They were at the Getty Museum this past week. Masses of them. I was there with my dad and all of a sudden we were surrounded by a crowd of uniformed students. I went to Catholic school as a kid. It brought back, uh, fond memories of mean nuns, pleated red tartan skirts that would never stay properly pleated, sailor blouses, and neckties. As you can see in the picture, the Japanese girls are wearing their school neckties short these days, with white shirts sloppily tucked in. The two girls holding hands probably aren't lesbians. In Asian countries, it's common for girls who are just good friends to hold hands. No, I swear.
The Japanese students also reminded me of some of the great schoolgirl appearances in popular culture. (By which I mean "appearances not in porn.")
1. Gogo Yubari - From Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. She was O-Ren Ishii's murderous little bodyguard. The actress who plays her, Chiaki Kurayama, also appeared in the film Battle Royale.
2. Girl #11 from Battle Royale. (FYI, Chiaki "Gogo" Kuroyama played Girl #13.) In the film, a class of students are kidnapped and sent to a desert island, given weapons, and forced to kill each other until only one survivor is left. Girl #11, Mitsuko Souma, is the second most dangerous person on the island.
3. Lolita. Everyone who's read the classic novel has a mental image of what Nabokov's jailbait nymphette Lolita looks like. This is how Kubrick imagined her, in 1962, as portrayed by Sue Lyon. When Humbert Humbert meets her for the first time, she's sunning in the yard in a bikini, wearing a look that says "I'm danger."
4. Rory Gilmore of The Gilmore Girls. Lorelai Gilmore named her daughter after herself. Men name their sons after themselves all the time, right? Rory is so precocious you either love her or hate her and want to kill her. I go back and forth on that all the time. Right now, I hate her.
5. Evan Rachel Wood in Pretty Persuasion. Marilyn Manson's girlfriend before she started trying to personality change into Dita Von Teese. In Pretty Persuasion she's a student at a Beverly Hills high school for rich kids. She accuses her teacher of sexual harassment.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The ultimate schoolgirl with super killing powers. She slays, she sings, she dances, she goes to prom, she dates vampires, she saves the world.
7. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon in Cruel Intentions. Hmm...a lot of these girls are doing double time on this list. Do certain types of girls get type-cast as naughty nymphettes? There's that one scene in Cruel Intentions where Sarah Michelle Gellar, playing Kathryn Merteuil, says she relies on god when she's having tough times. Then she takes out her rosary and unscrews the cross, which is actually a cocaine vial.
8. Tracy Flick in Election. Hey, it's Reese again. In this film she plays psychotic Tracy Flick who really, really, really wants to be class president.
9. The D.E.B.S. Assassins. These girls are students in a secret spy paramilitary academy. Amy (Sara Foster) gets it on with criminal mastermind Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster, who has never looked better. It's worth seeing this movie just to admire her hair). Lesbian spy schoolgirls. Enough said.
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10. Fairuza Balk in The Craft. Even when she isn't playing a teenage witch who becomes Satan's vessel and decides that a hundred porpoises washed up on the beach are the Devil's gift to her, Ms. Balk has a sharp, wicked, dominatrix look that, just between you and me, scares the bejeezus out of me.