Queue: Slumber Party Staples

Nurah Lambert, Associate Arcade Editor

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Everybody loves a good sleepover, but needless to say, the traditional sleepover activity of movie-marathoning can become a bore with a blasé lineup scheduled. There is a time and place for “Sex and the City” and “Clueless,” and usually the living room on a Friday night with best friends is that time and place. Not this time. Try diverging from the conventional happy endings to spice up an evening off.

“American Beauty”: 6/5

In one word, the Academy Award winning 1999 film “American Beauty” could be described as iconic. Rose petal dreams, unforgettable one-liners and Kevin Spacey come together to form a mid-life crisis turned coming-of-age story unlike any of its predecessors.

Narrated by protagonist Lester Burnham, a 42-year-old man who becomes dissatisfied with the conventional life he leads, the film embarks on a journey of self-rediscovery in which Lester rekindles his teen spirit through evading responsibilities and developing a creepy infatuation with his daughter’s best friend.

It’s perfect to watch with a best friends and a tub of fresh popcorn, especially for those who enjoy themes regarding the hidden aspects of suburbia or quasi-profound teenagers.

“Jawbreaker”: 3/5

Heavily inspired by the cult classic “Heathers,” “Jawbreaker” is a satirical rendering of the “mean girl clique” archetype. At times the black comedy can be wily, while at others simply an exaggerated teen-murder drama, but at any given moment, it captivates.

On the morning of Liz’s birthday, her clique of popular friends pretends to kidnap her, binding her limbs with rope and gagging her with a jawbreaker to treat her to breakfast. By the time they arrive at the restaurant, Liz is dead – she choked on the candy. Heartless ringleader Courtney (Rose McGowan) goes to great lengths to cover up her death and keep the other girls quiet.

At the time of its release, the critical reception was mostly negative, with a seven percent given by Rotten Tomatoes and 1.5 out of four by Roger Ebert. While this film may not be Oscar-worthy, keep in mind that it was never meant to be. It’s meant to be fun and funny in a shallow way that makes you either cringe at its dialogue or bask in 1999-infused nostalgia… or both.

“Thirteen”: 4.5/5

Serving as a shocking social commentary exposing a fraction of the adolescent population, “Thirteen” chronicles the 13th year of a naïve yet troubled transfer student Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) who befriends popular bad girl Evie (Nikki Reed). As their friendship progresses, Tracy begins to spiral into a life of sex, drugs and crime, mirroring the actions of seasoned Evie.

What is so fascinating about this movie is how accurately it portrays the emotions that a typical 13-year-old could feel, if not the actual events that might occur in a typical 13-year-old’s life. This may be due in part because Nikki Reed contributed to writing it, while only 13 herself.

Some critics believe “Thirteen” borders on exploitation, while others believe its seemingly exploitative qualities reflect reality. Either way, Evan Rachel Wood’s stellar performance is what makes the film extraordinary. Her character’s presence compels any viewer’s attention, keeping the eye trained on the screen until its dramatic close.