Trying to make fetch happen...again. Movie suggestions, please.
December 11, 2013 8:05 AM   Subscribe

There are a handful of movies I adore and have watched over and over: Bring It On, Clueless, Legally Blonde, Mean Girls, and, most recently, Pitch Perfect. Suggest more movies like this, please.

I have two weeks off at the end of the year, and I want to spend some of that time watching movies that'll make me happy. Here's what I'm looking for:
--comedies with women in the lead roles
--characters who are smarter and more capable than they initially seem, and who ultimately triumph by embracing their strengths (Elle Woods' knowledge of fashion and beauty winning the murder trial, or Cady joining the Mathletes)
--witty, eminently quotable dialogue
--films that stand up to multiple viewings (and I mean MULTIPLE; I've memorized huge swaths of all these movies)

Bonus points for singing, dancing, and/or incredible clothes. Also, it's probably not a coincidence that all five of these movies were written by women. And although a high school/college setting is another common factor in all of these, I wouldn't consider it essential.

Other potentially useful information: I've watched Easy A twice and could see it becoming a favorite. Bridesmaids was great but way too long; I loved The Heat, but wasn't a fan of the more serious crime-related plot elements. From what I've seen of Mean Girls 2 or the Bring It On sequels, they're terrible.

What other movies should I watch?
posted by serialcomma to Media & Arts (91 answers total) 139 users marked this as a favorite
Drop Dead Gorgeous seems like it would fit at least a few of your requirements. It is most assuredly quotable.
posted by BrianJ at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [12 favorites]

Not a film, but you're describing Gilmore Girls. Two weeks should be plenty for seven seasons.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [12 favorites]

How about Freaks and Geeks? It's a whole TV season, so there's even more to love!
posted by coraline at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

IS Heathers too dark for you?
The Breakfast Club
Wish You Were Here
9 to 5
Working Girl isn't exactly a comedy, but worth it for Joan Cusack's 'it's not even leath-uh!'alone.

Also, if you want singing, clothes and triumph, Little Shop Of Horrors!
posted by mippy at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

No singing or dancing and a slower pace, but maybe Manny and Lo.

Drop Dead Gorgeous isn't as girl power, but is wildly funny and has dancing.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thelma and Louise
posted by Salamander at 8:10 AM on December 11, 2013

Also, if we're doing TV:

Cybill (I watched it for Christine Baranski's character)
Murphy Brown
Being Erica (though it's comedy-drama)
Just Shoot Me
posted by mippy at 8:11 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about Whip It, about roller derby? I know a lot of people who love your entire list of films who love this one too.
posted by theatro at 8:14 AM on December 11, 2013 [11 favorites]

Oooh, Muriel's Wedding!! That hits all your criteria, in a cheesy, ABBA-laden, Australian kind of way! :))
posted by Salamander at 8:14 AM on December 11, 2013 [10 favorites]

Virtually all Disney Channel original movies made in the last five years or so. I'd emphasize "Lemonade Mouth," the Cheetah Girls franchise, and the Camp Rock series.
posted by jbickers at 8:14 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

10 Things I Hate About You
Devil Wears Prada (not set in HS, but genuinely watchable)
Never Been Kissed
nthing Heathers and Gilmore Girls.
posted by littlegreen at 8:15 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

You might like Made in Dagenham - not musical and not really a comedy, but strong women who unexpectedly change their world, with moments of comedy and great clothes.

And 10 Things I Hate About You, the movie. The TV show of the same name (made after the movie) is not as good but has its funny moments, too.
posted by kyla at 8:18 AM on December 11, 2013

Perhaps But I'm A Cheerleader, about a perky popular high school girl coming to terms with her lesbianism?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:18 AM on December 11, 2013 [13 favorites]

If you don't mind older movies, here are my watched-a-dozen-times-and-still-watch-again films featuring women

Shirley Valentine and
Educating Rita (both by writer Willy Russell and fit all four of your first checklist!)
Hobson's Choice
(and another vote for Working Girl)
posted by humph at 8:19 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Strictly Ballroom. Dancing! Very quotable! Incredible ballroom outfit nonsense.
posted by Ness at 8:19 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

She's the Man (I know, Amanda Bynes is terrible but god damn if I don't love this movie)
Sidney White (Again, Amanda Bynes, but it is great.)
She's All That
Save the Last Dance (not a comedy so much)
Born Yesterday
Straight Talk
showbiz_liz beat me to But I'm a Cheerleader
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:20 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

QUEEN LATIFAH is your woman. My sister and I will watch over and over:
- Last Holiday - Seemingly mousy lady at a lousy job decides to live life when diagnosed with an incurable disease.
- Just Wright - Physical therapist can't catch a break with guys. Meets the man of her dreams who is suddenly snatched away by her cousin.

