Crossroads (2002)

I took this on with some trepidation.

Yes, this is Crossroads, aka the Britney Spears movie. It was released thirteen years ago during a time where there was no one on Earth bigger than her.  It was also during a time where my cynical self was in a “I only listen to REAL music” phase and found to even give her my time was the equivalent to selling out.

Which brings us to present day where I sat down and finally watched this slice of an era that doesn’t exist anymore.  I came out with my mind broadened and an appreciation for everyone who worked on this film.

Side anecdote, I was once booked in a comedy show with a girl who looked a lot like Britney Spears.  When someone brought it up, she informed us that years back, she was on the same label as Britney, was geared up for a music career and then was dropped when the label didn’t feel like they could support two blondes with a penchant for low rise jeans and crop tops.  She was drunk and bitter and when it came time to do her set, she went on stage and did ten minutes of Britney Spears impressions.  The crowd was nonplussed but I was fascinated.

Back to Crossraods.  Don’t get me wrong, its a terrible movie that’s weirdly dark and horrifying. The fun happy poster that you’re looking at is not the actual movie. Instead, its the story of dreams stolen by other people, a girl with an eating disorder and another girl who travels across the country to face her rapist.

Here was my first kicker. This was written by Shonda Rimes.

Yes – THAT Shonda Rimes. Really makes you wonder about the world we live in today.  Also, explains a lot with the whole traumatized teenage girl thing.

We open with a flashback of three girls burying crap in someone’s back yard. As you do at that age. One girl puts in bridal Barbie, one girl puts in a locket and the other puts a keychain with globe on it. They promise to be friends forever and then bury the box under about four inches of dirt, which we all know is the most secure way to keep something for a long period of time.

And then we get to this part:

We all know why this movie was made, right? I don’t need to harp on and on about the exploitative nature of the machine that was Britney Spears from 1999-2007, right?

On a unrelated note, props to Britney to following her own directions. She put up a sign in her bedroom instructing her where she couldn’t stand and she obeyed it.

Zoe Saldana is in this. So is Justin Long and Taryn Manning.  This movie is a who’s who of people would later go on and be fairly big deals in their field. This movie likes to pretend that all that matters is Britney, but oh no. You do not put in people like Gamora and Pennsatucky and ask me not to acknowledge it.

Story wise, Britney and Zoe now hate each other despite bury stuff together in backyards so many years ago. Zoe’s the pretty popular girl and apparently this is the universe where Britney is nerdy and bookish.  How will they ever get along?

Maybe if we go and dig up our old crap, that’ll jog our memory.

Not only does it work, but when Pennsatucky asks them to go to Los Angeles the next day so she can go to an open audition for a record label, there’s some hesitation until Britney and Zoe remember that Britney has a mom in Arizona she’s never seen and Zoe has a fiancee at UCLA that never calls her back.

So naturally, a roadtrip is in order. And what’s a roadtrip without a cool drink of water like this knitted cap of hunkiness?

I don’t remember this character’s name. I do know his real name is Anson Mount and he’s on a show about trains these days.  The important thing about his character is that he served jail time for possibly murder but definitely for carting a minor across stateliness. So we’re good for letting him drive other minors across state lines.
The pros for having him around are that he has a car and he’s a mechanic. Something that sort of fails when the car breaks down and Britney has to tell him what’s wrong with it.  Being teenagers who don’t think plans through, they don’t have any money which naturally means they have to find some karaoke contest nearby to perform in.
Naturally in this universe, there’s always a karaoke contest and in it you’re an amazing singer.  Given that this was Penssatucky’s dream, she naturally was going to be front and center, but she gets nervous and can’t do it. Britney is Britney Spears. She’ll do it and the crowd will dig whatever she does.

 And this being the rules of the universe, they raise all the money they need. And then some, because now they can afford a hotel room.

They stay up all night talking about how Pennsatucky got raped and how Gamora has a eating disorder because of her mom. Also Britney is a virgin. Not sure if we were all clear on that last point.

Speaking of which, this movie makes it pretty clear why this guy came on the trip. Its not his car fixing skills. You get one guess.

I’ll wait here….

Okay then…

Is there a “Southern University”? Both my heart and the internet says no, but this movie says yes, so I don’t know what to think.

So Britney writes poetry. Its just the lyrics to “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”. She reads them out loud and when that happens, it doesn’t read like poetry. It reads like a 14 year old’s diary who just happened to rhyme the word “Time” and “Mine”.  Doesn’t matter. Anson is knows exactly what he’s doing and will therefore act super impressed at her writing skills.

I have never done this with anyone, much less at a gas station. Do people really do this in real life?

Despite the fact this road trip has felt like its taken maybe a day and a half, they’ve reached Arizona and Britney’s about to go meet her real mother. Its a complete surprise drop in and only in this universe would you know the exact address and the fact that your real mom happened to be home at that time.

Mom of course being Samantha from Sex and the City who now wears outfits that are color coordinated with her home decor. Britney, on the other hand looks as though she’s arrived to be the human Easter egg to be hidden for the kids to find.

Plot wise, Samantha informs her that she doesn’t want Britney, doesn’t want to know her and has three other kids that she likes way better.

So thanks for dropping in, Britney!

So what’s a girl to do? Well, you drive to Malibu and give your virginity to that one guy who pretended to like your crappy poem.  He even tinkered on the piano to make some melodies to go with it.  Clearly, you’re acing this whole decision making process, despite being overprotected by your father, Dan Aykroyd.

I like a man who’s experienced about carting underage girls over statelines too.

This movie has promised me that this movie isn’t all about Britney, so we follow Zoe and Pennsatucky to UCLA to visit Zoe’s fiancee where this movie takes a cold hard turn into the darkness of the soul.  She catches him cheating on her AND realizes that he date raped Pennsatucky, making this two for one in the coincidence department.

What makes it worse is that Pennsatucky comes face to face with her rapist and trips on carpet causing her to lose the baby.

GUH.

The worse part of this is that its treated like such a flyaway C plot. Sorry Britney virginity – but this is a more pressing issue and a way better movie.

Also an interesting way to link this to the Orange is the New Black universe.

The movie quickly skips over this horrifying incident and to the big record label audition.  After all, the whole reason this trip happened was so that Pennsatucky could be the first pregnant pop star (her words, not mine, and also she wouldn’t be the first).  But if we learned anything from the karaoke scene, she’s not as pretty or wanted as Britney, so naturally, she gives up yet more dreams.

If they had reedited this movie so Pennsatucky was the hero and Britney was the villain, it would have been waaaaay better.

No matter.

Britney does her awkwardly titled “Not a Girl” song with a full band accompanying her and her friends as back up (adding further insult to Pennsatucky). We don’t know exactly what happened from there, but we’re guessing everything worked out perfectly which is what you should expect when you runaway from home, hook up with the first guy you meet and use other people’s misfortunes to get a showbiz career.

Lessons learned all around.

Did you know I wrote a book? Its called The Girls Guide to the Apocalypse and can be purchased in either physical or digital versions from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or iBooks. Its got a lot of positive buzz and if you like my snarky sensibilities here, then it might be for you.  No pop stars were injured in the making of it.

As always, follow me on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook!