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Film: Drop Dead Gorgeous

Drop Dead Gorgeous is a 1999 Black Comedy Mockumentary about a small town beauty pageant in Minnesota and the murders surrounding it. In much the same vein of Black Comedy as Heathers.


This film provides examples of:

  • Adam Westing: Adam West kicks off the first scene.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Hank is apparently masturbating during one of the Judges' interviews.
  • An Aesop: Subverted by the characters themselves.
    Loretta: You stop right there. You are a good person. Good things happen to good people.
    Amber: Really?
    Loretta: No. It's pure bullshit, sweetie. You're lucky as hell, so you might as well enjoy it.
  • Alliterative Name: Amber Atkins, Annette Atkins, Lars Larson, Lester Leeman, etc.
  • American Accents: The Minnesota/Northern Plains accent is very prevalent, helping to play up the smalltown atmosphere.
  • Anvil on Head: Jenelle goes deaf after a light is dropped on her during rehearsal.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Former pageant winner Connie Rudrud shilling for Saint Paul Pork Products.
    • "What IS... Soylent Green?"
  • Bare Your Midriff: Doesn't go very far, but Amber's shirts are a bit short.
  • Beauty Contest: Duh
  • Betty and Veronica: Amber vs. Becky over Brett. It didn't end well.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The first time we meet Molly's adoptive family, the Howards, their daughter's dialogue in Japanese is not translated. She says: "Dad, Mom, when are we going back to Tokyo? I hate it here, they put butter on EVERYTHING!"
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Becky and Gladys
  • Black Comedy
  • Blatant Lies: The police, after some thorough investigating, find that all of the deaths are just accidents that happened through very convenient coincidences and are totally not deliberate murders.
    • "What? Oh, my God. Lights, camera, and me without a stitch of makeup on!"
  • Brainless Beauty: Leslie
  • Brick Joke: "Are we on COPS?"
    • "Nice one, <person>. You know <other person> is dead!"
  • Chatty Hairdresser: Annette
  • Chekhov's Skill: The first scene at the Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club has Becky not aiming for the center of the human-shaped target, but rather, for the area right above the target's right eye. Cue the morgue, and Amber pulls back the cloth to reveal...
  • Contrived Coincidence: Everybody at the Minnesota State Finals getting food poisoning, except for Amber.
  • Crapsack World: Mount Rose, Minnesota to be exact.
  • Creator Cameo: Judge #3 is writer and producer Lona Williams.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: The murders are ruled out as accidents. No one is fooled.
  • Cute and Psycho: Becky
  • Dawson Casting: Various grades. Denise Richards was old enough to be going to her ten-year reunion.
  • Dirty Old Man: John Dough, one of the judges.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tammy's rides on her dad's thresher.
    "But I know for a fact Tammy only smoked after a good drive."
    • And Leslie's running her hand up the Washington Monument replica on her head during the opening number of the pageant.
  • Dope Slap: Harold and Hank exchange a few.
  • Dumb Blonde: Leslie. Arguably Annette, although she's more Book Dumb.
  • Eagleland: Parodied with Gladys' uncreative ideas for pageant themes.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk
  • Everybody Smokes: Including a pharmacist, a pregnant teenager, the entire fire department, and people in a hospital.
  • Evil Matriarch: Gladys Leeman.
  • The Fake Cutie: Becky.
  • Foreshadowing: "Jesus loves winners." And Becky is very intent on winning.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: There is a cape trimmed with white feathers, and a dress with a white feather neckline.
  • Freak Out: All contestants of the national American Teen Princess Pageant (Save for Amber) go through this when they find out the company has been shut down.
  • The Fundamentalist: Downplayed, but still present. While no one character is particularly fundamentalist, we do see that the town's Lutherans are very outspoken about how much more moral and traditional they are than the 'sin cities'. Then all the murders start happening.
  • Funny Background Event: Hank goofing off behind his brother, and Leslie making out with her boyfriend behind Amber.
  • Generation Xerox: Gladys hopes for one with Becky winning the Mount Rose pageant, as she did before her.
  • Genki Girl: Lisa.
  • Gilligan Cut: Amber's hesitant, uncertain naming and spelling all the United States in alphabetical order cuts from a tentative "Arizona?" to Amber confidently naming and spelling West Virginia.
  • Godwin's Law: When Amber is told her outfit is too skimpy for the pageant, she says "this is... This is Nazi Germany".
