Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: "Spice World" Anne T. Donahue

DOES ANY BETTER MOVIE IN THE WORLD EXIST? Does it? I’m not even asking rhetorically, I am asking you seriously because Spice World, hello, you are a beautiful gift from the heavens above.

Think about it. Think about how: a) most of us collected each and every Spice Girls piece of memorabilia until our babysitting money ran dry and b) saw Spice World in the movie theatres one million times, only to buy it to watch and re-watch it a million MORE times because you couldn’t possibly see this movie enough. You couldn’t! It was impossible. It IS impossible. And while I may be a 26-year-old grown-ass lady writing about a group of five women who sang (the greatest) pop songs (of the last 50 years minus The Beatles), I will not devalue Spice World. Not now, not ever.

I was obsessed with the Spice Girls. I owned the dolls and the scrapbooks and the postcards and the stickers, and then I MADE scrapbooks because there wasn’t enough paraphernalia in the world to satisfy my massive obsession. I wanted to  be them. More specifically, I wanted to be Baby, and perhaps maybe Victoria because I liked her hair. (But mostly Baby because she wasn’t THAT much older than me, and I thought I was blonde.) (I wasn’t.)

Unfortunately, I was the only person in my grade seven class who WAS obsessed with the Spice Girls, so I sat many lunches alone, reading and plotting how I would trick the man at the variety store across the street into giving me a stick of Spice Girls gum with a sticker I didn’t yet have. (I couldn’t – and I did not.) I only saw Spice World in theatres once, but I DID own the VHS, so if you’re even THINKING of calling me a fair weather fan . . . go ahead, because I didn’t end up making it to the reunion shows.

OH THE HUMANITY.

So we watch. And we wait. For what, I’m not sure. But it’s on. It’s begun. And the theme song is playing and I am having flashbacks of trying to find YET ANOTHER set of Spice Girls post cards for less than the $5 my Dad is/was willing to lend me, so run! Go! SAVE YOURSELVES!

1. “Too Much” was not my favourite Spice Girls song

WHO CARES, ANNE, right? I know. But they open with this song, and there’s the psychedelic effects but I just DID NOT care. Give me “Spice Up Your Life”! Give me “Wannabe”! Give me give me give me a man after midnight! (Abba reference – ‘SUP.) But not “Too Much.” Mostly because I did not truly understand what this song meant, and that bored me, but it didn’t stop me from scream-singing it in my Nana’s car, who hated the Spice Girls, probably because the only photos of them she saw were the ones I  would shoved in her face while she was trying to drive us home from the mall (where I bought more Spice Girls photos).

2. ELTON!

I don’t even care that this was only a cameo. He should’ve won an Oscar, and there’s no way I’m about to argue otherwise.

3. This movie probably played a huge role in why I’ve over-romanticized the UK since I was a tiny baby

First, I know for a fact that it was a VH1 Beatles documentary that REALLY solidified my over-romanticization, and then after that it was the BBC Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. BUT THEN it was Spice World. Because you know why? No, I am asking you. I don’t actually know why, so I’m looking to you to point in me in the direction of how Spice World made you want to be British. They don’t even really FOCUS on Britain! They’re just … there. Whatever, you guys, I’m having cheese fries. (Regina George reference #29248)

4. THE BUS

SHUT IT DOWN, all of our cars suck in comparison and always will. LOOK AT ALL THEIR ROOMS AND/OR SECTIONS OF THE BUS! LOOK AT THEM. There are couches and mirrors and a fishtank and a gym and ugh, guys, I’ve failed as an adult, I think. At least when it comes to transportation and/or how I’ve decorated my room.

5. Shout-out to The Chief

My Mom thought he was so weird – totally not her type of humour. But mine? Well, DUH. Because I think we are all the Chief. Or maybe *I* am the Chief. Or at least I am a person who would happily shake martinis hanging out with a cat all day while giving orders over the phone. (No. But I do like to speak in cryptic code!)

6. There is actually quite the adult storyline involved in this

So Nicola is in the house, and she’s pregnant, and all the girls run over to her, but she’s a single mom? Her deadbeat partner has totally left her? What the hell, Nicola’s boyfriend?! When you’re 12, you think “Aw, a cute pregnant lady!” and then you’re older and you’re watching it and you’re writing about Spice World for, say, you guys, and you realize what a terrible man this person was! It’s okay, Nicola! YOU HAVE YOUR BEST FRIENDS, THE SPICE GIRLS. Whats-his-name-the-terrible-boyfriend can suck an egg, and not one with mayo. (“She calls it a mayon-egg!”)

