“When you're feelin' sad and low / We will take you where you gotta go / Smilin', dancin', everything is free / All you need is positivity.”
Those are the opening lyrics to the Spice Girls song “Spice Up Your Life” and a basic synopsis of the girl group's 1997 movie Spice World.
At the time, it seemed like a fleeting pop culture phenomenon. But 20 years later, Spice World appears to have more staying power – and relevance – than anyone could have imagined. Here's why Spice World is a pop culture masterpiece.
The fashion in Spice World is out of this world, literally. There are platform sneakers, red glitter bustiers and puffy white NASA jackets (looking at you, Mel B.). This movie perfectly encapsulates '90s fashion and brings us back to a time when it was perfectly acceptable to where baby doll nightgowns as a form of self-expression.
Nothing says feminism quite like a girl group on top of the world making a movie about themselves being on top of the world. No, but seriously, the overall plot line of Spice World is about the group standing up for themselves as women in an industry that's often fueled by misogyny. While screaming “girl power” every five seconds doesn’t make you a feminist, setting boundaries and demanding equality does.
Freedom (from a romantic plot line)
One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is that there is no romantic interest. Five attractive women starring in a movie and not one of them has a love interest? Seems impossible, and quite frankly, borderline outrageous.
But Spice World manages to pull it off in a way that’s both empowering and refreshing. Besides, who needs a man when you have best friends?
The major plot line of Spice World is friendship. While the movie certainly revolves around the friendships within the group itself, the Spice Girls also care deeply about their very pregnant friend, Nicola.
They care so much about her, in fact, that they take her to a club when she’s nine months pregnant to cheer her up. Of course, this results in Nicola going into labor and the Spice Girls nearly missing their live show.
The moral of the story: friendship never ends (even if you’re a shitty person who takes a pregnant woman to a loud, crowded club).
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Undoubtedly, the best part of Spice World is that it’s just plain fun. There’s singing, dancing, bad acting, weird cameos (hi, Meatloaf!) and plotlines that don’t make you think.
It’s an hour and a half of light-heartedness that leaves you feeling a little bit empowered, a little bit nostalgic, and a little bit British.
Spice World didn't win any Oscars, but it certainly has left a mark on pop culture history.
FilmBar will present seven screenings of Spice World between Friday, September 22, and Thursday, September 28. Tickets are $9, and a few showings have sold out as of this writing. For more information, see the FilmBar website.