38 Thoughts I Had While Rewatching ‘The Bling Ring’
Ah, 2013. It was a year that shall live on in infamy; a year of skinny scarves, venti Frappuccinos with extra whip, and, perhaps most crucially, the release of Sofia Coppola’s crime satire The Bling Ring. Based on the 2010 Vanity Fair article “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales, the film follows a group of Los Angeles teenagers charged with stealing more than $3 million in clothing and jewelry from celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel Bilson.
Now, is The Bling Ring a perfect movie? Controversial take: yes. While many of the film’s reviews were middling, with Rotten Tomatoes rating it at 60%, rewatching it in 2021 is as enjoyable and soothing as using one of those free massage chairs at the mall. Apparently, all I really want is to watch bad Hollywood teens steal Birkins. Let’s dive in and revisit this iconic piece of cinema, shall we?
- Damn, I forgot this was an A24 movie. In other words, it’s basically cousins with Lady Bird and Midsommar.
- We open on a group of teens dressed in clearly expensive hoodies, breaking into a luxe home as “Crown on the Ground” by Sleigh Bells plays. May I humbly submit to the record that this is the perfect running song?
- Vuitton! Hermès! Louboutin! A montage of the real-life burgled celebrities! Hollywood, baby!
- Ah, beautiful and sunny Calabasas. “I’m a firm believer in karma,” purrs Emma Watson as Nicki Moore, a thinly veiled Alexis Neiers, outside a courthouse. We flash back to her and her sister, Sam (Taissa Farmiga, a.k.a. Tess), getting their morning Adderall from their mother (Leslie Mann, who has never been better cast).
- OMG, The Secret. Remember that era?
- Elsewhere, a plainly dressed young man is schlumping his way to his new “alternative” high school. This is Marc, and everyone is mean to him for daring to wear a hoodie that’s not made out of teal leather, but he soon meets Rebecca (Katie Chang), who shows him that it’s okay not to have money if you simply steal it. Inspirational.
- On a beach, Marc, Rebecca, and some badass blonde girl named Chloe smoke weed and talk about one day interning at Teen Vogue. I miss high school! (J.K., I absolutely do not.)
- Wow, bongs and red Solo cups. This movie is truly a flashback-inducing sensory bath.
- Marc and Rebecca start out stealing from unlocked cars in rich L.A. neighborhoods, but soon they’ve graduated to lifting cash and a car (?) from the house of a guy Marc knows who’s on vacation with his family. I guess they probably return the car before the family comes back, offscreen, but…isn’t grand theft auto, like, something the cops would notice?
- Next stop is Kitson, which, if you’re not up-to-date on what that once-hip celeb boutique has turned into, read up on it. Then they drive around in a stolen car while wearing fancy sunglasses, as you do.
- Marc, Rebecca, and Chloe meet Nicki and Sam at a club, leading me to wonder if it was really that normal to have obvious teenagers in clubs during this era of L.A. nightlife. Anyway, they do drugs and take Facebook pictures. What a time to be alive!
- God, Emma Watson is brilliant in the role of Nicki. Even the way she applies lip gloss is masterful.
- Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga dancing to “212” by Azealia Banks is now forever my brain’s screensaver.
- OMG, Marc is wearing a fedora in his Facebook profile picture. I’m so weirdly touched by that.
- Time for a Secret-infused homeschool class at the Moore residence, complete with a tiny dog, Uggs, and pink Juicy sweatsuits.
- At one point, the real-life Paris Hilton flashes onscreen wearing a pair of sunglasses that say “I <3 VIP ROOM,” and I die of overwhelming joy.
- Break-in #1 happens at Paris’s, where there’s a “club room,” pillows bearing her face, and a whole lot of material goods to covet. Marx would plotz!
- At yet another red-cups party, Nicki and Sam are jealous that Marc and Rebecca went to Paris’s without them, and they all agree to go back together.
- Time for Emma Watson’s most immortal line in this entire movie: “I wanna rob.”
- Remember the Hervé Léger bandage dresses? Yeah, you do.
- DUI scene set to “Bad Girls” by M.I.A.? Yep, that’s 2013 for you.
- Very long scene of Marc in a skinny scarf, lip-syncing into his computer’s Photo Booth and smoking weed, that I inexplicably love.
- Next robbing victim on the books is Audrina Patridge. There’s another very long, far-off scene in which Rebecca and Marc sneak into her house in the Hills, and while I don’t understand why it does, in fact, go on for quite so long, who am I to question Coppola?
- The teens sell their stolen wares on the Venice boardwalk, presumably using the money for cocaine and Starbucks.
- They find a gun at a celeb’s house and Sam sneaks into her boyfriend’s house with it, where it accidentally goes off, and then they hook up, because—to be fair—fear can be an aphrodisiac.
- Nicki and Sam tell Leslie Mann and their dad (who is literally only in this one scene) that all their new clothes are coming courtesy of their “stylist” friend Marc. Hmm, ladies.
- Bottle service with a lit sparkler in it, baby!
- I’m sorry, can you imagine being in a hip downtown L.A. club in 2013 and seeing a bunch of literal children next to you? I would be very mad, particularly if I had paid a cover.
- Marc has brought the Facebook fedora to the club. I repeat: Marc has brought the Facebook fedora to the club.
- Shit starts hitting the fan with the cops as the Bling Ring begins making the news, but Rebecca is unwilling to stop stealing from celebs and convinces Mark and Chloe to hit Rachel Bilson’s house with her. Not Summer Roberts! Now it’s personal.
- Sorry, I know I’m saying “Remember [x]?” a lot, but remember using the word “lates” as a form of “goodbye”?
- Obligatory doing-coke-off-a-mirrored-table scene!
- The cops descend upon the Bling Ring after catching several of them on security cameras, which is strangely emotional. Stealing is good, actually.
- Not Dana Fairbanks from The L Word as Nicki’s lawyer! Nicki tries to tell all to a Nancy-Jo-Sales-type journalist, and keeps screaming at Leslie Mann when she interrupts.
- “You need lower heels,” Sam tells Nicki as she gets dressed for court. A perfect excuse for Louboutin kitten heels!
- Is this a good time to admit that my first AIM screen name was “kittenheel911”?
- Marc and Nicki serve jail time, and Nicki manages to spin it into a whole post-release press cycle, whereas we don’t quite know what happens to Marc.
- Ugh, why is this movie only 90 minutes long?
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