11 Jan

13 Going on 30

Rounding out the "thank u, next" canon

“You are rude, and mean, and sloppy, and frizzy – and I don’t like you at all.”

– Jenna

Have you seen the “thank u, next” video? We sure did. We didn’t just see it, we bought into the whole teaser. We listened to the song. We read the tweets. We tried to interpret what Ariana Grande meant, hanging on every new social media post, like it was some sort of ARG. By the time the photo of Ariana and Jennifer Coolidge on Instagram came out, it was pretty clear which movies were going to be integrated into the “thank u, next” music video.

Call it clairvoyance or maybe just a byproduct of all of the films being pretty popular, but we had already seen and written up three of the four videos referenced: Bring it On, Mean Girls, and Legally Blonde. All that was left was 13 Going on 30, and the “thank u, next” Quadrilogy would be complete. We had to show our devotion to Ariana by watching the final film (never mind the fact that we are all going out of the country to see her when she tours). After all, we know Ariana reads the blog, and would definitely get a kick out of it.

So, what could we work off of to develop a menu? We didn’t remember much about 13 Going on 30, which is not a great place to start. Also, the film is largely pretty bland from an aesthetic standpoint which, honestly, is a sin. Ben remembered that Razzles were ‘a thing’ in this movie so we wanted to work with that. We briefly considered ordering Razzles but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it – it’s a bad candy. Never have we wanted both a candy and a gum, and you definitely don’t want to have it start as a candy and turn into a gum. How is that anyone’s favorite candy? There is a reason it isn’t popular these days.

Instead, Ben found a cocktail from his recent favorite cocktail book Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, called Razzle Dazzle Punch, and it didn’t take long for us to decide that that was going to be infinitely better than a candy that turns into a gum (that we then turn into a drink?). Since then, Leanna has made two more punches. People are starting to think of it as her ‘thing.’ She’s the girl with the punch now, and that isn’t a bad thing to be known for.

The Razzle Dazzle Punch was made with raspberries, sugar, orange twists, rye, Kümmel Liqueur, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and was topped off with some dry Champagne. It goes down easily and is sure to be a tasty treat for everyone at the party. The tough thing is getting it into a tiny doll house-sized glass.

If you have seen 13 Going on 30, you are aware that a doll house has a bit part in the movie. It is kind of the only recognizable object in the film, and so much so that the 13 Going on 30 references in the “thank u, next” music video focus on Ariana crying over the doll house as she realizes the mistakes she made along the way to being the popular ideal she wanted to be. So, we wanted to play with that and make all of our food real smol. Yes, we know Tiny Kitchen exists, but there’s always room for more smol things.

You might be thinking, “Smol food would work great for a film like Stuart Little, not 13 Going on 30, honey.” Enter: the 80s. ’80s nostalgia plays a big part in the film from the “Thriller” dance scene to the neon choices found in Jenna’s attire. In the same way that the movie thrusts the memories of the past into the present, it was time to dive into popular food from the 80s and see what we could come up with.

None of us lived in the ’80s, so we’re not pulling from personal experience. Please excuse any errors in our ways. We read that pesto was really big in the ’80s so we made a Warming Pesto Butter Bean salad. It was basically just pesto over butter beans and spinach, topped with pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds. This pesto was bad. It had the texture of ranch dressing and way too much acid and not enough salt (Samin Nosrat would be ashamed). Also, there was way too much of it. The pomegranate seeds might have been the best part of the whole thing. In fact, halfway through the slog of eating this, we got the pomegranate seeds back out and threw more on. They’re a textural sensation.

Also big in the ’80s? Supposedly, Pizza Rolls! We grew up in the ’90s, which was more of a Bagel Bites era, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, pizza rolls tie in nicely to the movie because it’s the kind of snack that would have been served at Jenna’s lil‘ basement party before she played 7 Minutes in Heaven. We used to be more in the Bagel Bites camp because of commercials like the one linked above. Bagel Bites were a real treat: our families were never big on frozen food, so it was a special moment when we got to indulge. But times change and we may be reconsidering are hard stance on Bagel Bites. That’s something they could have explored in 13 Going on 30: how frozen meals go from being a special treat to a sad compromise.

