Poor, Downtrodden Souls

This is an ultra-stupid topic, but since I haven’t thought about it in roughly 15 years, I thought I’d rant for a second.

1989 was an interesting year. Apparently, someone in Hollywood decided that the plight of the rich & famous was worth creating a movie called Troop Beverly Hills (Roger Ebert’s review). For those that can’t or won’t remember, Troop Beverly Hills seemed to be a harmless abortion of a movie about a Girl Scout-based troop of girls from Beverly Hills who are looked down upon by the other, better troops around the country. After montages of shopping, unique cookie-selling ideas, and being rich set to fun, late-80s music, the pint-size heiresses overcome all odds to win the Best Girl Scout-ish Troop trophy at the annual Jamboree. Overall, it’s harmless 80s tripe. Except for the fact that when you think about it, it’s the biggest slap in the face to anyone making less than $500,000 per year.

The heroes of this farce are little girls whose parents are movie stars, ultra-rich business people, and what appears to be Communist dictators. They want for nothing, yet we’re supposed to feel all sad because some poor girl in troop NotRich treats them like the elitist shits they are.

The movie basically takes the premise of these kids’ organizations (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc.), which primarily exist to afford lower-to-middle class kids a sense of teamwork, responsibility, social conciousness, and environmentalism, and says, “What if they did all that, while shopping at the Beverly Center?” Fuck you Hollywood, right in your ass. Social conciousness is not realizing that you can extend the fabulousness of Rodeo Drive deep into the forest on a nature walk.

The ending is absolutely surreal. The “triumphant” scouts of Troop Beverly Hills are cheering and celebrating the fact that their street-savvy richness won the competition for them, and then their parents jostle their way through the crowd of poor losers to get to the front and applaud the fact that their children have won in life… again. If I was one fo the other kids standing around I would have found the nearest sharp implement and shanked Shelly Long within an inch of her life, whether a Communist dictator was present or not.

— who cares about this movie, but fuck what it stands for.

PS– This review, by an apparently gay man who holds the movie up as “high camp”, completely misses what Ebert picked up in his review. The movie could have been satirical, but instead chose to revel in the richness of Beverly Hills. There is no salvation of characters, other than Shelly Long going from a rich bitch to a rich bitch who isn’t a bitch to the half-dozen rich kids she chaperones a few days a month. bleh. High camp my ass, it’s just awful.

31 thoughts on “Poor, Downtrodden Souls

  1. Why did I write this? Because I was trying to fix my broke-dick dog of a TV this morning, and when I finally fixed the cabling problems the first thing that greeted me was the climax of Troop Beverly Fucking Hills.

  2. i’m gonna have to go ahead and… disagree with you there guy. don’t you think the overall theme of this film is: commonplace values are worth more than material wealth?? it’s only once these shelly longed children learn the value of “scouting” (already understood by all us simple folk) that they grow as individuals and gain happiness and come together whatever whatever. so… the moral of this story is not that these kids have won in life “again” but that they finally have gained true wealth by completing a worthy goal…working together, overcoming adversity etc etc etc. also i think you should censor your language, “fuck you right in the ass” is truly, truly repugnant. BOOM! OFFENDED CAL OUT

  3. Jesus Christ on rollerskates, the next-to-last person to disagree with my thesis (after Big J) should be you Cal. So you’re saying that helping rich people feel better about their station in life (!) is more important than helping underpriveledged kids do the same? As if a young Paris Hilton learning that gardners are human beings too (all while showing the glamour of shopping in Beverly Hills) is more heartwarming than some lower-middle class girl learning things like teamwork? Your argument is bullshit, because in the end the rich folks learned the following lesson: I can be an ostentatious ass and still “win” as long as I’m a sincere, ostentatious ass. Also: I will not censor myself on my own website. Fuck Hollywood, all they make is donkey shit.

  4. Cal, I think we’re committing crimes against logic. If I called you an old bag, I would immediately end the debate, but not in the way we’d like. Instead, let’s rent the movie, watch it, and then discuss its economic ramifications over tea.

  5. More on the swearing… Let me explain myself here. I’ve believe I’ve learned a lot from having a constant parade of panhandlers and speed junkies outside my front door. And not just those guys either… I don’t know what it is with Duboce triangle but the REAL NUTS like the guys barking and screaming and also the guys who have completely lost their voices but continue to bark and scream (this is horrific by the way) like dogs whose vocal cords have been cut but continue to bark… In watching these people every day it has occurred to me that I should try to live my life in exactly the OPPOSITE fashion of these people. Pretty much in every way… First off easy stuff like they are filthy and root in the garbage and eat garbage… Prob shouldn’t do that… But other things as well… They are mean to each other, they are paranoid, they are constantly bickering and offended by one another… But the most noticeable thing is the constant constant! stream of cursing that comes out of their mouths. Why is it universally true that every lunatic that has completely lost his mind with the tinfoil hat etc is swearing– either muttering to himself or loudly to the world? And the guys who bark don’t just bark it’s more like bark/fuck/bark/fuck/bark/fuck! Why not bark/rabbit/bark/sailboat/bark/apple? I don’t really know… But I know when I slam my thumb with a hammer I don’t say: sailboat! Apple! I say fuck. Loudly. And I think that I do it because I’m extremely upset and the guttural vulgarity of fuck! reflects this state of mind. I have been offended– in that there is pain shooting through my fucking thumb and up into my hand so I want the world to know this! and in a way I want YOU to join me and be offended too! Anyway so these people are living in sort of a thumb smashed mind state and it’s truly sad. I think remembering this helps keep me compassionate, and I try to be compassionate, as difficult as it is when it’s never ending and every day stepping over some heroin addict suffering withdrawals.
    Hmmmm… What was my point? Well, I think swearing is low and vulgar. That’s about it. I think it’s an incredibly simple and base way to express yourself and regrettable. Not that I don’t swear, I do. But I think we would all be better, more communicative, healthier people if we did not. Let the firestorm begin!

