I think we can all agree that it’s a scary time right now. COVID-19 has everyone feeling anxious, detached and maybe even a little lost. What’s important, however, is that we all continue to practice social-distancing, which means one very crucial thing: Staying home!
Thankfully, being quarantined doesn’t have to be a completely dull experience. All over the internet, people are sending out their curated, quarantine-friendly movie recommendations, and we at High Street are here to do the same. The twist? Instead of any old films, I—a seasoned movie-binger—have rounded up 5 of my all-time favorite girl squad movies to watch during this stressful time.
Forget Rotten Tomatoes ratings or what Roger Ebert might have said, the movies listed below have everything you need: friendship, girlhood, tissue-heavy moments and campy goodness. Girls banding together to do meaningful things? Hard yes. So, for all the movie-lovers out there (or for anyone whose so bored that the idea of having to think of what to watch next seems impossible), here are 5 of the best girl squad films that are sure to make you laugh, cry and most importantly, bring comfort. Pro-tip: Check out the Netflix Party Chrome Extension to watch along with your own girl squad!
The first on my list is the criminally underrated 2004 masterpiece “Sleepover,” directed by Joe Nussbaum. At 15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s easy to overlook this teen slumber-party, scavenger-hunt extravaganza, but I beg you not to. The movie follows Julie Corky (played by “Spy Kids”’ Alexa Vega), and her best friends during a sleepover on their last day of 8th grade. The girls end up having a night they will never forget after popular girl (and Julie’s ex-bestie) Staci Blake (Sara Paxton) organizes a scavenger hunt competition between the popular girls and Julie’s squad of social-misfits. The prize? To sit at the most coveted lunch spot on campus come highschool, while losers take the seats by the dumpster. Throughout the night, Julie and her friends have a wild adventure, featuring everything from an annoying neighborhood security guard (Steve Carell), to a goofy skater boy (Evan Peters) belting out “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, to stealing underwear from Steve (Sean Faris), the popular highschool boy everyone’s in love with. The movie is sweet, hilarious, chock-full of quotable-lines and successfully grounds itself in the theme of friendship as people move, grow up and search for their identities as they enter new chapters of their lives.
Where to watch: YouTube (free), Netflix (free), Amazon Prime Video ($2.99)
2.) Bring It On
Next on my list is this cheerleading cult classic, starring Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union. Directed by Peyton Reed, “Bring It On,” follows senior cheer captain Torrance Shipman (Dunst) as she prepares her squad, the Toros, to bring home the national championship. While holding tryouts for new members, Torrance meets spunky transfer student Missy (Eliza Dushku), who informs Torrance that the squad’s cheer routines have been stolen from the East Compton Clovers, led by Isis (Gabrielle Union). The rest of the film follows Torrance and her group of high-spirited cheerleaders—including Missy, who Torrance soon befriends—as they try to come up with a new routine that will secure their place at the top. “Bring It On” is a classic, fan-favorite comedy that playfully spoofs cheerleading while also touching on socio-economic problems and the toxicity of women rivalries. 5 stars all around.
Where to watch: YouTube ($3.99), Amazon Prime Video ($3.99)
3.) Mean Girls
“Mean Girls” is everyone’s favorite, including my own. In fact, the 2004 teen comedy offers up everything you could look for in a film: humor, iconic lines, an impeccably chosen cast and a soundtrack that hits like no other. “Mean Girls” is a perfect time capsule of the early 2000s, a campy cultural phenomenon of a movie that continues to be referenced today. Somehow, the basic formula of a new girl trying to fit into a new school where there are cliques and bullies abound never seems cliche or ingenuine in this movie. I credit that not only to the hilarious writing, but to the ultimate relatability of the movie’s story. While they may be caricatures to some degree, every school has their own version of the “Plastics,” and everyone has felt, at some time, the damaging effects they have on a student body. Still, the “Plastics” remain unforgettable in their extra-ness, and watching Lindsay Lohan navigate the drama of high school never seems to get old. As for the soundtrack, you can find me blaring Samantha Ronsons’s “Built This Way” all day, every day.
Where to watch: YouTube ($2.99), Hulu (free with subscription), Amazon Prime ($2.99)
4.) Stick It
Another underrated film on my list is “Stick It,” a gymnastics-centered dramedy directed by Jessica Bendinger, the writer of “Bring It On” (so you know it has to be good). I love this movie. The sheer girl-power energy that radiates from it is palpable. The 2006 film stars Missy Peregrym as Haley, a rebellious 17-year-old once-famous gymnast who is forced to return to competitive gymnastics after having a run-in with the law. She begins to train with a group of other gymnasts under the coaching of Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges), all of whom she initially despises. However, as the film continues, Missy finds friendship and empowerment with the different girls and with Burt, which all leads up to a mini-revolution the girls hold during the National Championships to protest its unfair and sexist rules. In a simpler sense, Haley and the rest of the bad-ass girls decide to “Stick It” to the judges and do their own thing. This movie is perfectly warm, funny, inspiring and comforting for your time in quarantine. Hint: If you love “Ice Princess,” you’ll love “Stick it.”
Where to watch: YouTube ($2.99), Amazon Prime ($2.99)
5.) Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
I cried like a baby the first time I watched “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Seriously, nothing gets me like America Ferarra throwing a stone through her dining room window. In fact, I’ll admit I haven’t watched it since because this movie gets me, but perhaps that’s the perfect reason to give it a watch (or a re-watch, depending on who you are). It’s true, this comedy-drama—directed by Ken Kwapis and based on the Anna Brashares book of the same name—packs a punch. Unlike the other movies on this list, this one follows a group of girls that have already been friends for a while, and the depth of their bond is exemplified throughout the film. As Lena, Tibby, Carmen and Bridget spend their first summer apart from each other, we watch them all have life-changing experiences that shape the rest of their lives (which includes everything from finding romance in Greece to going to soccer camp in Mexico). To top it off, the fact that a simple pair of blue jeans is what keeps these girls tethered throughout the summer months only adds to the movie’s charm and whimsy. Still, grab your tissues, you’re going to need them for this one.
Where to watch: YouTube ($3.99), Amazon Prime ($3.99)
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Writer, journalist, and dog-enthusiast. Student in Pratt Institute’s BFA Writing Program.