We all quietly nurture fond memories of ridiculous childhood films. We remember watching them all of the years ago, truly believing they were the most seamless creations that cinema had ever given birth to. The thing is, these movies should remain untouched in adulthood. Re-watching these films as an adult, is, for the most part, an express ticket to Disappointmentville with a complimentary cup of freshly crushed teenagehood.
I tried watching Batman and Robin again at some point earlier this year, a movie that still sounds indisputable in theory: the director is Tim Burton, and the cast is, well, George Clooney, certified 90’s heart-throb Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Uma Thurman as a bad bitch Poison Ivy and let us never forget Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze. However, by re-watching Batman and Robin I’ve learned the hard way to leave affectionate memories as nostalgic memories. Batman and Robin’s not even ironically enjoyable – it’s just fucking terrible.
There is, however, one exception to the “leave it, cherish it” rule that I discovered recently: the unfailing brilliance that is Coyote Ugly. I had such incredibly low expectations when I decided to watch it again; I felt there was a strong likelihood that the once-enviable Coyotes would have become intolerable hoe-bags in my now (slightly more) discerning opinion, Adam Garcia would no longer be endearing, and the music would probably be unspeakably bad (see: ‘Can’t Fight the Moonlight’). As it turns out, Batman and Robin made me unnecessarily pessimistic: Coyote Ugly is still, totally, amazing.
It’s the year 2000: Piper Parebo is highly relevant, as are leather bikini tops. Parebo plays the sweet, unassuming musical genius, Violet, who chases her dreams of being a songwriter to the Big Apple. She struggles to disperse her demo cassettes (oh yes, cassettes) to music labels and is forced to find another way to scrape cash together: Coyote Ugly.
Coyote Ugly is the redneck capital of the Lower East Side; dancing girls reign supreme for their prowess at A: being very hot and B: getting men super drunk. The definition of Coyote Ugly as explained by the zero-bullshit manager, Lil, will remain deeply ingrained in my mind as long as I live: “Did you ever wake up sober after a one night stand, and the person you're next to is layin' on your arm, and they're so ugly you'd rather chew off your arm then risk waking 'em? That's coyote ugly.”
Violet is first introduced the Coyotes as they flaunt boobs and cash liberally in a night diner (cue Tyra Banks sucking ketchup off her fingers and gyrating around a table). It rapidly becomes clear that being a Coyote means belonging to a small, coveted group of the most outrageously hot girls in existence in New York City. It’s difficult to accurately express the joy one can reap from watching a bunch of girls in tight flares and high heels bar-dancing to ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’.
The Coyotes are all exceptionally powerful babes and the men are all subordinate drunks who can look but definitely not touch (lest they risk Rachel beating the living shit out of them). The whole concept of the film is symptomatic of a simpler time, the 90’s: when feminism meant overtly showing off our sexuality and being very protective of our autonomous ability to do so.
As it turns out, Adam Garcia as the charming Australian love interest is as attractive as ever (where did he go?), and the ridiculous keyboard pop music produced by the then seventeen year-old Leanne Rimes that features throughout is still fantastic (where did she go?) I’ve now had ‘Can’t Fight the Moonlight’ dearly stuck in my head for about a week now, and I’m pretty pumped about it.
I spit in the direction of whoever consistently rates Coyote Ugly 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, and would enjoy telling them, at the most obnoxious volume: ‘YOU ARE SO WRONG!’ This film is pure grrrl excellence. It includes all of the characteristics that a great rom-com requires: badass girls, a cute boy strutting a set of giant baby-blues, unrelenting pop music, one fashion montage, a lot of alcohol, and a superfluous amount of boob shots. Violet/Leanne Rimes: maybe you can’t fight the moonlight, but if this is how much fun you have after dark, why would you ever want to?
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