the zoom function, but that would just be an easter egg.

Horrible end credits “outtakes”. They somehow gloss over all the cast and crew suicides that were caused by being affiliated with this movie. For shame. This is your humble mutant reviewer, saying “GACK!” and feeling very anti-pink right now.

P: I have to admit, there’s been bigger wastes of my life, but this movie seriously permanently burned some of my synapses out. And I quite agree, my retinas are quite tired of trying to encode “pink” to my brain.

Oh, Justin’s now playing with the “make your own video” feature. I WILL BE HEARING I’M NOT A GIRL NOT YET A WOMAN AS I FALL ASLEEP FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS. KILL ME NOW.

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