Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: "Legally Blonde" Anne T. Donahue

So last week in the comments, a lovely person suggested that I finally – FINALLY – just shut up and get to Legally Blonde already. Obviously she didn’t word it that way AT ALL, and I believe the actual phrase was, “Please write about Legally Blonde!” but for sake of  really getting everyone’s attention, I have totally embellished it.

So I have! This week I am going to watch and write about Legally Blonde because you know what? I have had a very complicated relationship with this movie. First, when it came out, I was obsessed. I wanted to BE Elle Woods. But then the older I got, the more I saw her as a stupid person and/or a cliche and/or a lot of other words that I absolutely would not describe her as now. Today I see her as a pretty wicked character. Not only does she get into Harvard Law (meaning she’s brilliant), she treats everyone kindly AND stays true to herself the whole time. She has blonde hair and she likes pink? So what! That makes her no less of a strong female character, according to me. After all, as a friend pointed out to me when I was ranting about something last year, why should anybody be less of a feminist as long as they’re treating everyone equally and being honest about who they are? Elle Woods like small dogs and sparkly things and pink. Judging her is as bad as judging someone because they DON’T like those those. So let’s not waste any time!

Elle Woods, YOU GO GIRL. I’m going to watch you for two hours now.

1. UGH WERTHER

Well let me just be the first to say that if there’s no toffee attached to the name “Werther” I have to hate you (if you’re in a movie) (because obviously I’ve never met another person with this name, so I am going to assume everyone with this given name is exactly like this man).

Also, I have just realized his name is WARNER, but that’s probably not going to stop me from calling him Werther throughout the rest of this piece, so … UGH WERTHER, AM I RIGHT?

2. But seriously he is the worst

First, WHAT a terrible human. So the whole time he’s known Elle, he’s never seen her as someone who is a) smart b) kind c) awesome when she is obviously all of those things. I mean, they’ve been together for, what, five years? And he only sees her as a blonde pretty girl? LITERALLY? WHO IS THIS GUY. The worst, that’s who. I bet Werther and Sebastian from Cruel Intentions have a lot of fun driving around and being the devil. But Elle, in all fairness, you do NOT love this man who calls you Pooh Bear.

3. I would react differently, I think

I mean, right now Werther is looking at Elle like, “Oh, you poor stupid girl,” and then tells her he’ll drive her home because otherwise she’ll ruin her shoes, and he’s looking at her like, “Aw, you are so. dumb.” Which ACTUALLY makes me want to go H.A.M. on throwing things at my television because THAT LOOK, right friends? We’ve all had it given to us at some point in our lives, and every time I am filled with unspeakable rage. THAT. LOOK.

4. Stop underestimating Elle, EVERYONE

So first, Elle’s ex thinks she’s an idiot. Now her parents – her DAD, more specifically – is like, “Law school is for people who are ugly and boring and serious and you aren’t any of those things.”

UM, WHAT. Buddy. Wrong. Incorrect. Maybe YOU are boring and serious, sir. One of my best friends is a lawyer and she is the opposite of all three of those things and newsflash: same with her friends (also lovely and amazing and fantastic). Also, Elle IS serious, you fool. But here is something else I would like to be serious about:

4. b) Are you serious right now about only going to law school to get a guy back?

Elle. LISTEN. Are you smart (obviously – I mean, hello), but don’t chase some terrible man who looks at you like an idiot to a school on the east coast JUST TO GET HIM BACK. If he broke up with you for such a stupid reason, who needs him! NOT YOU. Do you like what you’re doing? Stick with it! Don’t change your life for some bro who won’t appreciate you. BUT I get it. Obviously we wouldn’t have a movie if she didn’t go to law school, I just wish she decided to go to law school because she liked … law. Or wanted to be a lawyer. Or something. BUT I MEAN SPOILER ALERT: she does. And she’s a better lawyer than Werther could ever be, so let’s just pretend this was a gentle push in the right direction because none of you want to read a lecture by me on why Elle should have just peaced Werther out FOREVER.

