From the moment Bottoms was announced in the spring of 2021, it was clear that the film was going to be one of the buzziest movies of the year. Not only was it the sophomore feature from the critically-acclaimed Shiva Baby director Emma Seligman, but it was also co-written with her right hand girl, Rachel Sennott. The premise alone had the masses frothing at the mouth: Two loser lesbians who, under the guise of female solidarity, create a fight club to get close to, and eventually, f*ck popular cheerleaders.
Bottoms revives the lost essence of '00s teen comedies that came before it. There’s a bit of Bring It On, But I’m A Cheerleader, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; it's absurd, violent, and most of all, really, really funny. It's also rounded out by a stacked cast who delivers top-notch comedic performances — including Ayo Edebiri, Mashawn Lynch, Nicholas Galitzine, Havana Rose Liu, and Kaia Gerber — and the first-ever feature film score by Charli XCX
Utilizing the perks of our jobs, the NYLON editorial team saw an early screening of Bottoms, and then debriefed our thoughts on the film at a punk Midtown dive bar. Read our roundtable, below, and watch Bottoms in (a preferably packed) theater, now.
The following contains major spoilers for Bottoms.
Steffanee Wang, music editor: The first thought I had when I was watching it was how unserious the entire movie was, which, like, kind of helped me categorize the kind of genre or something they were going for
Alyssa Vingan, editor-in-chief: Because it kind of veered into horror a few times.
Sam Neibart, beauty editor: The fights were genuinely gory! I was pearl clutching! I didn’t think that was going to happen.
Steffanee: The fake blood was very convincing.
Alyssa: Someone got killed with a sword…
Sam: That was a strong choice.
Lindsay Hattrick, senior designer: It was a very early ‘00s parody movie. And I’ve been dying for that vibe to come back.
Alyssa: There were clues that it was supposed to be a ‘90s or ‘00s era movie because [Miles Fowler] had a flip phone and the phone book.
Sam: I kept thinking that, like what year is it supposed to be? Is it supposed to be ambiguous?
Lindsay: Avril Lavigne…
Kelly Reed, social media strategist: The TP-ing and the eggs. That felt right.
Layla Halabian, culture editor: When I spoke to Emma she said that whatever social media they included was going to be dated by the time the movie came out. So it was better to be vaguely ‘00s than being out of touch
Alyssa: Kaia’s hair and outfits, everything was like a popular mean girl in 10 Things I Hate About You, or whatever.
Layla: I love every time Rachel tries to flirt with her and it immediately derails.
Lindsay: I got nervous when she's like, “Your wrists are so delicate.”
Alyssa: They took a lot of the Y2K skinny humor. I think [Nicholas Galitzine] said “Come here with my teeny tiny baby,” and then “pulling trig.”
Layla: I know you can digest food.
Alyssa: You can definitely age them a little bit based on the type of trauma they dealt with in high school and brought out for this movie.
Laura Pitcher, beauty writer: I just saw Barbie super late, but I think this year, seeing back to back movies about men being so, like, ridiculously stupid was funny. It feels like himbos are having a huge movie moment right now.
Steffanee: This is men, written by women.
Alyssa: It is funny how they really took religious imagery for all of the football players, they were literal gods. Also, Marshawn Lynch: excellent, excellent casting.
Steffanee: I had no idea he was in the movie.
Layla: He's such a stand out. I'm obsessed with him. When he was in the NFL he never wanted to speak to journalists, and there’s one Super Bowl press conference where he answers every question with “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” I need him in more movies immediately.
Lindsay: The soundtrack is great
Lindsay: It wasn’t the song I was expecting from her at all.
Layla: It was a great use of “party 4 u.”
Steffanee: It was, I feel like it really catered to the spot that it had.
Layla: The score felt very true to her.
Alyssa: I was really stressed out because there were some obvious things they could've done, like put mats down in the gym. Maybe that was the late 30's in me coming out, but I was like, “Somebody's going to crack their skull!”
