April 4, 2010

Drop Dead Gorgeous - 1999

Director: Michael Patrick Jann
Writer: Lona Williams
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Ellen Barkin, Allison Janney, Kirstie Alley, Brittany Murphy, Amy Adams

"Hi. I'm Amber Atkins, and I'm signing up cause uh my two favorite people in the whole world competed in pageants: my mom and Diane Sawyer... Course, I hope I end up a little more like Diane Sawyer than my mom. " Jann and Williams, two members of the film industry who came from nowhere and vanished after making this film, joined forces in the late 1990s to make this mockumentary about a high school beauty pageant in a small town in Minnesota.

For some reason, the film premiered to mixed reviews and fell $5 million short of a gross equal to its budget, but don't let that turn you off. It features stellar performances by the nearly all-female cast, has a plot with more and better twists than an M. Night Shyamalan film, and probably is the only movie to take advantage of the Minnesotan dialect better than the Coen brothers' Fargo. I don't know how I survived this long without having seen it, but I'm glad I have now.

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