5. The Elle Woods montage is one of my favourite things in the world

You know, I’ve never had to do a video essay or an essay application (because I’m a dropout), BUT if I did, it would still probably be nothing like this because I don’t have a pool. BUT I mean, if I did, I would probably make them watch me eat a lot of McDonalds just to instill fear into them (showing them what I’m capable of), thus convincing me to let them into their program. Think about THAT. [Everyone starts crying]

6. But I also love how her friends are supporting her

CORRECT, ELLE WOODS’ FRIENDS. CORRECT. You DO support her! That is what best friends and true friends do! Nobody tries to discourage her: they’re representing sisterhood in a major way, and it’s fantastic. Because you know what sisterhood is, guys? Having each other’s back (if I am going to break it down into the most basic form). YOU GO, GIRLS.

7. Ugh, why is everyone at this school so terrible?!

Now, is it completely out of line for me to think that everyone is being really judgemental of Elle for no reason? I mean, we’ve all been to school and/or in an environment where there are people, and I’m pretty sure nobody would make Elle Woods feel so stupid for dressing the way she does, or being chipper. She’s wearing pink and she’s got her small dog with her and she wants her special events calendar. SO WHAT. Leave her alone! (I will say, though, that when I was in my first year/only semester at college, I had “Barbie Girl” as my ring tone (because Aqua RULES) and it went off and I got made fun of behind my back for that – and also because I was chipper and wore bright colours. So … not that I’m trying to go to Harvard Law, but I will say that sometimes people ARE actually the worst, but you know what? YOU DO YOU, GUYS.)

8. I love Elle’s prof (played by Holland Taylor)

Because she rules, you guys. She rules and I want to be exactly. like. her. when I grow up.

9. Selma Blair IN THE HOUSE

Well talk about getting your revenge from last week, Selma Blair (if we’re going to go down memory lane, WHICH WE ARE). I mean, in all fairness, Selma Blair (as her character – not in real life) is the worst until the point in the movie where she realizes she’s acting terribly, but I will say that Elle Woods probably should have done her reading (because obviously, you guys – that’s what school is), and obviously Selma Blair had to agree with her prof because guys, have you ever NOT agreed with your prof when you’re being called out in class? No. Because it’s terrifying and you just want the moment to end as soon as it begins.

10. AS IF YOU GOT ENGAGED THAT SOON WERTHER

UGHhhhhhhHHHHHhhh and Werther calls Selma Blair “Pooh Bear”?! Not only an unoriginal nickname BUT THE WORST NICKNAME I might have to say. And this engagement? What is THAT even about. The thing about movies is that engagements seem to happen in about two weeks when in reality, that is not the case. Also, these guys are like… 22? SO SOON FOR THE ENGAGEMENT, you guys. I feel like this is almost like Mona Lisa Smile in that everyone’s getting married and they should actually maybe be focusing on how to get through Harvard Law? Am I wrong? I might be. YOLO, everyone. That’s all I’m saying.

11. Alright we all need to cringe over the “fighting over a guy” situation here

Because as wonderful as it is to watch Elle Woods decide to empower HERSELF (through work and through studying), it’s still pretty terrible to watch her fall into the old trap of competing with a woman for a man. Right, guys? I mean, if Werther can’t see how great Elle is, then let Vivian have him! Goodbye to both of them! HELLO TO KICKING ASS IN LAW SCHOOL. But at least we know this isn’t what the movie ends up being about. We know people aren’t prizes to be won – THANK GOODNESS WE KNOW THAT.

12. “I’ll show you valuable Elle Woods can be!”

Is the phrase my friend and I will say to each other sometimes during those incidences where everything in life feels like the worst. Even today! I had one of those mornings where everything went terribly awry, and my instinct was the mental, “I’ll show you how valuable Elle Woods can be!” before sitting down right here and getting my write on. And she did, you guys! SHE SHOWED THEM. She works hard – and then succeeds. The slogan I think we should all live our lives by.

13. And Jennifer Coolidge – just rules so hard

She just does. I don’t even know how I could articulate that better if I tried. So I won’t.

14. I don’t understand the bend and snap, I’m sorry

No, like, I understand why it’s funny. But I don’t understand what it IS. I didn’t when I saw Legally Blonde in theatres, and I don’t when I’m watching it now. I literally don’t get it. First, I can’t touch my toes (FULL DISCLOSURE). Second, I can 100% promise you that if I ever tried to “snap” it would turn out exactly like when Jennifer Coolidge punches the guy she likes in the face. Because I don’t know how to bend OR snap, and I don’t know why it’s supposed to be sexy and/or hawt? HAVE I FAILED AS A HUMAN. I don’t think so, though, because I get to write about Legally Blonde and movies for you guys, so that’s got to count for SOMETHING.

