Gregory's Girl: The Scottish Bait and Switch

Before I start the review on Gregory's Girl, I just want to take a minute and mention Sidney Lumet, who died earlier today.  He was a wonderful director with several films on this list, and will be very much missed.  Tomorrow I'm going to watch and review Network, to pay tribute to him.

Onward to the review.  Gregory's Girl is right up there with Trainspotting on the list of memorable Scottish films, which is even more impressive considering that this film was reportedly made for peanuts back in the 80s. It's a romantic coming-of-age story that scores a ranking of 648 on the TSPDT list.

Full Disclosure: I've never seen Gregory's Girl, but I have sort of a...I guess you could call it a weakness for Scottish accents, so we'll see how well this works out.  Also, I have a soft spot in my heart for coming-of-age stories.

Gregory is a sweet but awkward teenager growing up in Scotland, where he gets stripped of his position as sweeper on his school football (soccer) team and is relegated to goalkeeper.  Because those skill sets are obviously very similar.  When the team holds trials for some "new blood", a girl named Dorothy shows up and (literally) runs circles around the other boys.  And Gregory is in love.

He tries to get help from his friends, but they're all either too immature and interested in scoring themselves, or completely preoccupied with baking (you know who you are).  And despite the fact that he and Dorothy have a casual friendship, she thinks he's awkward (which he is...undoubtedly).  So feeling a little bit desperate, he turns to his 10 year old sister for help.  She is wise beyond her years, and wants to help him because he was always nice to her, even when the other boys were mean to their little sisters. (Excuse me while I go vomit rainbows and sunshine.)

So after they've been practicing football one day, Gregory asks Dorothy out, and surprisingly she says yes.  They agree to meet under a huge clock at 7:30 that night.  After a pep talk from his little sister (she advises him not to tell the Batman/Superwoman joke...God only knows what that is), he excitedly heads to meet her...but Dorothy never shows up.  After about 15 minutes, Dorothy's friend Carol arrives to tell him that she's not coming...then she suggests that they go out.  Gregory's a little confused, but agrees.

They head to a local chip shop, and after only a few minutes, another girl named Margo shows up and pretty much tags in on the date.  Gregory is perplexed, but he's certainly not going to turn down a girl who wants to go for a walk with him.  Margo takes him to Susan, the last girl of the night, who wants to go on a date with him.  Apparently Dorothy was doing her friend Susan a favor by agreeing to go on the date with Gregory, so that Susan could take over.  They go to the park, and actually have a pretty good date.  Normally Gregory is super weird and can't really talk around girls, but he seems to get along really well with Susan.  They have chemistry, certainly more than Gregory and Dorothy did.  So after their date, she walks him home, they have a nice good night kiss, and Gregory makes plans to see her again.  He happily goes to bed, Dorothy completely forgotten, but not before telling his sister that she'll always be his girl. (Do you get it?  That's where the title comes from!  Get it?!)

So the moral of the story is, boys are fickle, girls are devious, but in the end it doesn't matter, because cuteness overpowers all things.

Random Musings:

  • Jesus, this is another one of those movies that ought to be in a time capsule.  Or like, you know how states have ads on television to promote tourism?  This movie should be an ad for the 80s.

  • So I just spent a frankly absurd amount of time tracking down the original, non-dubbed version of this movie.  I tried to watch the one that was on Netflix, but a couple of the boys sounded Welsh and it was just too annoying.  If I'm going to watch a movie about Glaswegians (or near enough to Glasgow), then damn it, I want them to have Glaswegian accents!  I'm sorry, I don't need to have an English language film dubbed for's not like they're Geordie or something.

  • Oh my dear sweet Jesus, could these boys shorts be any shorter?  They're pretty much hot pants.  I mean look at this lot:

  • Did he just...put deodorant on the outside of his shirt?  Sweetie, that's not how it works.

  • Oh my God does he really have an electric toothbrush that comes with a box you have to carry around with it to keep it charged?  I am too young for all of this.

  • "If women were meant to play football they'd have their tits somewhere else!" Oh Andy.  I wish I had your way with words.

  • Aw, bless.  When Dorothy walks into the dressing room, Gregory covers his nipples with his fingertips.  That is so painfully adorable.

  • So WTF is with this random penguin walking around the school?

  • I kind of love the window washer guy.  First he offers a cigarette to a ten year old.  Then he's bragging about what a Casanova he is and going into detail...while that poor little girl's just sort of awkwardly following them.  And THEN when she finally leaves, he's all, "Bye bye Madeleine!  If I don't see you through the week I'll see you through a window!" Creeper.  Plus his comment to the other guys about how she's a ten year old with the body of a thirteen year old. WHAT?!  Seriously dude, stop being this guy!

"I get older, they stay the same age."

Well, actually, it's probably the other way around, cause this movie's way older.  Wooderson, stop being like Window Washer Guy!

  • Aw I love this little girl so much.  She's so sweet and smart and serious.  And I love the relationship she and Gregory have, it's they like each other. 

  • I'm also a really big fan of Gregory when he gets angry.  Like when the little boy comes to his house to see Madeleine, and he starts accusing the kid of seducing young girls and "underage walking".  It's pretty hilarious.

  • And now Gregory's wrestling a 12 year old for a comb.  That'll win you all the ladies.

  • Guys, I didn't study geography extensively or anything like that, but I'm not entirely sure you can hitchhike from Scotland to Caracas.  Just saying.  I could be wrong.

  • So if the whole point of the plan was to have Susan go out with Gregory instead of Dorothy...what were Carol and Margo for?  Couldn't Susan have just shown up under the clock, so that instead of THREE bait and switches, there was only one?  Seems inefficient.

So that's Gregory's Girl.  And this was my face during pretty much the entire film:

I can't help it, I'm only human, it was cute OK?  Don't judge.  I stand in awe that this movie was made with that budget, and for the most doesn't really show.  The acting is average to very good (I particularly liked Gregory, he had a really natural sort of delivery that worked well for the film), and the story is intensely relatable (screw you blogger, relatable is a word).  I think it had a realistic, if quaint, portrayal of teen life and hormones.  And hey, it's nice to see a light hearted film come out of Glasgow for once, instead of the typical Glasgow noir.  Overall I think it's a remarkably honest movie, and it had me laughing and smiling during most of it.  I can understand people not thinking this movie should be included on the list, because it is pretty light weight, but for me that's part of the appeal.  It's fun, easy to watch and for what it is, it does pretty well.

That's it for me, as always thanks for reading, and come back tomorrow for Network!

Want to know more about the Top 1000 List?  Check it out and see if your favorites are here! They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?

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