7. Do you really think they’d have to practice so much for this gig?

So the MAJOR PLOT LINE of Spice World is this: the Spice Girls are going to play their biggest show ever at Royal Albert Hall, and they need to do everything in their power to do well at it. Meanwhile, two Hollywood big shots want to make a Spice Girls movie (what up, Mark McKinney!), while Clifford the manager just wants everything to move according to schedule AND the paparazzi are also seeking to destroy the band. Moral of the story: the girls just need to take control of their lives. DID YOU GET ALL THAT? Okay, well can we ask the REAL question of the hour? WHY ARE THEY REHEARSING WHEN THEY PROBABLY PLAY GIGS EVERY DAY? Right?! I think of bands and they usually play shows every day with maybe ONE day off in between, and they are certainly not going to practice on that. SO WHAT THE HELL, CLIFFORD is what I’m saying. You are a drill sergeant.

8. “Or if they find a cure for deja vu.”

Okay, this movie is actually comedic gold. GOLD, JERRY. GOLD. The humour! The self-awareness! The sarcasm! The dialogue! I don’t think Spice World got enough credit. I was SHAMED for loving this movie. But now? NOW, WHO IS SHAMED. (The people who shamed me, maybe? I don’t know.) BUT NOT ME. I am not shamed! NONE OF US ARE. We are laughing at everything that is said in this movie minus the part where everyone fights and the group almost breaks up.

Because that’s not something I was ready to joke about then, or even joke about now.

9. “I am really fed up with thinking I talk about clothes all the time”

But Victoria Beckham! You are a fashion designer now! HELL YES. EMBRACE IT. (When you think about it, though, isn’t it wild that she went from a pop singer who liked high fashion to being the authority she is? Like, she wasn’t even one of the most outlandish Spice Girls! You created your own destiny, Posh Spice, and you are SMILING and it is GREAT.

10. MULTI-DIMENSION UP IN HERE

ANOTHER THING I love about Spice World (help me – I’m out of control, this is a spiral, I need to be rescued, please) is that there’s so much more than just the typical “we are musicians in a movie!” They’re making fun of the media, they’re making fun of themselves and they’re making fun of those terrible “female stereotypes” and you cannot go wrong with this. And you know what? They DIDN’T go wrong. And I KNEW I liked this movie for a reason! (Guys, I’m three minutes from running over to the houses of the elementary school “cool kids” to cream “LOOK AT ME NOW LOOK AT ME NOW!” while covered head to toe in Spice Girls paraphernalia. SAVE ME FROM MYSELF.)

(Don’t make fun of Geri or feminism, Scary Spice, come on.)

11. I need to know where I can find that “Come On” song

I’m not one to complain (LOLOL) but WHY IN THE WORLD wasn’t this song on any sort of Spice Girls CD or tape or VHS or ANYTHING. What a song! The fist pumps! The dancing! And I still can’t really find it anywhere? Okay, I didn’t really look. And I mean, now, we could all hop onto the internet, Google and presto, but then – THEN, you had to BUY SINGLES. On CDs, you guys. For $10! And I would have. OH HOW I WOULD HAVE. But no. NO, I was lied to. (“LOOK AT ME NOW!”)

And then there were the ass-less pants, and my Mom’s disapproving gaze upon the screen.

12. Now, I will say that the alien part may be the weakest

Okay, we all know how adamant I was about praying to the Spice Girls alter every night before I slept, but even this part with the aliens, I was like, “Okay. I can go to the bathroom now” and/or “I can go and ask for a third layer of butter on this popcorn, then.” And then the alien grabs Scary’s boob? No thank you. Go to bed, aliens. Take a long, restful nap in a galaxy far, far away. I’m not buying this. NOT FOR A SECOND.

13. But why would Clifford promise the Spice Girls the morning off if nothing was confirmed!?

WHY. That is like telling someone they are getting a bonus and then being like, “OH I forgot, I forgot to ask about the bonus, and then when I remembered, my boss said no.” WHAT?! I would quit or walk out or get mad or SOMETHING. But seriously. Clifford. Why would you even get their hopes up if there was a risk of it not happening?

“And that’s why you should always leave a note.” – George Bluth Sr.

14. DANCE CAMP!

Also not my FAVOURITE part of the movie, but I can get behind the “Mama” dance (because I performed it alone in the middle of my street every night for about three months – guys, I was so lonely) and the Army cheer: “Strength and courage and a Wonderbra!” Although at the time, I was a child, so I just thought the word “bra” was hilarious. (You find out now that I still think the word “bra” is hilarious and that I just got in from doing the “Mama” dance alone on my street.)

