Then, during spring break this year, MTV was running (and rerunning and rerunning) this 30-minute show, a little like Say What? Karaoke, with the Josie and the Pussycats actresses as judges, rating four wannabe-J&TP girl trios (for some sort of spring break prize, plane tickets or hotel rooms or plain old drinking $$$): First round on clothes (to send one trio home) (all the clothes sucked if you asked me), then on an "interview" (to send another packing and leave two). The two "finalist" groups would then compete at a one-minute lip sync, with real instruments, of one of the songs from the movie. And wow, it was an awesome, seriously great song.

"3 Small Words" is the title. "Punk rock prom queen, brown paper magazine, hotter than you've ever seen, everywhere and in between/I'm a 10-ticket thrill ride, don't you wanna come inside. . . . Three small words and five long days, for all your lies to come undone/Those three small words are gonna make you pay, 'cause you can't see that I'm the one." The lyrics I can't understand are where Kay Hanley rips off fast lines kinda like in "Here and Now." No other girl in the world has her way of biting off words a little ahead of the beat. She almost sounds giddy. It's better than any LTC song ever; just kicks megabutt.

The movie itself is a funny and rocking caffeine launchpad—a bit like that nutty Get Smart episode where a hit alien rock band were pawns of an evil plot to take over the free world. Except in Josie it's just America that's being mind-controlled. Sublimely moronic: Record company attempts to brainwash the youth via subliminal messages on the unsuspecting hick-town Pussycats' debut album!

Kay Hanley is finally gettin’ paid.
photo: Michael Eisenstein
Kay Hanley is finally gettin’ paid.


Josie and the Pussycats
Play-Tone/Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax

The real Josie album was #16 for sales the week the movie came out—not amazing, but pretty good considering the movie did only a mediocre $5M gross its first week. But the flick will certainly have a huge run on VH1 in the infinite future, judging by That Thing You Do!, which doesn't have one-sixth the soundtrack, not to mention Tara Reid (she's da drummer)'s lower-than-low-cut hip-huggers. (She's got such skinny hips it's ridiculous—a workhorse for jeans modeling. Keepin' it in the family, as the homeguys say. "I'm Carson Daly, and I'm gettin' married to the drummer of Josie and the Pussycats, slipping down today to #9 . . . ") Those J&TP clothes are pretty wicked cool, too. '70's retro is usually lame, but this stuff is timeless. Tho I dunno about the stupid cat tails.

At Target I noticed a Josie clothes display (for this month at least) right next to the Powerpuff Girls and 2 Girls sections: Columbus, I think we got a shipload of 12-year-old girls networking to form new-century rock bands. And since slacker grunge boys and worse put guitar rock into the DOA zone, maybe this is a flicker of opportunity to revive it the right way.

Hey—I wonder what Britney Spears will think of the movie? Maybe it will inspire (or speed up) her eventual move to go "rock." (Remember: She originally thought Jive was gonna want her to do "Sheryl Crow-type stuff," ow ow ow.) The Josie Web site links to the company that makes the band's nifty white guitar—a "snow leopard" model. Maybe Britney will be playing one next year, ha ha. I can just see her absentmindedly prop-strumming, like Mick Jagger in 1978.

And maybe now they'll finally make an Archies movie someday, so Betty and Veronica can get their props! I nominate Kay Hanley as lead singer for that one, too.

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