Troop Beverly Hills: A Fabulous Flashback

Troop Beverly Hills
Photo by: drafthouse.com

Troop Beverly Hills is one of the most underrated girl power movies ever. The movie premiered in 1989, a year on the cusp of the ’90s before the Gulf War began when Hollywood was everything. It wasn’t just about the fabulous life of Beverly Hills residents, it’s a coming-of-age story about a group of girls, their troop leader, and the ultimate teen girl power movie predecessor to movies like Clueless and Mean Girls, both of which have similar themes.

I was 7 years old when this movie came out, and I have watched it dozens of times. As a little girl, it was one of my favorite movies because it gave me hope. I may not be rich or a wilderness girl, but I know – and did then – how to adapt and survive.

Reviewers and critics are often hard on this movie, but it’s worth a watch if you love three things: a good story, comedy, and a happy ending.

Here are my favorite things about Troop Beverly Hills:

Shelley Long – I’ve probably never seen another movie she’s been in, but I knew her from Cheers, so I recognized her at a young age. She’s over-the-top, super girly, and a little whiny. But she is a fantastic mother. As a mom, it’s hard not to respect a woman who never gives up and does everything she can to care for her daughter and troop. Long plays a loving and unconditionally accepting woman who goes above and beyond, no matter what obstacles she faces. She’s a great role model.

Unity – The movie brings together a diverse group of girls – both in the background and ethnicity – and shows how anything is possible when you work as a team. Sometimes we women struggle with female relationships because many times women are overly competitive, sneaky, and too cutthroat. Several “girl” movies deal with girl-on-girl crime, but Troop Beverly Hills shows that no matter what problems you have or how different you are, when woman (or people) come together, great things happen. It adds the team factor.

Relatability – Underlying themes include the struggles of divorce, neglectful parents, coming-of-age, money, power, politics, and fashion. It’s a great mother-daughter movie, although I bet there are some great dads out there who would enjoy it as well. When the movie came out, my parents were on the verge of divorce, so I related with Phyllis (Long) and her daughter Hannah (Jenny Lewis) the most. I could understand how the mom and child felt, and even today I bet there are thousands of kids who could do the same. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or what life you’ve lived, the theme of wanting a fulfilling life, sense of accomplishment, and love are something most of us always want.

Fun and Innocence – Sure there’s profanity, but it’s not overly done and used in the most passionate times. It’s a wholesome story that addresses serious issues in a fun, innovative way. Some of the fashion is ridiculous, the dialogue is smart, and there aren’t any shock scenes. I miss movies that work off the story instead of trying to amplify it for shock value. I miss movies with little if no CGI and good acting – movies that take a good story and characters and create a great movie. There are no overly dramatic scenes, and when there is drama, it is often followed with comedy to keep it lighthearted. We could all use a little more fun and innocence in our lives.

If you haven’t seen it or it’s been awhile, you should check it out. And feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. We love to hear from you!

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