A reassessment of “Josie”

In response to a comment by Four Color Forum’s Kiel Phegley on my Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack post last week…

As excited as I am to see that you love this soundtrack, I must admit I’m a little heartbroken as well that you didn’t dig the flick more. I fucking LOVE that movie, man. LOVE IT.”
-Kiel Phegley

…I figured it was time to give the flick another watch. So I queued “Josie” up on my Netflix and gave it a re-watching last night. What follows is less a review and more a series of reactions and thoughts I had while watching, so, take it thusly.


(Oddly enough, co-worker and United Monkee blogger TJ Dietsch Netflix-ed and watched “Josie” last night as well. So, after you read my thoughts, head over to UnitedMonkee.com for the other half of our lunch conversation.)

First, I think my entire view on this movie would have been totally different if it had come out in 1999. “Josie” is very much a ’90s teen film, but oddly enough came out in 2001. This plays to the film’s advantage as it is a bit of a send up, but still felt a little weird the whole way through as it seemed the film was just a bit “late.”.

That said, the movie’s spoof/send-up style really makes it pretty fantastic—much better than the “so-so” review I gave it last week based on my memory from age 17. Bordering on the edge of bizarre memorialization of the turn of the century, “Josie’s” satirical nature as a film allows it to poke fun at some ridiculous late ’90s phenomena…

A fleeting romance forever immortalized thanks to "Josie!"
A fleeting romance forever immortalized thanks to "Josie!"

…(like MTV’s “Total Request Live” and host Carson Daly’s relationship with “Josie” star Tara Reid or boy bands) while also remaining a bit poignant considering society’s continued spin towards online community and television fan interaction (everything from blogs to Facebook to voting for “American Idol”). So, yes, it is a bit of a bizarre tribute to the Y2K era oozing with satire, but the comic exaggerations of the movie still have legs and it does capture the fun of those late ’90s teen flicks—worth watching, I’d now say.

Now for my less analytical reactions to “Josie”…

Rosario Dawson plays bass player Val in the movie, and though she’s in no way fat in this film, she is literally about half of her “Josie” size nowadays—which I guess is a shocking reminder of what it takes to succeed in Hollywood.

I think the entire above section can also be applied to the now-gaunt Carson Daly—a guy who I used to respect for keeping it real for the husky guys of the world (as evidenced by his baggy apparel and lack of shirtless-ness during each and every MTV Spring Break).

As was brought up as a pretty singular point when TJ and I talked: Whatever happened to Rachael Leigh Cook?!

For that matter, what is up with a lot of the people in this movie? Who is this guy who played Allan M. and where is he now?

Questions like that led to some serious IMDBing while watching (and some more afterward) and led to discovering the hilarious pictures from the premiere of this movie. Why were Amanda Bynes, Frankie Muniz and Keifer Sutherland at this premiere?! Ok, looks like Keifer brought his daughter, but what is Buffy‘s Anthony Stewart Head’s excuse?! (Probably hanging with Buffy alum and “Josie” cameo-man Seth Green, as TJ posited) Given, I have said within this post that this movie is pretty much past a shameful enjoyment, and I know at the time Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes could have driven a tank into the White House without anyone stopping them, but still, that lineup at the premiere? Man, the turn of the century was a crazy time!

It’s also worth noting that Alan Cumming and Parker Posey are hilarious as the movie’s villains, and make use of numerous little cartoony gags that they pull off well and that act as nice homages to the cartoon and comic that came before.

In the end, I think I walk away from this re-watching generally happy and glad I gave the flick another shot, but kind of sad to find out it hit in 2001 and can therefore never be listed on a chart of “Best ’90s Teen Movies.”

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4 thoughts on “A reassessment of “Josie”

  1. This is one of those movies that I love, and I wouldn’t even call it a guilty pleasure, I just really find it enjoyable. But I remember seeing commercials for it and thinking how lame it would be, but then catching it HBO and going ‘this is totally different than what I thought it would be’. It only it could have been marketed more appropriately…

  2. Agreed, Sam! it is one of those movies that is kind of a spoof in a teen flick’s clothing and ends up being a surprisingly fun film once you get into it.

  3. This might have been the worst movie/commercial I’ve ever seen.
    It was one big product placement mess!

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