  6. Maybe I’ve been listening to too much hip-hop. Anyways, you haven’t yet produced evidence that those rich assholes learned anything at the end of that movie about rich assholes.

  7. dude this is the cal/moneypenny show… madd’s wide world of gambling comes on at 10:00 stay tuned. where the rest of you… at?

  8. Cal, after ruminating on your anti-swearing post I’ve come to a conclusion. While its admirable that you want to live your life opposite one of my sworn enemies (the SF Hobo), I think you are fixating on one aspect of their character that is not confined to crazy hobos. Using off-color language has been around longer than schizophrenic street-people on Market street. It’s uncouth and vulgar, and that’s the fucking point. Would I say that to my grandma? No. Would I say it to you? Yes. Would I say it to my boss? No. Would I say it to Judd? Yeah, that dude loves swearing. Besides, a fun pasttime is coming up with new ephitets.

  9. Troop Beverly Hills… I’ve never seen it save a few scenes at O’Neil’s when we were kids (his sister, then a girl scout, was keen on it) but it looks like this can go down a couple different paths.

    1. The message really is warped.
    2. The director chose to go the romantic instead of the naturalistic route, and this is clashing with Moneypenny’s inner Norris.

    As long as the “moral” is sound you can set the story on any stage and slap any mask you want on your characters. Some people enjoy grand happenings on a grand stage, and here Beverly Hills is a replacement for castles and princesses.

  10. zach, you might be right. cal, you might be right. wwhazz, your conclusion that either of them might be right is also right of course. i think it’s what people expect from the art of movies… are movies supposed to be provocative? are they supposed to teach lessons through example or counter example? can a movie tell a story without making value stances? would you pay to watch a movie that didn’t? “we’re supposed to feel all sad because some poor girl in troop NotRich treats them like the elitist shits they are” who is suggestiong you are supposed to feel that way? maybe you were supposed to feel sickly empowered by the townies talking some smack. maybe you were supposed to feel guilt or pride… maybe it’s just a low budget nickolodean movie and it doesn’t matter. who knows. so it seems zach likes to perceive life through the path of example… if i see something good, it’s good, so the opposite of it is bad. cal’s rightful hatred of the front stoop h addict seemingly drives his life through counter example…. if i see something bad, it’s bad, so the opposite of it is good. the thing is there are plenty of examples where both of these conclusions fall short. right and wrong is mainly shades of gray, and i think that is the true message of the classic Troop Beverly Hills.

  11. cursing is another topic well in the realm of shades of gray. every known language contains curse words. the history channel did a huge show about it. they didn’t really prove anything, just a bunch of speculation, but interesting none the less. and if you want to have the cursing discussion, might as well get up to speed on the n bomb as well…. it’s the same logical loophole.

  12. also, the cattiness between little girls can not be compared to your own experiences as a little boy… even if you both were scouts… so maybe this movie captures something you don’t understand… maybe this movie holds the key to all understanding. maybe shelly long just needed some coke money and POOF, MOVIE! way too many unknowns to critique a movie that quite possibly never intended to be criticized. imagine what things were like on the set… i mean, could you really read that fluff and get in to character and sell the emotion? no, because it just doesn’t make sense. it’s a fluff piece. shelly long’s coke is long gone so just let it be.

  13. I think this conclusion is grade A:

    “Anyway so these people are living in sort of a thumb smashed mind state and it’s truly sad. “

  14. THAT IS JUST WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT THOUGH… just because smashing your thumb implies the state of screaming “fuck”… screaming “fuck” doesn’t imply the mind state of smashing your thumb. couldn’t you yell out “fuck” in frustration over loving someone or something too much? you have absolutely no reason to read into their cursing, thus any assumptions are very dangerous. so the correct response is to gain more information… “hey, hobo, you upset?”. his response should either tell you your answer, or confirm you will never get it. then move on.

  15. first of all: bark/fuck

    secondly, the reason we fear hobos is because the line that separates us from them (if we’re honest about it) is pretty damn thin. i mean, christ, some days i get home from work and am this close (my fingers are about a centimeter apart) from running naked down pierce ave. bark/fucking. think back to the great adolescent novel The Outsiders. remember darry (Pat Swayze in the movie)? remember what pony boy had to say about darry, his older brother and protector? He said, “The only thing keeping Darry from being a Soc is us.” truer words were never spoken, pony. well, there’s not a hell of a lot keeping all of us from becoming raving lunatics, pulling our cocks behind a tree in a public park or what-have-you. we’re all living with thumb-smashed minds. some are just more smashed than others.

    stay golden, pony… stay golden.

  16. Alright, kt, i’m right in the other room. if you’ve got something to say… and stop sending subliminal anti-brian vibes to my child.

  17. Um, we’re trying to have a conversation here, will you please stop interrupting us.

    Now, my little bambino… on to the subject of your father…

  18. kt: In the words of the immortal Jim Riggenbach– former social studies teacher at Webster Middle Schoo– Don’t sing it, bring it.

  19. whoa– KTK and Friends came on right after Madd’s Wide World of Gambling i stayed up all night to watch. KTK you crazzyYYYYYYY!!!!

  20. Cal, I got a gift for you. You don’t get it until the wedding though. (hint– it’s not a punch in the face… probably.)

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