Sort of Spoiler Alert: both have satsifying endings.
posted by mlo at 8:24 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ooh, looks like no one's suggested Saved! yet. Meets all your criteria.
posted by juniperesque at 8:25 AM on December 11, 2013 [20 favorites]

Saved is about a girl at a christian high school who gets pregnant and falls out of the popular crowd. It's very funny in a lot of the same ways as Mean Girls.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 8:26 AM on December 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

Sugar and Spice


Also, Jawbreaker. And In Her Shoes, which I liked more than I thought I would.
posted by sweetkid at 8:26 AM on December 11, 2013

CANNOT SUPPORT juniperesque's AND martinX's bellbottoms SUGGESTION OF SAVED! ENOUGH! Effing fantastic movie.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:26 AM on December 11, 2013

Bride and Prejudice?
posted by rmd1023 at 8:27 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Miss Congeniality also fits.

I seriously love this type of film and I have seen pretty much all of the ones suggested here. A lot of really fantastic suggestions. Strictly Ballroom, as suggested above, is perfect as well. Not terribly well known but oh so fantastically wonderful.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:28 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I love Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. I watch it every time I'm home sick and miserable and it's always the same stupidly enjoyable movie.
posted by phunniemee at 8:31 AM on December 11, 2013 [15 favorites]

St Trinian's!
posted by divabat at 8:33 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here's one not many people have heard of, but it's my go-to for a rainy sunday afternoon:


Great cast, cute plot, fun music.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:36 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Slums of Beverly Hills is also awesome. It's not quite the same movie genre as the ones you've listed, but the story revolves around Natasha Lyonne. Natasha Lyonne is always just wonderful.
posted by phunniemee at 8:37 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ever After -- fairy tale corsets, and some clever lines. And a sweet ending.
posted by mochapickle at 8:39 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Bookmarking this thread to mine for new things to watch, as I love this kind of movie. I really enjoyed "Dick" with Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, with bonus Dan Hedaya as Nixon.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:40 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

Morning Glory with Rachel McAdams.
This is my go-to, you can do it, career woman movie.

Also, seconding Queen Latifah movies. Love the plots, love her.
posted by jilloftrades at 8:43 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

How do you know? It got poor reviews but man I love this movie.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:44 AM on December 11, 2013

A lot of Meg Ryan's not-recent stuff works.

You've Got Mail
French Kiss is hugely overlooked and oh so freeking good.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:47 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

These don't match all your criteria, but you might try Calendar Girls and Saving Grace.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:51 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Center Stage!!!!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:53 AM on December 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Nicole Holofcener (director) is my go to for strong female movies, but some of them are bittersweet/quirky rather than outright funny. Friends with Money and Lovely and Amazing are still good choices though.
posted by sweetkid at 8:55 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Little Miss Sunshine? Very young badass girl protagonist.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:02 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bridget Jones - the first movie, not the second.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:02 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

I have a wee bit of a crush on Jennifer Garner, so I will recommend 13 Going On 30, and it has Mark Ruffalo in it, so it's got that going for it as well.

Bonus points for Judy Greer.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 9:02 AM on December 11, 2013 [9 favorites]

View from the Top
posted by doctord at 9:03 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite movies about female friendship: THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT. Shot in 1960s NY, it gets bonus points for the amazing 60s wardrobe of Angela Lansbury. It stars two wonderfully entertaining and funny teens who start out lonely and learn how friendship can sustain them. Also, Peter Sellers, directed by George Roy Hill, based on a book by Nora Johnson that drew from her teen crush on Oscar Levant... and extra bonus points for a good chunk of the movie being set at Xmastime so it's perfect for this time of year.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:06 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Big Business, very Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler, very 80s, but satisfying and very women-doing-more-than-they-seem-capable-of.

