Anne T. Donahue
Updated March 27, 2014 10:05 am

Old Lady Movie Night is a weekly (or so I try) column in which we gather, dressed like grandmothers, and watch/criticize movies in the spirit of, say, Dorothy Zbornak. (If she were in her 70s and 80s.) You’re not old if you like these movies, you’re not old if you know them. But sometimes I like to think of myself as the lady on The Simpsons who throws cats at people while wearing cardigans.

She’s the Man is an amazing movie. IT IS AMAZING, and you can tell by the fact I’ve skipped my standard greeting altogether to get right to the heart of the most important point I’ve ever made: She’s the Man is a blessing, and it’s completely underrated, and it challenges gender roles on a million levels, and Amanda Bynes rules.

She will always rule, by the by. Girlfriend had her own TV show and was a comedic force as a child. Recognize.

It’s been two and a half years since I started Old Lady Movie Night and within that time, we’ve revisited a lot of terrific (and extraordinary) films. However, She’s the Man is easily within the top 10 of all of them. It’s funny, it’s important, and it brought Channing Tatum into our hearts and minds, rendering my friends and I especially helpless against his charms and handsomeness in a time when we all liked the worst possible guys on earth. (We were 21. I was, at the time, trying to date a boy who added “Project” to his full name and called said “Project” a band. And who was also, for the record, secretly hooking up with his friend’s sister. So yes, like you, I needed Channing Tatum, more than you will ever know.)

So now, we finally conquer it: She’s the Man. A movie of soccer, and of feminism, and of Amanda Bynes eating chicken like a freaking hero.

1. So first off, LOVE that Amanda Bynes dumps that guy without so much as a written warning

Like, THANK YOU, creators of this movie. She does NOT entertain the double standard followed to a T by her terrible boyfriend (who won’t admit that women can play soccer/deserve access to the soccer field), and she stands by her beliefs and soccer skills instead of by “her man” who not only doesn’t have her back, but her takes delight in seeing women as a whole get treated horribly. Good on Amanda Bynes for switching schools! That school is terrible! Who is this coach? What’s his problem? Get out of here, everybody! (Particularly you, Amanda Bynes, who deserves the school whose coaches don’t discriminate based on gender.)

2. Also, Julie Hagerty is in this

So why don’t we all just pass out right now because Julie Hagerty is a gift mixed with the greatest birthday present. Have you guys seen Airplane! ? I assume yes, because we’re all in this together, and Airplane! is essential viewing in order to truly appreciate the 1970s and Leslie Nielsen. (Which I’m sure I’ve sung the praises of before.) Also, she has the EXACT same voice as my Mom. So if you ever want to know what my Mom sounds like, now you do. And yes, I sound much more like my very loud father. #Facts

3. Okay, let’s just get to the gender norm stuff — PART UN

So Amanda Bynes is at a beyond sexist school, but instead of pining over her ex, she seizes the opportunity to kick his ass via soccer, so she switches identities with her twin brother and attends an all-boy school. Already: brave. THEN, THOUGH, she has to play herself in various locales, where she’s constantly told to act ladylike and assume the gender roles that have been pushed on us since the beginning of time. What even IS “ladylike”?! What does that even mean?! Exactly. It means nothing. Because Amanda Bynes’ character is a damn hero, and not only dismisses said norms completely, unveils the horror of the patriarchy.

3. Part two: real truths

And I’ve tried wearing heels, and you guys, unless they’re chunky heels from the ’70s or ’90s I can’t. It’s too much. It’s too hard, and I’m not coordinated enough to not roll my ankle. So if you’re like me, every time someone suggests a pair of heels, just hand them this, printed out, and run away.

4. Okay, so let’s just get to the gender norm stuff — PART DEUX

NOW, speaking of the patriarchy (this is how I begin all my sentences all the time, by the way), immediately we see what our society expects of men versus what men actually want to give. Channing Tatum loves Amanda Bynes’ lab partner, but every time Amanda Bynes assumes he just wants to objectify her lab partner, he doesn’t — and actually gets upset when Amanda Bynes keeps going on about it/sex/etc. (AMAZING. See?) THEN, when feelings start to develop between the two of them, it’s actually kind of acknowledged instead just dismissed and laughed at. (Ex. when he gets freaked out by her voice/they hug during the spider crisis.) I mean, yeah, it’s handled like a teen film, but what other teen film has tackled gender norms and the myth of masculinity and the patriarchy like this? EXACTLY. So much to think about! All of which I’ve only done in recent years, meaning this movie is layered, meaning this movie is even better than previously thought.

