Crossroads (2002)




Shonda Rhimes is currently one of the most powerful women in television. She’s the mastermind behind programs such as Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy, but before all of her fame and success, she wrote the infamously terrible film, Crossroads. After attempting to figure out how Rhimes was responsible for writing such a bad movie, I came across a quote that explains everything: “I never thought the critics were going to say Crossroads was a brilliant movie. My goal was for 12-year-olds to think it was brilliant [. . .] I became a rock star to the preteen set.” She went on to say “That movie bought my house.” It turns out that she has always been a genius. In 2002, Britney Spears was a god to teenagers around the globe and Rhimes was able to make loads of money by writing this garbage.

I was a 12-year-old Britney Spears super fan when this film came out and I annoyed every adult I knew by constantly begging them to bring me to the movie theater so I could see Crossroads. The movie trailers would play on MTV all throughout the day and I never got tired of watching them. I remember thinking that by watching this movie I would be an even better and more loyal Britney Spears fan. Come to think of it, it was like being in a preteen cult. Well, someone finally caved in and I was able to see Crossroads on the big screen. I didn’t really understand most of the movie, but that didn’t matter because I was so thrilled to see Britney Spears in something other than a music video or a Pepsi commercial. I recently revisited the film for the first time in 12 years and the experience I had was very different compared to my initial one. Everything was just so embarrassing and awkward to watch, but it was slightly enjoyable due to its nostalgia value.

Lucy (Britney Spears) has lost touch with her two childhood friends, Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryne Manning). After their high school graduation, the girls dig up an old “wish box” they created as children and they’re reminded of their past wishes and friendship. They all decide to go on a road trip across the U.S. to fulfill their wishes: Mimi, who is pregnant, wants to go to California; Lucy wants to visit the mother who abandoned her in Arizona; and Kit wants to visit her flawless fiancé in Los Angeles. They hitch a ride to California with a supposed ex-con from a local trailer park, which is such a terrible idea for 3 immature teenage girls, but since this is a tween flick, he actually turns out to be a hunky good guy who doesn’t slit their throats. Their journey brings out many horrible secrets and truths, but it really makes them all closer to each other while allowing them to sort of “find themselves.” The film ends with Britney performing “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” and the song pretty much sums up the meaning of the film.

The most memorable scene from the film would be the “I Love Rock n’ Roll” karaoke performance. The ex-con’s car breaks down near New Orleans, and no one has the money needed to fix it. They just so happen to come across a karaoke contest with a cash prize at a bar on Bourbon Street, so the girls decide to give it a shot. They do a really awkward performance of Joan Jett’s classic hit and end up winning a good bit of cash. Even though it’s the most memorable, I think this is actually the worst scene in the entire film because it’s so embarrassing to watch. Lucy, Kit, and Mimi try their best to look “alternative” and cover themselves in glitter. Mimi nervously attempts to do the lead vocals, and the audience trys to boo them off the stage. Dave Allen has a quick cameo as a bar patron that yells “Get off the stage!” and it’s pretty damn hilarious. Of course, Lucy saves the day by taking over the lead vocals, and the entire bar starts dancing and cheering them on. I cringed the entire time because everything about their performance (especially their outfits, facial expressions, and dancing) was so horrendous.

Britney Spears is a kickass performer that I still adore to this day, but she is definitely not cut out to be an actress. She didn’t seem to be very comfortable with her role as Lucy; every gesture she made and every word out of her mouth felt forced. It’s a good thing she sticks to music videos, commercials, and the occasional guest appearance nowadays. Still, I honestly think that Crossroads is worth a watch due to its goofy nature and its nostalgia value. Thankfully, it’s currently streaming on Netflix.

-Britnee Lombas