Also, definitely singing and dancing (Bette! Midler!)
posted by sweetkid at 9:07 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

posted by OolooKitty at 9:08 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bridget Jones' Diary - that and Clueless are my two forever-rewatchable awesome favorite movies forever.

(We're all going to just pretend that the second Bridget Jones movie never happened, k?)
posted by augustimagination at 9:15 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
posted by DarlingBri at 9:27 AM on December 11, 2013

Baby Mama
posted by missriss89 at 9:29 AM on December 11, 2013

How about some classics?

Auntie Mame - not the musical one.
His Girl Friday
Stage Door - so quotable
Pillow Talk
posted by brookeb at 9:31 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

[Ctrl]+[F] "Josie" -- what in the...?!!

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS, forever and ever. It's hilarious, eminently quotable and re-watchable, and the soundtrack is amazing!
posted by divined by radio at 9:34 AM on December 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

You should watch all of "Ugly Betty"! It has some rough spots here and there, but overall has lots of great female characters, snark, and clothes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:34 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Here is an oldie: Earth Girls Are Easy...

Jeff Goldblum as an alien, Geena Davis as an Earth by the slightly satirical Jule Brown (I like them big and stupid).
posted by BearClaw6 at 9:41 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Romy & Michelle definitely fits the bill.
posted by radioamy at 9:42 AM on December 11, 2013

Saved is pretty awesome
posted by spunweb at 10:01 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree with Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. Love that movie.
posted by hazel79 at 10:02 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh man, your list is perfect, cream of the crop feel-good movies, so that's why it's hard to find others to fill it.

I'd put Mystic Pizza on the list, though it doesn't have quite the same pop.

Dirty Dancing, though it's also a bit more serious.

And just to stick a totally out-there suggestion on the list because it fits for me: Married to the Mob

Nthing Romy and Michelle.
posted by Mchelly at 10:07 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

My Cousin Vinny? Marisa Tomei isn't the main character, but otherwise it would seem to fit your criteria.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:29 AM on December 11, 2013

The North Avenue Irregulars
Hollywood Shuffle

Oldies but goodies.
posted by ainsley at 10:29 AM on December 11, 2013

Seconding, thirding and nthing My Cousin Vinny. I must have watched it dozens of times - all the lead characters are funny here and what's more, the actual "villains" never show up on the screen.
posted by theobserver at 11:13 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Satisfaction! Justine Bateman and Julia Roberts in a band triumphing over arseholes.
posted by goo at 11:19 AM on December 11, 2013

Oh, and Girls Just Want To Have Fun is an absolute classic of the genre.
posted by goo at 11:22 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Can't Hardly Wait.
posted by Sassyfras at 11:24 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also, Bend it Like Beckham! Great fun, & you get to see Keira Knightley in one of her earliest roles.
posted by littlegreen at 11:28 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

Seconding sweetkid's recommendation of Nicole Holofcener. My favourite of her movies I'd Walking and Talking--it's such a real, funny, and touching portrayal of friendship between women.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:09 PM on December 11, 2013

Center Stage (Zoe Saldana's big break!)
Moulin Rouge
Dirty Dancing
Save the Last Dance (not a huge fan, but the movie is tolerable enough)
Coyote Ugly
The Sound of Music

Similar vein, but no singing/dancing:
Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
Legally Blonde 2 (a not-too-terrible sequel)

Kinda Close:
10 Things I Hate About You
The Prince and Me
What a Girl Wants
Never Been Kissed
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
The Princess Diaries
Roman Holiday
(I guess I like princess movies.....)

Most of these are on Amazon Prime as well.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:36 PM on December 11, 2013

Again and again:

Josie and the Pussycats


My So-Called Life
posted by eric1halfb at 1:17 PM on December 11, 2013

Definitely seconding Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day! I think that ticks every one of your boxes (male screen adapter but very very tightly based on novel by a woman). Seconding Strictly Ballroom. Is it possible no one's mentioned Cold Comfort Farm?

On the classics end, 42nd Street (you're going out a youngster.. but you've got to come back a STAR!), and Calamity Jane!
posted by Erasmouse at 2:33 PM on December 11, 2013

Now and Then
All I Wanna Do (aka Strike!)

