Welcome to another edition of ’80s Movie Style! Today’s film: Girls Just Want to Have Fun. This little gem from 1985 features a LOT of dancing, plenty of ’80s music, and some unforgettable retro fashion. Plus, it’s a quintessential “teen movie”, complete with a strong heroine, a rebellious best friend, a hunky boyfriend, and a snobby villain who sets out to sabotage our main character as she enters a dance competition that just might change her life. Ready for more?…
Ah, Chicago in the ’80s! A town where anything is possible, even having the chance to star on a dance show that airs daily. With original costumes and dance routines. Each day. MTV-quality performances. Sure, it’s possible! Below we see our heroine, Janey, played by the always-fabulous Sarah Jessica Parker.
No word on how much dancing SJP did in this film, but she’s a natural for the role. After all, she trained in ballet as a child, and clearly she knows her way around the dance floor!
If you watched this movie as a girl in the ’80s, you wanted to BE Sarah Jessica Parker. She was spunky, likable, strong. She was the nice girl who wasn’t afraid to be brave and a little mischievous when necessary. Plus, she could wear her hair either wavy or straight!
But SJP’s character Janey isn’t always a happy camper. She has a controlling military father who watches her every move. (Note the wallpapered hallway with the built-in phone nook below!) And even though her track suit-wearing mother is supportive, Janey still finds herself under lock and key most of the time.
Until she meets Lynne, played by Helen Hunt! Lynne encourages her to follow her dreams and enter the contest. Even if it means cutting the wires on the home security system that entraps Janey in her room. Can we just talk about Lynne’s hairstyles and accessories in this film?! Yes, those are dinosaur clips below…
And we can’t forget the grasshopper hat:
Later on, things get a little bit crazy…
Leading up to this exciting moment, which I won’t give away. You just have to watch the film! P.S. – Isn’t Helen Hunt the coolest?!
The winner of the Dance TV dance contest gets to be a regular on the show. And due to its intense rehearsal and filming schedule, we’re guessing Janey will have to drop out of school and get her GED if this pans out. But that’s the least of our worries while watching this movie, as the despicable yet impeccably coiffed villain Natalie (Holly Gagnier) is on the loose. She’s entered the contest too. As much as we’d love to hate her, she has an amazing head of hair:
She’s hands-down a terrible person, but it’s hard to disregard someone with an ’80s vanity like the one below. Bring on the Deco style!
And then there’s Jeff (Lee Montgomery), the dance partner Janey is assigned for the contest. He’s brooding. He wears a lot of black leather. He and Janey annoy each other when they first meet.
Dance, Dance, Dance
After discovering that there’s more to Janey than curfews and school uniforms, Jeff realizes that he kind of likes her. And Janey realizes that she kind of likes him. Sparks fly at Natalie’s debutante party, which quickly gets out of hand. Janey and Lynne have made copies of Natalie’s invitations and distributed them to punks and freaks all over the city. They crash the party, wreaking havoc on the dance floor and buffet table with a coordinated, choreographed routine. Seriously–you need to see this!
Now that Jeff admires Janey’s ability to mastermind punk invasions of coming out parties, they can dance and romance. And why wouldn’t you go dancing as a teen in the ’80s when clubs like The Court existed?
And how can you have an ’80s teen dance movie without a montage sequence? After all, our main characters must fall in love while they rehearse:
Why don’t they make montages like this anymore?! Anyone getting ideas for next year’s holiday card?…
There are plenty of complications on Jeff and Janey’s path to compete at the contest. I won’t list all of them. You’ve just gotta watch the film, folks. Here we see Janey and Lynne on the bus as they make their way to the Dance TV studio on the night of the competition. Don’t you hate it when the bus stops suddenly and your lipstick streaks the face of the guy in front of you?!
Let’s talk about the Dance TV set. What?! Lots of marble and neon. Kind of like a Miami Vice bank lobby, but a little more fluorescent:
Did I mention that Shannen Doherty and Jonathan Silverman are in the film?! Here they are supporting Janey and Jeff at the contest:
If you’ve ever danced or you like to watch dance competitions, you’ll love the dramatic choreographed scenes in this film, especially near the end. Here’s a dancer who just doesn’t want to let go of her partner:
Will Janey and Jeff win? I won’t give anything away. Except to let you know that their costumes feature splatter paint and neon. And they somehow have much more dance/stage time than any of the other competitors. So no matter what, everything’s going to be OK, right?
Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post. Stay tuned as Mirror80 tackles another ’80s movie favorite next month. Got any ideas or favorite films you’d like to see featured? Leave me a comment below…
This was an inspired post. “Like totally fun.” Thanks!
Thank you, Sean! It was totally fun to write, and the film is one of my very faves from my ’80s childhood. Thank you again for your comment!
Jano Montalvo says
I really love all your posts about films of the 80s! I want to see that movie! A film that I love too because of the aesthetic it’s Ghostbusters. Thank you for this inspirational post =)
Jano! I’m so glad for this suggestion. It’s especially timely with the new Ghostbusters movie coming out soon. Stay tuned for a Ghostbusters post this summer, and thank you again!
Jano Montalvo says
Hi Kate! I’ll waiting for =). Thanks to you!
Awesome movie I have lots of copies of a 1985 classic movie.
Great movie I have a lot of copies ah the 80’s feel good time.