We had to close out with dessert, as per usual, so we looked up the most popular desserts of 1987. And that… was the Mississippi Mud Cake, which is what you get when you just throw a bunch of things in your pantry and refrigerator in a pan and call yourself the Cake Boss. We decided to go with a Chocolate-Praline Layer Cake instead (the most popular dessert from an adjacent year). Considering how Instant Pot is still as popular now as at its height (2017), I am sure people were still making Chocolate-Praline Layer Cakes in 1987. This cake was great. It was lighter than most cakes – even the frosting was light, as it was basically just whipped cream which is a plus given that most frostings are too heavy to consume without feeling like a rock just entered your stomach. The pralines added a nice sweetness, too. To really stay on theme, we stored the excess cake in some Tupperware that looks like it is from the ’80s that we somehow ended up with from Leanna’s mom.

We’re switching up the way we write our posts, so we’re just going to leave you with one communal thought on the movie before we break into our individual reviews. Here’s our Munch Hot Take: Jenna’s yearbook concept was bad. Yes, this is a very negative thing to say given that it represents a strong moment in the film and the core of what she is getting at is kind of correct, but hey. It’s 2019, and honesty is a rare thing to come by. We’re not sugar-coating this. The yearbook concept was bad. You know what the worst part about year books are? Pictures of anyone other than you and your friends. Imagine if you had a yearbook that didn’t have any pictures of anyone you knew in it. Would that be meaningful or interesting to you at all? The correct response is no.

And now, here are a few alternate titles if Hollywood wants to come out with a new film:

13 Going on 40: I want to be Forty, Foul and Farty

14 Going on 29: Millennial Burnout

15 Going on 28: I Am Still Technically in My Mid Twenties!

16 Going on 26: Oh God, I Thought I Was so Mature but Now I Can’t Get Out of My Bed Because of Embarrassment

30 Going on 31: Just Another Birthday

12 Going 13: Hey, I’m a Teen, Take Me Seriously

30 Going on 40: 40 is the New 30

12 Going on 30: Tom Hanks in the Movie Big


André: 4 Going on 5. This movie could have been a solid 5. The premise was interesting enough – what if you were a teen living in an adults body? Imagine all the fun you could have as a child with an adult’s bank account. I’d buy all the video games and trading cards I want. Picture the hijinks you get up to trying to pretend like you know what you’re doing at work, and BSing your way through meetings. Imagine not having any parents around checking in on you so you can drink whenever you want – even on school nights! Wait – am I a 13 year old living in an adult body? I’ll have to get back to you on that. Anyway, 13 going on 30 doesn’t explore any of these fun ideas, and instead we get to watch a character we know to be truly a child court an adult man. I felt really uncomfortable every time I remembered that Jennifer Garner is actually a 13 year old kid, and Mark Ruffalo is very much an adult man, so I had to drop my review to a 5.

Leanna: Mark Ruffalo was a bad boyfriend, and I just can’t get over it. I recognize that this movie is very much a product of its time (from the costumes to the makeup to the dialogue to the overall plot). I am okay with that. There is a place for that in the history of romantic comedies. But Mark Ruffalo’s character, for whom you’re supposed to be rooting to get together with Jenna (Jennifer Garner) the whole time, is a bad boyfriend. He basically emotionally cheats on his girlfriend/eventual fiancé throughout the whole movie until he literally cheats on her after spending a week working on Jenna’s photoshoot for her bad magazine concept. We’re never given a reason to dislike his girlfriend (although Jenna is undeniably bubbly and fun and great), so it just kind of left me not liking his character. Why did he even propose to her if he’s interested in this other woman? UGGHH. For an otherwise fun film, it was kind of a bummer to be left with that feeling in the end.

Ben: 60%. If it were not for Jennifer Garner, this movie would be lost. Between the fact that this film is just surprisingly generic, and the shoddy way in which it delivers its message, 13 Going on 30 never really finds much to propel it into greatness. It also never really spends much time diving into the more interesting or thorny aspects of nostalgia, adulthood, and looking back on our younger selves. But my gosh, if Jennifer Garner isn’t infectious and fun in this film.

God is a woman.