Super funny, female ensemble casts, written and directed by women, and I can watch them on infinite repeat!
posted by lakemarie at 2:58 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

The House Bunny!!!!!!!! Very very stupid concept (dumb-as-rocks ex-Playmate saving a nerdy sorority) but like many very dumb vulgr things, it's surprisingly real & hilarious about issues most movies skirt around. The main female cast (the sorority) is really in your face about these girls being lovable weirdos, but ACTUALLY weird, not cute-weird. And Anna Faris's character tries to "act smart" to woo an intelligent guy with a kind heart, but the movie is all, "it's not pretty women vs. smart women, it's about inner beauty & being who you are~~" Awwww. It doesn't demonize the Playmate or patronize the nerdy girls imo.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:01 PM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also it has female-centric body/toilet humor, which I like. Like in a stupid Adam Sandler way. Like something falls on a woman and she actually screams a loud, unflattering sounding scream for a dumb laugh. Or y'know accidentally scalding your vagina or whatever. Not creepy man-hurting-woman-with-implied-sexual-overtones humor, it actually reclaims it IMO. Stuff usually reserved for ~lad humor~
posted by stoneandstar at 3:06 PM on December 11, 2013

Rocket Science - one of Anna Kendrick's first movies, about a high school debate society. It's a male in the lead role but good roles for women, charming and full of snappy dialogue.
posted by Gortuk at 3:13 PM on December 11, 2013

While the movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was eclipsed by the later TV series of the same name (and justly so), it is a rather underrated, quite enjoyable film that *very* much fits your specifications.
posted by kyrademon at 5:51 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love so many of these movies (and have watched and enjoyed all the ones on your list). I just want to add: Friends with Benefits (rt), No Strings Attached (imdb). They have a very similar storyline, but both very witty. Friends with Benefits is slightly better done, but No Strings Attached has several big dance scenes. Music and Lyrics (rt) is not quite as clever, but has singing, dancing, and a women triumphing in a place where she had lost her confidence. Something New (rt) is about a woman who is incredibly competent at work exploring her creative side (and falling in love). Carolina (imdb) is about a young women helping hold together her eccentric family (like The House Bunny, they are actually weird, not just cutely mildly different). (I heartily second Bend it like Beckham and Gilmore Girls -- these are what I watch when I'm sick and just need something wonderful and happy to watch.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:55 PM on December 11, 2013

"Enchanted" doesn't seem to have been brought up yet, and that has very many of the characteristics you list including the singing and dancing.
posted by kyrademon at 5:59 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

One more: Ever After
posted by Mchelly at 6:20 PM on December 11, 2013

Mary Poppins is a weird suggestion, but still: Mary Poppins.

Definitely meets your four requirements, and includes singing and dancing.

(I can also vouch for liking all of your example movies, and having M. Pops as a really longtime favorite.)
posted by emumimic at 7:17 PM on December 11, 2013

Ella Enchanted is a "princess" movie, but there's some singing and a great female protagonist and I love it to pieces.

And along those lines, Tangled is pretty great too.
posted by dogmom at 7:31 PM on December 11, 2013

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day. MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY.
posted by nonasuch at 7:52 PM on December 11, 2013

For A Good Time, Call... is about two roommates who don't get along but somehow end up running a phone sex line together. It's very funny, written by a woman (Lauren Miller, aka Seth Rogen's wife), and is very rewatchable.

You might enjoy the MTV show Awkward although it might be a little heavy-handed for your taste.
posted by acidic at 8:44 PM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is definitely my favorite genre of movie! I've favorited comments that mention some of my faves. A few titles that haven't been mentioned yet, that I've enjoyed:
Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging: adorable British early teens movie, based on the book series by Georgia Nicolson
Rage in Placid Lake: More from the boy's perspective, but I loved this Aussie coming-of-age story starring Ben Lee and Rose Byrne
I'm With Lucy: An under-appreciated rom-com starring Monica Potter and the guy from E.T. all grown up!
The Holiday: Will be perfect for this time of year! Two rom-coms for the price of one with charming performances by all of the leads (Kate Winslet! Cameron Diaz! Jude Law! Jack Black!) It may be too sweet for its own good, but I usually watch it each holiday season.
posted by wsquared at 10:27 PM on December 11, 2013

Man, all the ones I want to suggest are already here! I haven't seen D.E.B.S. mentioned yet, and I think it fits. It's pretty silly (and knows it) but that just makes it fun.

