Nostalgia Reality Check: Girl-Centric Coming-of-Age Film "FOXES"

I’m a Jeanie, I intuit other Jeanies and we are Annie-magnets. We long for the innocence of the Madges and the brass ovaries of the Deirdres.

Mar 28, 2012 at 12:00pm | Leave a comment

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Jeanie &
Annie &
Madge &
Deirdre.

You know those “classic formation rock band member names” T-shirts? I would like one with the names of the four teen leads from “Foxes.”

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Sitting bitch on my list of a developing series I’ll call Retro Girl-Centric Coming-of-Age Movies (Similar to Nostalgia Reality Check, but specific), “Foxes” fleshes out the this-girl/that-girl stereotypes more than most (including “Little Darlings” and that’s saying something); Jeanie (Jodie Foster) is the care-takin’, clever/smart-aleck-y, streetwise daughter of an absent British rock manager and an aging blond identity-crucified divorcee/ UCLA undergrad (Sally Kellerman).

Jeanie raises herself for the most part, dodges Mom’s sleepover guests and Me Generation existential freak-outs, and longs for her own apartment, preferably with her 3 constant companions. She seems like she’d never cry; yet she’s always crying.

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Annie (Cherie Currie of the Runaways) is the hangin’-on-Hollyweird-Boulevard  super-doper, the heavy-eyed elephant in the room, tragedy-to-be, daughter of a violent cop and a pilled-up zombie punching bag housewife. It’s the Annies of the world that pull us in with their chemically charming fearlessness and risk-taking, all tube tops and feathered hair.

She has the druggy talk of a dude (maaan) and you look up Hollywood Huggy Bear pimps to try to find her on a bender. She’s always just out of reach and if you could just save her and re-harness that energy for good, you’d all rule all of SoCal forever and ever and ever.

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Madge is the normie of the group, the baby. She has sweet, loving married parents, younger siblings, a clean comfortable home, and then an unlikely semi-secret 30-ish music industry graphic designer boyfriend (Randy Quaid).

She’s shy and nerdy with big glasses and baggy clothes, a little softer physically than the other girls (I will not call her fat or even chubby, but IMDb and everyone else will) and appears stalled at the threshold of adolescence. Except for that older boyfriend.

My husband asked me what I thought the backstory was there, adding that both Jeanie and Annie would have a certain appeal to an older guy, but that he didn’t see the draw to Madge. I said innocence and low self-esteem are red flags for a creep looking to Jerry Lee Lewis his not-cousin, or maybe he’s an LA transplant from the Midwest that never got over that 2nd chair clarinet from 9th grade.

Madge is the only one of the group that would even bother remembering the first-one-who-came-along.

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Deirdre, we get the least info on, but the stereotype is very clear. She of the spaghetti strap leotards, wedge heels, and cigarette holders, working over grocery-bagging surfers with a little happy-birthday-Mister-President and whoops-I-dropped-my-tic-tacs or whatever, is acutely aware of the power of her sexuality (“I never said I wanna go with him, I said I wanna ball him”).

Even though she breaks down at one point, bemoaning her sophisticate’s burden as liquor acquirer and revealing her mother doesn’t know where she is, my guess is Deirdre goes on to get the nose job and pose for Penthouse.

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“Foxes” is the “Sex & The City” prequel I’d write for the “Sex & The City” Movies/TV series I’d write. I’m a Jeanie, I intuit other Jeanies and we are Annie-magnets. We long for the innocence of the Madges and the brass ovaries of the Deirdres. We love our girl gang, but feel alone always anyway and live for a horse ranch fantasy dished out by our absentee rock star dad while he strokes our hair, tries to pay us off with clothes-shopping money and tells us our mom is doing her best (and she is, it just takes 20 years to sink in).

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These are not teenagers that revel in being teenagers, but “short 40 year olds” as Jeanie’s mother so accurately accuses. They want dinner parties and to run away to Oregon. They don’t want to be tethered to those families of origin any longer; they want to blow everything up.

It was a real bittersweet liberation when I finally felt I could ruin my own life, instead of living the consequences of others’ screw-ups. Adulthood.

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If you’ve never seen “Foxes,” give yourself this gift. If you have watched it, revisit. If for no other reason than a Chachi-era Scott Baio in tuxedo T-shirt on a skateboard. And Damone from “Fast Times.” And a young Laura Dern and a young Anthony Kiedis.

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 I’d like to continue my mini film class with “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.” You up for it?

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @RachelMcPadden