15. I don’t think you WOULD rather go to jail than lose your reputation, Ali Larder

I understand that you don’t want everyone to know that SPOILER ALERT you’d been having lyposuction (eh? spelling? anyone?) done, but after seeing a lot of Law and Order and even Oz once, I will say that you should probably just run with losing your reputation over this because you do NOT want to go to jail. You don’t! I mean, I know it looked fun in Arrested Development (those ice cream sandwiches seemed DIVINE), but at the end of the day, you will probably not survive it there according to everything I learned from reruns of Beyond Scared Straight.

16. And then Werther proves he is just as bad as Sebastian but in a different way

Obviously we’re going to return to Cruel Intentions and Sebastien because it was JUST LAST WEEK we descended upon whatever world 1999 was based in and/or around. So here’s where Werther goes from just being the guy I’ve given a terrible nickname to to being a guy that is probably going to grow up and be a dictator. Elle wants to keep Ali Larder’s alibi and Werther goes, “Who cares about Ali Larder – think about yourself.” GO TO BED, WERTHER. ENJOY YOUR TOFFEE CANDY AKA YOUR NAMESAKE. And may you live forever alone in a tiny foil shell that annoys everyone at movie theatres because there is ALWAYS that one person who is eating a Werther’s and it’s like, “WHY DID YOU BRING THESE OUT OF EVERY CONFECTIONARY TREAT?”

17. “I’m discriminated against because I’m a blonde!”

It’s true. And what’s even better about the Luke Wilson-Elle Woods subplot is that he tells her to harness her power and use it for the greater good. AMEN. NOT use it for Werther Original, who is actually Satan.

Also BY THE BY …

18. Remember how they show Elle’s awesome friend get bullied by those girls he asks out?

Is that real? DOES THAT HAPPEN? Aren’t these people supposed to be in their mid-20s? Even if these people were in their early 20s or late teens or even early teens, I don’t think anyone would respond to a date invite with “EW I DON’T DATE DORKS.” Nobody. Well, maybe the guy in high school who bullied me. BUT that is besides the point. What matters here is that after Elle makes the guy feel better, the girls want to go out with him, and he goes out with THEM? WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO. They are the worst girls worthy only for Werther Original, who, as we have previously stated, is the worst human on this face of the earth. But enough about this! Onto…

19. The cross-examination where they find out the pool boy is gay

I know nothing about law, but I do know that when we did mock trials in high school, I channeled Luke Wilson’s rapid-fire interrogation methods and used it to win my case. That, and every time somebody paused even to think, I’d shout, “You are under OATH, Mr. [fictitious mock trial name].” And they’d get nervous and mess up and then I WON. (And, after, wearing a business suit, I definitely ordered the Business Woman Special at the diner we all used to go to – only to find out it doesn’t exist, so I just had the $3.99 breakfast meal.)

20. UGH MR. ANDREWS WHY

So we all know the man who plays Callahan is actually Mr. Andrews from Titanic, so let’s just stop for a second to appreciate how he survived the shipwreck only to be a terrible lawyer who hits on his law students. However, GOOD ON ELLE for getting up and getting the EFF OUT and AHH now it is my favourite part where Holland Taylor is like “SHOW HIM UP.” Amen, Holland Taylor! We have all endured the wrath of quote-unquote “stupid pricks” (I am quoting the movie! Am I allowed to quote the movie?) like some of us who once had to leave her co-op gig in grade 12 when the aging DJ began to hit on her every morning (tales from my adolescence – what up, everyone!), so any time us ladies (or gents) come out victorious over these cretins, WE ALL WIN.

21. And Selma Blair…

WHY. Why are you so angry at Elle, Selma Blair! I mean, if I’m going to, say, accidentally walk in on someone being sexually harassed, I might go right ahead and ask afterwards what was going on. Like, “Are you okay?” or “Is something going on with you and our boss?” and then seeing how upset Elle obviously was, I would deduce that whatever was going on in that room was unwanted. So then we would talk and there wouldn’t be that terrible exchange in the elevator, and then some sort of hijinx would ensue like a good old-fashioned firing.