Man alive.

5. More importantly (well, no — but still), I would have had six panic attacks by this scene

I certainly wouldn’t have handled it so well with such a wonderful excuse. I would’ve probably just started crying, gotten mad that I was being asked, then walked off the soccer field and into the sea. When you think about how terrifying it would’ve been for her to be incognito at a very masculine-oriented school, She’s the Man seems even more groundbreaking. Don’t believe me? (I mean, yeah, you probably do. But let me pretend I’m somehow in control of our intense feelings here.) I have more proof.

6. The hazing scene proves just how terrifying entering this world is

Because IMAGINE being woken up in the middle of the night, then taken from your bed, and told to strip (what is up, harassment/assault) in front of a group, and having to panic to the point of pulling the fire alarm because you will otherwise succumb to who knows what. Let’s face it: we were terrified during this scene. Why? Because WE KNEW how scared we’d be in that situation. What she was doing was a real risk! She had absolutely no power! But neither did these other men, who were also being subjected to hazing. But we actually got to feel it because she was in it as opposed to this being just another cinematic hazing scene. AHHH. Why haven’t a thousand think pieces been written about this movie, give me them I will write them all.

7. Also, the breakups are phenomenal

So first, we have Amanda Bynes telling her ex that he’s the worst and dumping him on the soccer field in front of his friends. Terrific. Then, she breaks up with her brother’s girlfriend by delivering a speech on the importance of inner beauty. She say anything other than the actual truth — she doesn’t call her names or slut-shame or her anything of the sort. She just tells her that this person’s inner beauty is lacking, which is even more hurtful because it’s even more true. And also, shout out to the guy from the first season of The Killing who wanted to ask out Eunice the whole time but couldn’t because — together! — of the patriarchy. (Honestly, let’s watch and buy this every day.)

Though disclaimer: I will say at first I was like, “Wait, ARE we judging Sebastian’s GF because she likes dressing up and the company of gentlemen and Amanda Bynes does not/lower key about it?” But no. Because we don’t judge Olivia, who also likes those things. OF COURSE Sebastian could’ve handled things better with his girlfriend to avoid all of this, but that was his bad. Amanda Bynes had to pick up the mess. AND I mean, this girl did greet Amanda Bynes with “Ew!” at one point, so listen. I’m just saying I probably wouldn’t be a huge fan either if I was AB, and my breakup would’ve been …actually, no. It would’ve been the same.


8. “Guy-man” was absolutely what we all called our friends after seeing this, by the way

Also, though, Channing Tatum TOTALLY loved Amanda Bynes on every level because if I told my friends some guy slipped and said I was hot, then tried to cover it up with “an appealing guy-man,” they’d be like “Oh, he likes you!” And I would know that already, then proceed accordingly, and/OR quietly phase him out of my life if I wasn’t down. All I am saying is that this movie is beautiful and I love it. Also, this scene made me laugh so hard because Amanda Bynes can DELIVER A JOKE, PEOPLE. (And I would’ve killed for her hair at this point, considering my own was short and blonde and wow guys Google “travesty” and you will find it, I promise.) (For the record: I mean her long hair. Not this wig. Though the wig was still arguably better than my own hair at the time.)

9. And yes, obviously I assumed Channing Tatum was like his character in real life

Because listen to this dialogue! Look at him! HE MEANS IT. So congratulations, Jenna Dewan, you and your husband probably have a very lovely life because everybody in that relationship is equal, and everybody is having a great time, and you can sleep at night knowing this is exactly what Channing Tatum thinks about relationships.*

*For the record, I have no idea if he actually thinks this way. But thinking the opposite breaks my heart, and I refuse to tolerate the idea that Channing Tatum isn’t as wonderful a human being as I assume him to be. Look at him staring at that soccer ball, or heaven’s sake.