  • Groin Attack: A rare female example occurs during dance practice. Poor, poor Tess...
  • Hair of Gold: Amber.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the movie is build-up to the pageant. Then the pageant happens...and there's still a half hour of film left.
  • Happily Adopted: Molly, but to the detriment of their biological daughter, who's practically ignored.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Averted - Becky doesn't screech or slide tones randomly, she's just awful at singing.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Lester Leeman is a sleazy furniture salesman.
  • Ill Girl: Dangerously underweight reigning Miss Mount Rose Mary Johanson, who is in Inpatient, wheelchair bound, and struggles to breathe. It's highly implied her anorexia was triggered by competing in the pageant.
  • Informed Ability: Both subverted and Lampshaded at the same time. Becky's dance is depicted as genuinely awful, despite Gladys' efforts to play up its quality. The subversion comes with Amber's dancing, where most of the complicated routines were performed by a body double. Oddly enough, Kirsten Dunst also began learning tap dance to perform some of the basic sequences herself, and is still tapping more than a decade later.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: Tess: "Spike, my German shepherd, he went to live with a nice family on a farm after he attacked me..."
  • Karmic Death: Becky
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Becky doesn't take it too well when Brett shows an obvious attraction to Amber... so he ends up with a bullet in his head.
  • Miss Exposition: The cutaway to Iona Hildebrandt, who helpfully explains what lutefisk is.
  • Mockumentary: With a few exceptions the whole movie is shown as a documentary about the beauty contest.
  • National Stereotypes: The Howards, despite doing everything they can to naturalise themselves to Minnesota, are one Japanese stereotype after another. The only reason there was such close up footage of Becky's float exploding is because the dad can't put down the video camera.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice job blowing up your own daughter due to your own carelessness, Mom!
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Gladys's attempt at revenge against Amber inadvertently leads to Amber getting her dream job.
  • Oh, Crap: Becky, just before she gets blown up.
  • Only Sane Girl: Amber isn't as dorky, awkward, dumb, or as backstabbing as the other contestants save for Molly. Loretta is this for the adults.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Gladys Leeman eventually develops a major hate-on for the teenage Amber Atkins, her daughter's main rival in the pageant.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Amber.
  • Police Are Useless: The cops don't see anything suspicious about the various deaths.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He's not quite villainous, that's his wife, but Lester Leeman is pretty sexist, and throws out racist remarks against Jews, Mexicans, and black people in most of his appearances.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: How Brett is killed.
  • Pun-Based Title: Murders surrounding a beauty pageant!
  • Punny Name: John Dough.
  • Quirky Town
  • Rich Bitch: Gladys and Becky, the Leemans being the richest family in Mount Rose. It's implied that Gladys has bought the police off to literally get away with murder.
  • Running Gag: Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club, Lutheran orphanages, the world's oldest living Lutheran, and so on.
    • "Are we on COPS?"
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: The Mayor's first appearance.
  • Small Town Boredom: Amber. Really, though, almost everyone hates living in Mount Rose.
  • Spoof Aesop: The preacher's eulogy for Becky, that the lesson of all this is "Buy American", after a Mexican-made parade float exploded.
  • Stage Mom
  • Stepford Smiler: Gladys and Becky. The unstable kind.
  • Stylistic Suck: All over the place. The St. Paul Pork Products Ad, Soylent Green, Becky's cringe-fest of a routine... and that's just skimming the surface.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: John Dough does this all the time.
  • Trade Snark: Sarah Rose Cosmetics
  • The Unfavorite: Lisa is implied to be this in her family.
    • Molly's sister.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gladys has one after Becky's death.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Done over and over and over, to Also Sprach Zarathustra.
  • Yandere: Becky. Boy, she sure doesn't want her boyfriend to look at anyone else...
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Gladys.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: A new nurse at the hospital. No one takes it well.


Doug's 1st MovieFilms of the 1990sDudley Do-Right

alternative title(s): Drop Dead Gorgeous Film
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