TROOP BEVERLY HILLS (1988)

Lets talk about this masterpiece. Chances are, you’ve already seen it, loved it and think about it  and stumbled on this post. If so, then lets chat about what’s possibly the finest film ever made. At least the best ever made about being a Girl Scout in Beverly Hills.

If you don’t know what its about, well all you need to know is that Shelley Long IS Phyllis Neffler, a soon to be divorcee living in Beverly Hills, who takes over her daughters Wilderness Girls troop and teaches them what its really like to survive life. You know who really gets the life lesson here? Phyllis Neffler. And she does it in glorious 80s style.

So instead of going through characters and themes of this movie, lets talk about the important lessons we learned from this movie.

1.  Always look on the positive side of things.

Its hard to get Phyllis down. Her husband is leaving her and has forced a mirror in her face of what her life is REALLY about. Despite it being harsh news, she takes it like a champ and decides to challenge herself doing something she’s never done before.  Hello, Wilderness Girls!

2.   Money isn’t everything, but friends and family are.

Something about these kids brings this out. Phyllis’ social life is a bit of a mystery. She has her Joan Collins-esque friend…

…who’s fabulous in her own way, but what kind of support does she really have? Hello, Wilderness Girls! Where would she be without them? Like in my life, there’s this woman named Marilyn in the finance department who sends out emails saying we need to cut back on Office Depot orders but she’s not realizing that if you have friends in other departments, they can make orders for you.

3.  You can take anything and make it glamorous.

I hate camping. I’ve never been, but I can tell you now – nothing about it appeals to me. So when I see the way Phyllis Neffler camps, sign me up. She made fondue and took the girls to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Seriously, SIGN ME UP.

4.   If you’re unsure of anything in life, then make it your own.

Phyllis took a drab Wilderness Girls dress and turned it into MAGIC.

The structuring of that jacket isn’t what makes it magic. Its the fact that she saw something she didn’t like and did something about it. I hate khaki, but she makes a strong case for it. Marilyn from Finance likes to send out excel spreadsheet templates that make no sense. You take those templates and give her a pie chart. Shuts them up everytime.

5.  There is no enemy too great that you can’t take on.

Meet the Red Feathers. Sure, Tori Spelling is a member, but the important thing to consider is that every enemy has a weakness. There’s was also the one thing getting them ahead, which was their “Kill or be Killed” attitude. Maybe it works in the here and now, but it will catch up with you when you leave your mother in a ditch with a broken ankle.

6.  How to sell cookies.

Instead of going to door to door, make the market come to you. Stake out Jane Fonda’s Workout gym chains or coordinate a fabulous pool party at your house. Everyone likes cookies – including Marilyn from finance who takes the boxes in the breakroom home with her every week.

And never underestimate the power of working the crowd with a heart pumping choreographed number:

7.   If you don’t like how people make you earn their approval, then make your own merit badges.

Maybe you’ll never be in a situation where you have to learn how to make a campfire or bind a wound. Thats because that’s not crucial to your environment. That’s when Phyllis stepped it up and had her girls learn truly useful things like how to appraise jewelry and how to be active in your community.

Those are some fabulous patches.

8.  You can’t “win” him back. You can only make yourself attractive for the world.

Man, Freddy. This guy made all of his money with Phyllis at his side and then traded her in for a younger and hotter real estate agent. If your goals of self improvement involve winning a man back, then you’re doing it wrong. Win yourself back. If he’s a real man, he’ll see what he’s missing.

9.  Never let the bullies get you down.

Despite the emotional beat down Velda gave Phyllis, it never stopped her from offering her a smile and a cappucino. Velda never came around, but it didn’t matter in the end. Phyllis got to be the poster woman for Wilderness leadership and Velda settled back for a career in customer service. That’s how the universe works sometimes.

Also never get married in Reno. Because reasons.

10. Dress for the person you are, not the person that others want you to be.
Look, I take a stand against wearing sweatpants to work (although Marilyn in Finance feels differently as she has given up on life altogether), but other than that, every day is your own occassion and dress for whatever comes your way. 

I don’t know how one would sit in this either but does it really matter?

Is it culturally insensitive when you’re teaching the value of turquoise to all cultures?

Bet you don’t give up on gardening as quickly if you’re wearing this.

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FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe (2009)

Its almost Christmas, so naturally, its time to see what holiday themed selections you can find in the queue. In an odd power play by Netflix, you can watch Santa Baby 2 anytime you want, but Santa Baby is still unavailable. That being said, I have not seen the original, so I may be missing out on important story information. Maybe.

This was also a ABC Family original movie that premiered on December 13, 2009.  I didn’t tune in. Chances were I was making fun of this movie instead….

Moving on….

The plot for Santa Baby was surprisingly deeper than I originally thought.  Mary Class is the daughter of Santa and she’s more than just your average independent woman.  She has a job and a boyfriend. Talk about your juggling skills! Plus apparently last year, she got the North Pole in shape and delivered presents. Not sure why Santa dropped the ball, but maybe I should have watched the first movie before this one. Maybe Netflix should have helped me out.

The story is, Santa doesn’t feel like doing his job again, and Mary goes back, but Santa’s got a new assistant and she’s trouble. Spoiler alert: she’s an elf that wants to be Santa.

Anyway…

Mary throws fancy parties with tons of those little lights you put on Christmas trees.

And then her dad and his jazz trio show up to blow some tunes.

I’ve never hired my dad and his group to play any corporate events, but I’d certainly never kick him off stage. Especially since now its just a bass player and a saxophonist.

Being the avant garde musician he is, he wouldn’t have much credence if he wasn’t thrown in jail at least once.

 

Two vests in this scene and no acting is going on. Think about that.

 

Mary’s boyfriend and ex North Pole postal carrier has this look on his face the entire movie.  Case in point, he just learned that there’s puppies waiting for him back home.

Santa’s assistant Teri  is sort of the North Pole’s version of Tina Fey. She’s trying to keep order in a place that’s run by incompetant cartoonish versions of people.  So far, I’m on her side.

Posted this to show that they put Santa’s mic on under a very figure hugging sweater.
Also to show the moment this movie went from cutesy to Single White Female.
 Santa comes back from a drum circle.  Santa is in loose flowing robes. I do not approve of these wardrobe choices.
On no one’s Christmas list will you find the item “Want to see Santa in small white shorts.”
 This dog eats stew at the table.  Immediately, I want the movie to be about him.
Mary owns a porcelain figure of a deer in a suit, lounging in a chair and drinking wine.  This is horrible judgement and Teri’s case for North Pole management just gets better and better.
One thing this movie has in spades is montages. Just tons of montages. Here’s a montage of Luke playing hockey….
Here’s a montage of Mary just trying to have it all and make a teddy bear….
And a montage of Teri and Luke making cookies and having just a delightful time doing it….
 It turns out Teri’s a bad elf who is immediately guilty when confronted.  That being said, her jacket is fabulous.
Meanwhile in less stellar jackets, Mary and Santa are going to deliver toys with less precision than a bitter FedEx worker.
Lessons were learned, lives were juggled. Mary does significant damage to someone’s innocently parked SUV.  Because that’s a Christmas present everyone wants.
So here’s the lesson we take away from this: When a problem arises, just watch the first movie and see how you did it there. Then repeat. Hashtag it later with the word, Christmas.