22. BUT THEN THE PERM PART

All of us (ALL OF US I DON’T CARE WHO YOU ARE) love this part because a) Mr. Andrews gets SHOWN. UP. and b) Elle wins the case and c) EVERYONE WINS BECAUSE OF THAT. Congratulations to this movie for just making us all feel better on days where maybe not everything was going right because you know what? It is an uphill battle, you guys, or at least that’s what I tell myself when I get news that’s not necessarily good and I think to myself “I’LL SHOW YOU HOW VALUABLE ANNE DONAHUE CAN BE.”

23. “First impressions are not always correct and you must always have faith in people”

AMEN, FRIEND. I won’t lie: I have judged (and we have all judged) people based on first impressions, and do you know who wins when that happens? None of us. Or at least not me. And what better way to feel better about our decision not to judge people based on first impressions than by watching Werther Original look so sad at the end? YOUR LOSS, WERTHER. May your endless supply of foil wrappers keep you warm at night because you know who won’t? Selma Blair and/or Elle Woods. Toffee for all! (Except none for Werther Original, bye.)

24. But I do seriously love the Selma Blair-Elle Woods friendship

Minus the apology that would have to ensue between the two for tricking Elle into dressing up like a Playboy bunny, bullying her in the study group, bullying her in general and then accusing her of having an affair, I really like how this whole thing turned out. I mean, we didn’t get to SEE Selma Blair apologize, but we can assume that she approached Elle afterwards and was like, “I’ve made some huge mistakes.” And Elle was like, “Indeed you did.” And then they split a bottle of wine and they’d bond over having been brainwashed by Werther whose candies were actually mind-control substances. Because that would explain why these rad ladies wanted to date him to begin with.

25. AND EVERYTHING IS TIED UP BEAUTIFULLY IN A WONDERFUL PACKAGE 

EVERYTHING! Just like last week, but EVEN BETTER because nobody dies! WE ALL WIN WE ARE ALL WINNERS.

“I mean, I won. I’m the winner.” – Denise Richards in Drop Dead Gorgeous after watching this scene. Yes you are, Denise. Yes you are.

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  1. Business Woman’s Special AND Becky Leeman? You melt my heart, Ms Donahue.

  2. Love the movie, love the article. It’s so well-written and hilarious and generally awesome. THANK YOU. <3

  3. I LOVE this movie and always have. I read this article at work today, and it took everything within myself to not laugh out loud every time you mentioned Werther. I love everything about this post, so thank you for making my day!

  4. I once quoted Legally Blonde during a GCSE English exam, writing ‘persuasively’ about exercise… “exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy… happy people don’t just shoot their husbands”
    Wise words. Wise, wise words Elle Woods.

  5. the #1 thing i learned from this movie is that you must not wet your hair within 24 hours of getting a perm at the risk of deactivating the ammonium thyglocolate. and that’s from memory ya’ll.

  6. This is amazing! I am so glad you reviewed the movie because it happens to be one of my all-time favourites. This movie makes me feel nostalgic and brings me back to when I first saw the movie and how it made me feel (AWESOME!). I watch this movie at least once a year (or more…I own the DVD) and usually when I need the motivation to get going on a project or something. I used to watch it every time I returned to school after the break and it made me want to get typing on my computer and get shit done (like Elle does on her super awesome Mac I used to be jealous of). I also love that you pointed out a lot of the things I find funny about the movie….NO ONE over the age of 15 says “I don’t date dorks” to a persons face.

  7. First of all, I love how casually say “YOLO” in your articles every week. You’re my hero.
    Second of all, I. LOVE. IT.
    Strangely, because I saw this movie not long ago, speaking about lawyer made me want to watch Two Week Notice. Long live to Sandra Bullock.
    PS: sorry for my english, I’m french.

  8. THIS. IS. TOO. GOOD. More like YOU win. YOU’RE the winner. Werther can go die in the belly of a swan with Cal The Worst.

  9. Two words: Linda. Cardellini’s. Hair. (Okay, three words)

  10. Thanks for reminding me what a great movie this is!

  11. I have never understood why the bend and snap is supposed to be sexy either! I guess they’re pushing their booties out, but honestly they look kind of silly!