You know those weeknights when you go to the hottest clubs with your best friends and meet a strange guy who ends up being pretty cool, after a long day working at the pet store or telemarketing office? No?! Me either, but that’s the general plot of this 80’s cult classic MODERN GIRLS, based on a 1985 Playboy article. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds and that, along with the soundtrack, is pretty much why I love it. Below is my spoilery-summary of the movie but really, you can read it and still enjoy it because the movie as a whole makes no sense! And it’s a masterpiece.
I first stumbled upon Modern Girls on Netflix a few years back. I was in a bad place, sleeping on a friend’s cot in Queens and pretty much hiding under a blanket all weekend (breakups amirite?) Modern Girls became a nightly ritual, my bedtime story. Warm milk with legwarmers and neon body paint set to a new wave and 80’s indie pop soundtrack. It was a hot mess but I loved it and still do.
The movie starts with three best friends, Margo, Cece and Kelly working at their respective dead-end jobs. After a quick disco nap and characterization montage—Kelly agonizing over calling her expired-jar-of-mayonnaise-ex, Brad while listening to Depeche Mode, Cece talking to her dog about getting fired (ME) and Margo reading with a sexy-saxophone instrumental playing in the background (ALSO ME)—the girls take a disco nap and get ready to the tune of Toni Basil’s Girl’s Night Out. I know, I thought Mickey was her only song too.
The girls apartment is a hot mess, they need to do dishes! But who cares, because it’s time to hit the hottest clubs in LA and then…PLOT TWIST a handsome stranger arrives with some booze and a convertible to pick Kelly up for a date. Problem is, Kelly broke out ages ago (that means she left not that she has pimples) and now the girls are car-less. OR ARE THEY? After hypnotizing handsome-stranger Cliff into driving them to the club, the night of fun begins at the first destination, a warehouse like club with neon-painted dancers and mermaid costumed ladies. It’s totally weird! I want to go.
Cliff gets snubbed by Kelly, Kelly gets snubbed by bag of dicks DJ Brad, Cece meets pop star Bruno X who looks exactly like Cliff with a British accent, spiked hair and a leather trench (hint: played by the same actor) and falls in love with him and then the police come and they get separated. AHHHHH.
Kelly goes missing (she’s on drugs right now ya’ll bc of Brad) and Cece is crying over Bruno X while Margo rolls her eyes at everyone. Cliff laments nobody in LA reading or knowing what books are and Margo drops a bombshell : SHE WAS A COMPARATIVE LIT MAJOR *drops mic and walks away* I laugh at this part. every. time. Cliff falls in love. Obviously.
They find Kelly, and save her from a weird looking jeep-driving-jerkasaurus in an epic water fountain fight. That’s right. In a water fountain. The rest of the movie gets wrapped up in a nice little bow that will leave you asking, “What did I just watch and when can I watch it again?”
Ascot Video/Atlantic Entertainment Group 1986
Lonely nights in with ice cream (see above)
*Warning* There is on 80’s style racially insensitive moment which is awful, so just fast forward during the car-chase scene bc it’s pretty stupid anyway.