15. Geri may be my new favourite Spice Girl

You know, I think when you’re little you are totally supposed to relate to Baby because she’s Baby! She’s non-threatening and lovely and doesn’t go on about facts and feminism or wants to play chess. Because you’re 12! BUT NOW? YOU GO, GERI. She’s promoting equality, girl power and general knowledge. Geri, if you are reading this, let’s be friends. (You too, Baby! And Posh. And Scary. And Sporty. WE ARE ALL BEST FRIENDS HERE.) (Here in my mind is what I’m trying to say.)

16. When the kids win the Spice Girls day-date prize, WE ALL WANTED TO BE THEM

Well I know I did, anyway. And I STILL want to be them. But I will say that I would’ve rather have stayed on the bus and eaten snacks and hung out there than go in the boat. And yeah, I say this because we know they’re all going to fall in the water, but also more importantly because I saw the spread on that bus. There were sandwiches and chips and candy and cupcakes and balloons, and I think that is always immediately better than being plunged into the water.

Also, shout-out to Victoria, who actually hates her life a) on the boat and b) in the water. I GET YOU, FRIEND. (I went canoeing once and sat completely still clutching the middle-bar with the fear of someone who was canoeing. I hated it. I was afraid. And I never want to be a part of it again.) (And I was on the canoe for 15 minutes.)

17. But if the Spice Girls didn’t show up to Royal Albert, wouldn’t that be really unfair to the fans?

The Spice Girls would never abandon their fans at the Royal Albert Hall (I tell myself)! So why would they threaten not to show? THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Just fire Clifford instead! Get out of here, Clifford! is what I would say to Clifford if he was my manager. But not the fans! Those kids paid. THEY PAID MONEY. And some of them weren’t mentally prepared for when Ginger left like, three months after this movie came out. But that’s another story. Haaaa ha ha ha HAAA.

18. Do you think Nicola resented that her friends became famous and left her behind-ish?

So I’m at the part where the Spice Girls are hanging in that now-defunct restaurant (SO SAD CANNOT DEAL) and Nicola is there, but I mean, it’s not exactly like she got to join the ladies in the fame and/or fortune and/or fun. IN FACT, they kind of abandoned her even after her boyfriend peaced out and she was nine months pregnant plus 14 more. Maybe I am a terrible person (sometimes), but I would resent them. A lot. And I would be all “you’ve changed!” and it would be exactly like in those movies where somebody says, “YOU’VE CHANGED! It used to be all about the  music!” and there would be an instrumental soundtrack, and the person would cry and I’d cry but then it would be beautiful.

I have never thought about this before in my life.

19. AND THEN THEY TAKE THE PREGNANT GIRL TO THE BAR

LADIES, WHY. I’ve had a few pregnant friends, and by the time they were ready to pop, the last thing they wanted to do was stand up let alone go out. AT NIGHT. In fact, my one friend danced too hard at my other friend’s wedding two years ago and went into premature labour because of that. I’m not even joking! She got up to dance to Ne-Yo and a few hours later that night BOOM, she had a baby girl. So I am saying that it was completely the Spice Girls fault that Nicola went into labour at the bar. Because I know what dancing can do you, you guys. Even if it’s not to Ne-Yo.

20. BUT they would’ve been able to be there for the baby AND make the show in time

Right? So they’re out at like… midnight, and Nicola goes into labour, and what time is the Spice Girls show supposed to start? I mean, most shows start at 9. So 9? WHY IS EVERYONE FREAKING OUT AT LIKE, 2? The girls are at the hospital now, and they’ve been there for over 12 hours, and GOOD GOD, everyone, calm down. Minutes to curtain up when there’s daylight? Is this a matinee? NO ONE PERFORMS IN THE DAY UNLESS IT’S OUTSIDE. Clifford, you’re hysterical, CALM DOWN. (Said in Don Draper’s voice.) It’s afternoon! They shouldn’t need to be there until the moon rises!

21. THE BUS CHASE

I don’t understand you if you’re not laughing during this scene. The bridge jump, the balancing on the roof of the bus, the bomb, the “Hi Charlie! Hi William! Hi Harry!” bit, and now they are running up the stairs to the Rocky theme and the police are going to arrest them, and they have frightened the pigeons and that is a CRIME. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? WILL THEY MAKE IT? It is 1 pm and the show is going to start because everyone has scheduled a show at the most inopportune in the world!

22. “And I walk out into center stage . . . and hang myself.”

What does it say about me that when I was 12 and watching the part where Clifford has a mental break I laughed harder than in any other scene of the film? I tried to deliver the same kind of humour in class after I saw this, and I will tell you this much for free: nobody finds that joke funny when you are 12, or ever, really, especially when you’re talking about a school project, and your group is like, “Um… no, why don’t we just use bristol board?”

