15 Life Lessons We’ve Learned From Drop Dead Gorgeous, 15 Years On

A decade and a half on from the cult black comedy's premiere, we take a look at some things we've learned from the beauty pageant film


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Today marks 15 years since the premiere of Drop Dead Gorgeous, the beauty pageant mockumentary showing small-town corruption at its very funniest. Apart from commenting on how fast time flies, we would like to take you through the moments in the cult film we’ve learned from the most. Hopefully it’ll convince those of you who haven’t watched it already to check it out, so if you’re still thinking of watching it spoiler-free you should probably stop reading and head over to Netflix now.

Starring Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, the late Brittany Murphy, Kirstie Alley and Amy Adams, it flopped at the box office, making just $10.5m. But as it’s endured as a cult classic throughout a decade and a half of pop culture, life lesson number one comes in the form of re-teaching us Aesop’s fable that slow and steady wins the race.

Here are some other lessons we’ve learned from the film:

2. It’s important to look presentable when you’re about to die

3. Same goes for if you’re visiting an anorexic ex-pageant winner in hospital

4. Debates that descend into Nazi comparisons too early (this phenomenon is known as Godwin’s Law) never end up in a win, no matter how corrupt your beauty pageant is.

5. Never interrupt when people are having a private conversation

6. Grow up a bit

Just like Breakfast at Tiffany’s will always be marred by the inclusion of Mickey Rooney in yellowface, the jokes made at Hank Vimes/‘the retard’s’ expense really don’t sit so well with us anymore. These days, filmmakers have had to look elsewhere for their easy slapstick jokes. Well, apart from that Quaalude-crawl in The Wolf Of Wall Street.

7. Don’t be easily led astray

8. Remember that the truth will always out

9. Be resourceful

10. People will Disney-fy absolutely anything and sometimes it'll be quite good

11. Success really isn’t that important

Michael Patrick Jann, the director of the film, told Buzzfeed that the story works because it flips your expectations of a teen moview: ‘You’re really invested in this particular story, and then it’s gone. And you’re like, Oh, this isn’t the story of the good girl versus the bad girl. This is a more esoteric story of how success is sort of mercenary and empty and meaningless.’

12. There’s nowhere to run

13. Elaborate headgear isn't easy to balance on your head (we feel someone should have told Princess Beatrice this ahead of the Royal Wedding)

14. Allison Janney is an unsung hero

15. Brittany Murphy’s laugh is the best laugh

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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