N-thing Coyote Ugly, Calendar Girls, Ella Enchanted, Now and Then, French Kiss and Born Yesterday (the original).

Hmm, oh Bells are Ringing (which is a musical) also fits!
posted by kassila at 10:31 PM on December 11, 2013

The only movie I can watch over and over again: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Great costumes, soundtrack, repartee, memorable scenes, and the end always makes me feel warm inside. Though I don't think it wouldn't be billed this way, it's a great movie about the importance of friends and family accepting you for who you are.
posted by feidr2 at 10:41 PM on December 11, 2013

Oh and I forgot to mention Priscilla is filled with great singing (well, lip-synching) and dancing!
posted by feidr2 at 10:43 PM on December 11, 2013

Drop Dead Gorgeous is over the top and ridiculous. Ellen Barkin and Allison Janney are particularly good.
posted by vignettist at 9:26 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

From Prada to Nada could be considered one of these kind of movies (like Clueless in a way) with an ethnic twist.

It's two Mexican-American girls whose rich immigrant father, who has built a business empire, suddenly dies after the marriage to an evil Caucasian stepmother. It was soon discovered that his company was on the skids and what was left the stepmom took from the daughters. They then have to move to east-LA, know zero Spanish, and navigate from their Beverly Hills life to one of their cousins. Based on Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility".
posted by wcfields at 12:14 PM on December 12, 2013

I find myself really wanting to recommend Fast Girls to you, even though it doesn't tick a couple of your boxes - it's about a girls UK running team. It's not a comedy or eminently quotable like Mean Girls is, but it's definitely a feel-good girls movie and I think you might like it.
posted by meggan at 1:34 PM on December 12, 2013

A couple times each year I treat myself to Moonstruck. It was released in 87, so I've seen it at least 50 times and I'm still not tired of it. There are two lead female characters, it's funny & heartbreaking, and has great dialogue (it won the Oscar for best writing).
I'm embarassed to admit it, but I love Drop Dead Diva (not to be confused with Drop Dead Gorgeous) - it's everything you describe, just not a movie or set in a high school - but they do an occasional song & dance routine!
posted by kbar1 at 10:24 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm embarassed to admit it, but I love Drop Dead Diva (not to be confused with Drop Dead Gorgeous) - it's everything you describe, just not a movie or set in a high school - but they do an occasional song & dance routine!

Came here to suggest just this. It really is almost exactly what you describe, and it's fun!
posted by ashirys at 7:22 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not quite, because arguably the main lead is male, but the female characters are fantastic, and it's real witty, funny, and definitely holds up to (a lot) of rewatches: Empire Records.
posted by likeatoaster at 10:57 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some of these have been mentioned. Others, not so much, but I think they'll all fit:

I was quite surprised by Stick It - not as quotable as others, but good Saturday afternoon viewing. Lots of good girl power and I was quite pleased that there was no makeover for the main character -- her rebellion was her strength. (Plus, Jeff Bridges, but I'm a weirdo).

13 Going on 30 absolutely. Same with The Devil Wears Prada. Two of my favorite "click flicks" recently.

A little out of your required aesthetic, but I absolutely love Mansfield Park (1999) and I Capture the Castle. Both have great casts, great production and great scripts. They're women-dominated and absolutely fun. I think they both fit nicely into your other movies (and I know because I like those too!).
posted by darksong at 8:03 PM on December 15, 2013

I'm late to the game on this, but I must add to the chorus. Firstly everyone who has recommended Strictly Ballroom and Drop Dead Gorgeous is absolutely correct and those must be watched. Secondly we appear to have identical taste so I'll say with confidence that you need to watch Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead like yesterday. I can recite this movie to you, I know it so well. It has all you need: female protagonist who suddenly needs to support all her younger siblings, amazing 90s hair and shoulders and best of all, so many montages. And since I'm on Christina Applegate I will also recommend The Sweetest Thing. Funny, smart and a little crass. Like Bridesmaids but 10 years earlier.

Finally, I'm going to assume this was an error of omission because of course you've seen Spice World, right? Not being facetious: perpetually watchable and deliciously tongue-in-cheek.
posted by therewolf at 11:53 PM on December 27, 2013

I've watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall several times -- always so sweet and funny and cute.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 3:16 PM on December 28, 2013

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