23. Please RT if you know all the moves to “Spice Up Your Life”

I know this isn’t Twitter, and I don’t care. 14 years after this movie came out, I STILL know the moves to this Spice Girls song AND “Stop” AND “Who Do You Think You Are?” but not “2 Become 1″ because that song has no dance moves and is just a montage of people kissing with the Spice Girls standing outside in the winter. BORING. Slam it to the left, everyone!

24. SO MANY BRITISH CELEBRITIES

I don’t think anyone understands how happy it makes me to see Mark McKinney (CANADIAN I know, let me have this), Alan Cumming, Claire Rushbrook, Bob Geldof, Elvis Costello and EVERYONE IN THE WORLD hanging out and uniting over the Spice Girls. And then they pretend they can see us in the movie theatre? THE BEST PART. I knew they were lying – I wasn’t stupid, you guys. But you know what? I appreciated it. I got it, you guys. I was onto them. They were making a JOKE, and I was in on it in a weird way. We were all in it! Posh liked our dresses! Mel KNEW we were going to the pub (at age 12) and RIGHT: we forgot about the bomb!

Spoiler alert: it blew up, but EVERYONE WAS OKAY.

25. And it ends, and my love is rekindled

Well everyone, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t filled with substantial regret after not continuing to curate my Spice Girls collection well into my 20s after sitting here in silence following the “Viva Is A Vamp” (or something) credits (no, but I danced to “Wannabe” while making more coffee). Instead, I threw it away. I THREW IT AWAY. But you know what I won’t throw away? This movie (because it’s on Netflix, and I can’t throw away Netflix unless you mean “cancel my membership” and if that’s what you actually mean, I think you’re a monster). Because it’s smart, and it’s camp, and it’s a perfect representation of what it was like to be a teenage girl in 1998. I am going to listen to the rest of the entire Spice Girls discography now, and I am going to bask in the glow of GIRL POWER where sisterhood is represented and we are willing to skip shows at the Royal Albert Hall because our best friend is about to have a baby.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. GIRL POWER. SPICE GIRLS.

Zig-a-zig-ah.

comments

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  1. My little friends and I had every line of this movie memorized at one point! One of my fondest childhood memories was the effort that it took to twist my hair into horns just like Scary Spice to go to their concert (sans Ginger)… only to discover that Mel B’s horns were a HEADBAND! Also, I laughed my head off at the “and hang myself” line!!!!

  2. I remember aged 10 was when I was obsessed with the Spice Girls. The lollipops and stickers, the gum, the dolls, etc. I even remember owning a “Spice Mice” sweater. I was legit obsessed and always really loved the relationship all the girls had with one another. This movie was definitely played a lot in my house, but reading through your post, I’m like “What?” It’s been so long since I’ve seen it. Maybe I’ll watch it again! Thanks for the laughs in this post though :)

  3. Amen to all of that! Spice Girls forever! (And I love the George Bluth Sr. quote! I say that all the time.)

  4. LOVED this movie when I was little. My favorite part is when they’re in the woods trying to use the restroom and they run into the aliens. Hilarious!!

  5. Thank you for posting this! Total kindred spirit!

  6. Lord I remember seeing this film as a kid and loved it. Thanks for bringing back the good memories. :)

  7. YESSS! I have been under the impression for years that the only thing that possibly could have been better than Spice World was if they actually MADE the “Spice Force Five” movie that was pitched. How ridiculously awesome would that have been???

  8. Your articles are always my fav, but this one my be my fav of all time! I remember when this came out i didnt appriciate some of the humor as much as i do now, and yes the alien part is prob the only part i coudl live without. Thanks for this and now i will go home and watch this and feel 13 again!

  9. The Leader of the Gang is (unfortunately) a Gary Glitter song, which means that it’s pretty much impossible to find due to the whole child porn thing, and him receiving royalties. Remember when Glee did a Gary Glitter song and everyone freaked out? Pretty much the same thing…
    He was actually supposed to be in the movie, but his part was cut because of his arrest (but there was still a sticker of the girls and him in the movie sticker book)…

    • …Oh dear. Yikes. WELL. That changes everything, and… yikes. And oh dear (again).

      Anne T. Donahue | 6/14/2012 10:06 am
  10. Oh my goodness, I could not appreciate this ENOUGH. I know I was only 7 years old when this movie came out but trust me I did NOT miss a beat. I also laughed and felt nostalgic while reading this entire post, thank you. Also, thank you for reminding me that I need to turn on Spice World right now. Girl Power.

  11. OMG, you’re like, my soulmate!!!! Spice World is a masterpiece, people just don’t get how fabulous it is (even the alien scene). The Spice Girls don’t get all the recognition they deserve… And Victoria’s vocal skills are not that terrible, I have always thought her voice is kinda good, actually. GIRL POWER!

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