Can you just pretend to be nice?
When the first "Jem and the Holograms" trailer hit the internet last night, fans of the deliciously campy '80s cartoon lost their chill. Things, for the most part, got ugly -- and that is so not truly outrageous.
We think it's time for the internet to take a collective deep breath and hear us out: "Jem and the Holograms" could be a great movie. How do we know this? Because this isn't the first time a beloved female-driven property got a big screen reboot and turned out OK. In fact, it turned out even better than OK; it was effing fantastic. Yes, we're referring to "Josie and the Pussycats."
"Josie and the Pussycats" was kinda like the "Avengers" -- an endearing comic book movie with flashy, skin-tight costumes and a whole lot of heart -- except it didn't make nearly as much money at the box office. The film may have bombed, but it's become a bit of cult favorite since its release in 2001. It's a perfectly satirical romp about the music industry and the blatant use of product placement (a brilliant running joke throughout the film), starring some of the most familiar faces from the 2000s. And it's one of the most underrated films of all time.
It's hard to watch the trailer for "Jem and the Holograms" and not see "Josie and the Pussycats" -- both in terms of basic plot and malign reactions. Jem and Josie are both small-town girls, with awesome, kickass bands, who get discovered (and manipulated) by shady record label execs. As they rocket to superstardom, they realize that there's a dark side to fame. Sure, Jem trades in the cat ears for glitter and face paint, but the coming-of-age stories are pretty similar.
And that's exactly why it's ridiculous to get upset over this trailer. If "Jem and the Holograms" is anything like "Josie and the Pussycats," then it's going to be awesome.
Female leads with chemistryUniversal Pictures
Rachel Leigh Cook, the "It" girl of the early 2000s, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid have crazy amounts of chemistry together as Pussycats. Cook is totally believable in her naivety as punk-rock prom queen Josie, and Reid and Dawson hold their own as Josie's bandmates Melody (the dim-witted, yet endearing drummer) and Valerie (the badass bassist), respectively. This is a film that celebrates girl power -- what could be more awesome than that?
The live-action "Jem" seems similar. The film reinvents the truly outrageous pop star as YouTube sensation Jerrica Benton (Aubrey Peeples). Her sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) and BFFs Aja (Hayley Kiyoko) and Shana (Aurora Perrineau) -- aka the Holograms -- go along for the ride. Judging from what we saw in the trailer, it looks like "Jem" puts friendship first, and that's one of the reasons we love it.
"Josie and the Pussycats" villains Fiona (Parker Posey) and Wyatt (Alan Cumming) are pantomime baddies who revel in the demise of anyone who stands in their way, including Val and Melody. They're the kind of bad guys you love to hate -- deliciously evil and unwavering hilarious.
The major foil for "Jem" seems to be Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis), an exec at Starlight Music and Jem and the Holograms' shrewd manager. Erica already looks like a master manipulator, given the way she was able to get inside of Jem's head and break up the band in the trailer. We can't wait to see IRL rockstar Lewis commit to the dark side in this one.
In case you need a refresher, "Josie and the Pussycats" had one of the best movie soundtracks ever. After 14 years, we're still stanning for the Pussycats. "3 Small Words," "Pretend to Be Nice," "Real Wild Child" and "You Don't See Me" were our teenage anthems -- and who could forget "Backdoor Lover," the seminal hit from DuJour? We still play that album on repeat (brainwashing not required).
We can say the same for "Jem." Jerrica's viral hit is already stuck in our heads thanks to executive producer -- and man who launched Justin Bieber's career -- Scooter Braun. He's got an eye for great talent, that one.
Easter eggs for fans
"Josie and the Pussycats" may not have been a completely faithful interpretation of the adored Archie Comic, but all of the essential characters were there, including the Pussycats' obnoxious rival, Alexandra Cabot (Missi Pyle). And her line, "I'm here because I was in the comic book," is one of the most memorable parts of the entire film.
Seeing as Jem literally touches her earring and says the iconic phrase "Showtime, Synergy" in the trailer, we're going to go out on a limb and say that the movie will include more than a few references to the series. Remember: just because you don't see it in the trailer, doesn't mean it's not there. For all we know, The Misfits could be a huge part of the movie. (On a spiritual level, we will not be complete without at least one mention of Riot and/or The Stingers.)