Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Teen Witch

Score Technician: Erika Grotto

In 1985, the Michael J. Fox vehicle Teen Wolf took the country by storm, debuting at no. 2 and grossing more than $80 million worldwide. Later came a cartoon and a sequel starring Jason Bateman, but perhaps the most impressive Wolf-inspired project was a female version that was developed into Teen Witch. Though it grossed less than $30,000 its entire run, Teen Witch has become a cult classic and this month became available to stream on Netflix. Will this box office bomb prove a classic ahead of its time, or have we all just been under a spell all these years?
  • The movie opens with one of the songs that made it famous. The tone is set. = +2pts
  • In the title role of Louise Miller is Robyn Lively, sister of Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively, and onetime star of the short-lived Aaron Spelling soap Savannah. Which we just realized has a whole bunch of episodes on YouTube, so excuse us for a moment while we re-watch the entire series. = +3pts
  • Dick Sargent plays the witch’s father. We see what you did there. +1pts
  • This film has been touted for its '80s fashions, but Polly’s Paddington hat has to go. = -2pts
  • There’s a group of boys who rap in the hallways. Repeat: a group of boys who rap in the hallways. = +7pts
  • “Hey, cheerleaders, I’ve got the new cheer. So fab.” A locker-room dance to a song called “I Like Boys” seems like something that should happen in every '80s movie. = +5pts
  • The most popular girl in school can’t dance. = -2pts for making her, but +3pts for giving hope to the rhythm-impaired. Net score = +1pt
  • Louise hides in a dark corner and watches her crush, Brad, do shirtless pushups. Creepy, Louise. Creepy. = -2pts
  • “I have ways of removing armor.” The school play appears to be a staged version of a 1970s Harlequin novel. = -2pts
  • The psychic is the creepy lady from Poltergeist. There’s no one better to lead a 16-year-old girl into the world of witchcraft. = +1pt
  • No one comes to Louise’s birthday party, including her loser best friend. Come on, Polly. = -1 pt
  • Rhet’s impromptu rap about penis euphemisms is solid. Why wasn’t this developed into a full-on musical number? = -3pts
  • Louise and Polly’s reaction to attention from Randa and Kiki is exactly why they are not popular. Get a grip, girls. They’re cheerleaders, not something super cool like PCS Score Technicians. = -3pts
  • Brad’s bolo tie makes it obvious he’s perfect for the fashion-impaired Louise. = -1pt
  • Musical makeover montage at the school dance! Musical makeover montage at the school dance! = +3pts
  • “OK, guys, grab your wallets, ‘cause here comes a slow song.” We’re not sure what that means, but we’re pretty sure it’s offensive to women. = -1pt
  • “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you call me sticks back on you.” It’s a good first spell, and a perfect way to turn your little brother into a dog. = +1pt
  • Brad needs Louise’s help with his English paper so he can play football. He says it’s hard to concentrate on schoolwork because it’s the end of the year. He’s playing football at the end of the year. Where is this school? Australia? = -2pts
  • Louise is creative enough to cast spells for her teacher to win the lottery and meet the man of her dreams, but she can’t do any better than naming that man Armando Legando. = -2pts
  • Polly has a Paddington hat for summer too. Seriously, Polly. This is why you don’t have a boyfriend. = -3pts
  • Here we are: the signature song of the movie. From Polly’s solid reasoning about why Rhet will never go for her (“Look at how funky he is. I will never be hip.”) to her spell-induced in-your-face rap battle challenge, this moment right here is what made Teen Witch the cult classic it is. +50pts
  • John Bonham is on the list to get backstage to see Louise’s favorite pop star. Yeah, the drummer of Led Zeppelin is going to come back from the dead to get close to the tutu-clad singer of “I Wanna Be the Most Popular Girl.” = -2pts
  • Louise blows off her best friend to ride to school with her crush and his girlfriend. Ten seconds in, and popularity has made her a real bitch. = -4pts
  • Wait. Is this another musical montage? WITH RAPPING IN THE MIDDLE? Screw you, Polly. Louise can do what she wants if it inspires this. = +37pts
  • Brad picks up Louise after school, drives her into an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere, flashes her some muscle in his ripped sleeveless t-shirt, and kisses her. Guess what he said before was true and that the only reason he’d want to date anyone is because she’s the most popular girl in school. Did he even break up with Randa first? Either way, Brad, you’re kind of a dick. = -5pts
  • “Geez Louise.” Polly is such a cunning linguist. = +1pts
  • Acid wash jeans with a matching jacket. When will this come back? = +2pts
  • It took almost an hour and a half, but we’ve finally got a girl wearing a banana clip. = +1pt
  • Aww, Polly and Rhet finally got together. This is the real love story of this movie. = +5pts
  • Brad dips Louise, and her hair hardly moves. That’s Rave at work, friends. = +3pts
  • So, Brad and Louise are together, and Randa, who got thrown aside in the span of about two seconds, is now single and, because of Louise’s spell and has a bicycle instead of a car. The beautiful blond girls can never catch a break. = -2pts
Total = +88pts
Available on: Netflix streaming

Because it did so badly at the box office, Teen Witch never saw a soundtrack release. That’s a shame, since the music is the best part of the movie. Without it, the film is just the story of a girl who used magical powers to do something that she could have accomplished with a trip to the Deb shop.

For awhile, there were talks of a Teen Witch Broadway musical. The project appears to be dead in the water, but if it comes to pass, you’d better believe we’ll be in the front row on opening night. We’re sure no other show could ever top that.

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