10. But if you want to talk about being upset, let’s talk about the scene where Channing Tatum confronts Amanda Bynes

Honestly, what the hell, dude. I don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl or a dude or Amanda Bynes’ Sebastian hair, anything other than the facts is unwelcome in a disagreement. Just open with, “Hey, did you kiss your lab partner, who I love, kind of?” Or: “I swear I saw you kissing her, so what’s the problem?” AND BOOM. Done. Solved! Almost every movie I’ve ever seen involves me shouting at the TV at some point, “COMMUNICATE!!!” (Minus American Hustle because I love it so much.) And this scene was this time. Channing Tatum, ease up on the drama, son.


Like, COME ON. She loves him! She knows his game is a big deal! Yet she lets him sleep?! SHE RISKS HIM BEING KICKED OFF THE TEAM?! What is this?! All my sympathy for Eunice is gone now. Because hey, we have ALLLLLL had debilitating crushes on people, and I’m sorry, even if Tom Hiddleston was crashing at my place, I’d still wake him up when he wanted me to because despite the ability to watch him sleep (also creepy, yes? Am I the only person who would hate if someone did that to me, and will not do that to somebody else?), he needs to be on set. Duh. Because that’s his livelihood. Also, duh.

But also Eunice is the original Tina Belcher. Discuss.

12. And okay we will all suspend our disbelief, but we all know there’s no way Sebastian and Amanda Bynes look-alike, right?

Like, we know that? Like, when ALL OF A SUDDEN Sebastian can take off his shirt despite being allergic to the sun, and his hair is good now, and he doesn’t look like Amanda Bynes at all? HE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE HER AT ALL. And Channing Tatum wouldn’t notice? Channing Tatum who had kissed Amanda Bynes and shared a room with her for months?! COME ON. I mean, yes, we are suspending our disbelief because this movie is AMAZING (as mentioned 1400 times, no less), but get with the program, team.

Though for the record I have never laughed so hard as I did when thinking of how confused real Sebastian probably was trying to play soccer (and wondering how he got on the team in any capacity, despite not even trying out). I’m laughing right now, actually. Think about it. Okay good! Now we’re all laughing. IT’S JUST TOO GOOD.

13. And okay, no I won’t overlook the bathroom brawl

Because TECHNICALLY that is girl-on-girl hate which I said She’s the Man doesn’t have, but what are you supposed to do? NOT defend yourself if somebody physically assaults you in the ladies’ bathroom? I’ve never been in this predicament specifically PER SAY, but shout-out to Olivia and Amanda Bynes for ultimately joining forces against someone who may be a legitimately bad person. Like: Amanda Bynes didn’t fight Olivia (even though she was jealous of her), this was a fight about an awful human being awful, and the two lead ladies taking care of business.

I AM NOT SAYING to fight in a bathroom. Not at all. I am just saying that if there is going to be a girl vs. girl situation, it’s good that it’s not about Channing Tatum. That’s all I’m saying. Also: “Chew like you have a secret.”


Maybe I just went to a really poor school (I did!), but the only carnival we ever had happened like, once, and there were no rides, and absolutely no kissing booths (I don’t think), and actually it was really boring. There was a bouncy cancel, but it took place in the parking lot, and I don’t even think we had snacks aside from cotton candy. So are these carnivals for real? Do they happen in real schools? Is it a private school thing? Because ours was a public school thing, and a band played, and that band was a student band. Also, was this even a school carnival? Because otherwise why was Amanda Bynes’ ex-boyfriend there? SOMEBODY HELP ME KNOW. I feel left out. Additional point: kissing booths would scare me to no end. So many #germs.

15. And so it all ends perfectly

But you don’t need to hate high school anymore, guy from season one of The Killing! Because you end up dating Eunice, Olivia and real Sebastian end up together, Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum end up together, Amanda Bynes’ parents end up back together, the coach rips up the manual because he doesn’t discriminate based on gender, and scary Spider Guy and The Worst Human end up… probably together. And David Cross! There he is! In the words of Homer Simpson, everything is tied up in a neat little package. Particularly when the sexist ex is left crying in net because a ~*girl*~ scored on his defence.

She’s the man! We’re ALL the man! You go, Glen Coco.