Friday, May 23, 2014

Lazy Movie Weekend: It's cookie time

I was a mediocre Girl Scout. When my family moved to Alabama, I joined the Troop 453 and enjoyed most of what I remember about being part of the troop. I'm fairly certain that my Super Seller patch was one of those "give everyone a patch moments" because I don't recall being very good at selling cookies. We had to go door to door and I wasn't good at trying to convince people they needed Thin Mints. Camping was not my thing but I do remember really loving the friendship circle and singing a song about friends. I still have my patch sash; my favorite is the one about visiting the nuclear power plant. I did not join another troop when we moved. Despite my Girl Scout mediocrity, I love the Girl Scouts and support them by buying cookies every year. I would totally be a troop leader if I had a daughter. I think the organization is a great way to teach girls and young women about leadership, positivity, and being awesome. And we all know Samoas are the greatest cookie ever made.

Today we celebrate the official start of summer with a trip to Beverly Hills, circa 1989 and meet the fabulous Phyllis Nefler and her Wilderness Girls. In true Phyllis style, let's pop open the champagne and break the Girl Scout cookies for Troop Beverly Hills.
  •  I miss animated opening sequences in movies. Mannequin has a great one and so does Troop Beverly Hills. My favorite part is when they use hairdryers to combat a swarm of bees.
  • Shelley Long! She's so funny in this movie and it's definitely her personality and her attitude that makes you love Phyllis Nefler. She might start out as vapid and shopping obsessed but she grows into the ideal Wilderness Girl troop leader. She also has no shame in this movie which serves her very well.
  • This movie marks the big screen debut of Jenny Lewis. Before she was became an indie band front woman and solo singer (Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins, Jenny & Johnny), she was Hannah Nefler. I would say this is my favorite Jenny Lewis role but I would be lying. Her best film? The Wizard - a movie about a Nintendo competition.
  • Remember that being a Wilderness Girl (like being an actual Girl Scout) is about being a good citizen. You know that I love being a good citizen.
  • Do you think that if you are the head of the Wilderness Girls you get to eat cookies every day? 
  • Why do all the movies that I write about feature women who can wear hats? You go Phyllis!
  • Side ponytails, shoulder pads, scrunchies, and Jane Fonda workout attire - you know you want to rock all of these looks right now.
  • This was also Carla Gugino and Tori Spelling's first movie. While I like Carla here, her best role is in the Pauly Shore epic, Son-in-Law.
  • Y'all Kellie Martin's dad was Vince Fontaine in the movie version of Grease
  • I love the parents of the Troop Beverly Hills - there's the dictator and his wife (based loosely on Imelda Marcos), the romance novelist and the lawyer, and movie director. They're all fantastic and awful all at the same time. 
  • I lost count but if anyone knows how many time Phyllis says "fabulous" during the movie, I will bake you cookies.
  • Velda Plendor - the Wilderness Girls district leader. Velda is funny scary. My favorite Velda line is "I'm a mother. I'm a widow. I'm an ex-Army nurse. First and foremost I'm a Wilderness Girl." 
  • Poor Hannah - "Mom, could we spy on dad in the morning?"
  • Phyllis Gem #1 - "In the wilderness of life we can never be too prepared."
  • Phyllis Gem #2 - "I may be a beginner at somethings, but I've got a black belt in shopping.
  • Phyllis's version of camping is closely aligned with my version of camping. I love the ghost stories around the fireplace, room service, and what I'm sure are fantastic sheets at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
  • Jasmine's Phyllis impression is the best.
  • It's Pee-Wee's Playhouse! It's Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello!
  • One of the things that's so great about this movie is the difference between Velda and Phyllis and how each of them defines the Wilderness Girls. Velda may have been with the organization longer but Phyllis truly understands what it means to be a Wilderness Girls.
  • Mary Gross! This movie has so many wonderful people in it.
  • For Jessica, "I haven't been to Jazzercise in three weeks!"
  • I recall crying a bit when Chica's parents forgot her birthday. Phyllis and Rosa came through.
  • Remember y'all too many accessories clutter an outfit.
  • And now for a video break - it's Cookie Time! 


  • Pia Zadora and Robin Leach and Cheech Marin and Ted McGinley too! This movie is so 1989 it actually has its own shoulder pads.
  • If I did the math correctly, Troop Beverly Hills made something like $20K selling cookies. I think we're all in the wrong business.
  • "Thank you. I'm a grownup person. I think I can take care of myself." Phyllis, I would like to believe this about myself but I'm not sure that it's always true. 
  • I love that Phyllis gets drunk on Evian and there's a Valley of the Dolls reference that I'm certain I didn't understand when I was 10.
  • The Wilderness Jamboree - 
    • Phyllis becomes the leader that we all knew she was including a moment when she using shopping on Rodeo Drive to figure out directions.
    • Velda is the absolute worst and gets what she deserves.
    • the Red Feathers show their true colors.
    • Troop Beverly Hills saves the day and proves that they have wilderness skills - the backpack stretcher.
  • Phyllis Gem #3 - "We already won. We didn't quit. We didn't cheat. And we didn't call home when we were in trouble. We were a team."
I think we can learn a lot from Phyllis and Troop Beverly Hills - the value of friendship, being a good citizen, looking fabulous in hats, and of course, that we're all Wilderness Girls at heart.

Wondering which Troop Beverly Hills Character you are? There's a Buzzfeed quiz for that. For the record, I'm Emily (played by the adorable Kellie Martin).
    Phyllis photo

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