Jeffree Star‘s latest makeup collection might be his ultimate hot bitch hit thanks to its vibrant colors and cute packaging, but his Jawbreaker line also holds some heavy retro references for fans of the teen film genre.
Movies depicting high school life are good and plenty out there, but when it comes to fierce wit, hot looks and dark comedy that’s not afraid to go uncompromisingly and deathly dark, Darren Stein‘s Jawbreaker might take the cake, or rather, the candy. Recently celebrating its 20th anniversary, the sassy and sexy teen comedy starring Rose McGowan stands alongside Heathers, Clueless, and Mean Girls when it comes to hallmark movies about life in the halls of American schools- the cliques, the quips, the boys and the bullies.
And clearly, it continues to resonate, not only in the cosmetics world via Star, but also as inspiration for today’s most watched TV shows. Just stream the “Jawbreaker” episode of The CW‘s mega-hit Riverdale from this past cult-themed season, which includes an unforgettable strut through locker covered walls to the tune of Imperial Teen‘s “Yoo Hoo,” just like in the film. That hooky track by the way, became a huge hit for the queer-identifying group, who went on to tour with Hole, Faith No More and Marilyn Manson.
Stein is celebrating the film’s recent milestone with screenings- a big bash with monster dragsters The Boulet Brothers and Q&A’s with its actors took place in L.A., and he just did a Q&A in New York (check his social media for info on more). He’s currently working on a Jawbreaker musical, which promises to be meaner and queenier than Tina Fey‘s much-anticipated Mean Girls stage production. Watch the two films together and it’s pretty obvious who’d win a brawl between Rachel McAdams‘ head “plastic” Regina George and McGowan’s spiteful Courtney Shayne.
With blaxploitation queen Pam Grier as a cop investigating the death of the school’s prom queen and a gag kidnapping gone wrong involving the ball-shaped confection, Jawbreaker (like Mean Girls) takes obvious cues and tropes from predecessors such as Clueless and especially Heathers, but none of those works were helmed by openly gay directors like JB was, which, according to McGowan, meant something and still does.
“I look back on the set of that brash, punk, sardonic, wild movie with love. Everybody, from the director down to the extras, was in it together. We knew that it was really special, what it meant to the LGBT community, to have an out director, Darren Stein, creating his vision for a studio. A lot of movies are done by committee, and this one definitely wasn’t. We all knew we were doing something that the establishment wouldn’t like, but we weren’t afraid. We weren’t afraid of anybody,” McGowan wrote in Refinery 29 back in February.
And Stein went on to make even more LGBTQ+-friendly films too. Literally “friendly.” His hilarious look at gay/straight friendship, GBF (Gay Best Friend) was unlike anything that came before it, exploring the dynamic of relationships and sexual stereotypes within the mainstream teen comedy sphere. Natasha Lyonne, one of the first out lesbian movie stars at the time had a pivotal role in GBF thanks to her friendship with Stein via a film he produced a couple years prior, the shlocky horror vehicle All About Evil, directed by San Fransisco drag host Peaches Christ.
On my web radio show Hot Licks with Lina last month, Stein said he still gets young people coming up to him all the time, sharing their love of the 1999 film. “A lot of gay young people love it and bring up the scene when Rose forces her boyfriend to give head to the big stick,” he told me. “It’s hot and it’s also really empowering.” Just like the movie itself.
Just announced: Jawbreaker will be screened along with Never Been Kissed and I Know What You Did Last Summer as part of L.A.’s famed Cinespia screening series at Hollywood Forever Cemetery for their 9th Annual “All Night Slumer Party.” More info here.