Sam: They were never in workout clothes. Fighting in belts…
Layla: Okay, also, the fact that Dagmara [Dominczyk] is in this movie as Hazel’s mom is so random. She was Karolina in Succession, the head of PR…
Steffanee: Oh, my God! Okay!
Layla: Except now she’s a hoe, which I loved.
Steffanee: With f*cking zero lines
Sam: That was so this era of movies, too. The parents just aren’t present. They’re just specters in the background.
Alyssa: Also, regarding the himbos, I can't remember a movie in which the men were quite as illiterate as this. He said couldn't read and what else?
Layla: Eighth grade algebra.
Laura: I feel that's how most people remember high school. Like when you look back at the men, that's kind of how you remember them.
Lindsay: They're permanently stupid.
Alyssa: I feel like Bottoms and Barbie were trying to do some of the same things in very different ways. Like when Marshawn wrote “Why all presidents have been men and why we should keep it that way!” and crossed feminism out. It kind of felt like Ken, but not. Also his Divorced And Happy magazine, which I obviously clocked. How do I become editor-in-chief of that…
Laura: I also usually don't like when movies cast celebrities, but I feel like with Kaia, giving her such a vacant role, and even her room being so nice, it really fits because if you put her in anything else, it would be annoying.
Layla: She did exactly what she could in her wheelhouse and I'm really happy they didn't put her in a situation where she had to do more that would take you out of it.
Sam: When she looked the best was when she was fighting. I was like this is the best acting, like true or false? I think that was the best, she was really good.
Layla: I also thought Havana was a really great actress, I was touched by her.
Lindsay: Those eyes…
Layla: She’s so beautiful. A Botticelli.
Alyssa: She emotes really well. When you see her beautiful eyes well up with tears!
Lindsay: I love when she slams her head on the table.
Kelly: I'm glad they had a diner moment because that's a quintessential high school experience.
Layla: Did you see the name of the diner? It was called But I'm A Diner.
Steffanee: All the signage in the movie was so funny.
Laura: It was all so silly.
Layla: It was constant jokes, even when there was no dialogue.
Alyssa: Do you guys think this has potential to join the high school movie canon?
Laura: I think so.
Layla: Absolutely. I think it's the most quotable movie we’ve had in this decade alone and I struggle to think of ones from even five years ago.
Lindsay: Booksmart came to mind.
Steffanee: This is better than Booksmart.
Lindsay: It is better than Booksmart, but I feel like they share a vibe.
Sam: I feel like this is going to join Heathers.
Alyssa: Jennifer’s Body. But often those movies go unappreciated.
Layla: I think there’s definitely going to be haters who will get mad at the “off-color” jokes. This movie is not for them, because that’s what made it so funny. It was non-stop and they were really going for it.
Lindsay: They were saying that about Joy Ride. They were like, “They hate men!”
Layla: People need to get a life. Bottoms is going to be a cult favorite.
Laura: I haven't seen a movie that silly in a while.
Lindsay: Rachel and Ayo’s stars could not be more rising. People are going to revisit their early work, and it’s crazy knowing that this is their early work.
Alyssa: It was also refreshing. I feel like they did a really good job casting people who all looked really different on screen, so it was interesting to watch. I thought the football player who was not having sex with the mom [Miles Fowler] was very cute.
Lindsay: I liked the undertone of homoeroticism.
Laura: Everyone was gay.
Alyssa: Except Kaia.
Sam: It just seemed like that was the truth. She didn't seem bothered.
Laura: No, not at all. We never saw her with a man either. I think she's uninterested.
Layla: She's a sapiosexual.
Alyssa: Bottoms was stressful like Shiva Baby, but in a different way. Emma’s very good at building tension on screen.
Layla: And in a tight 90 minutes.
Laura: That was perfect, because I can't do the gore too much.
Alyssa: It was bloodier than I thought it would be.
Sam: Honestly, I would rather actually watch this over Shiva Baby. That was so stressful in a way that I was upset by.
Layla: Shiva Baby is a comedy-horror, and this one is pure comedy.
Sam: They were trapped in a house!
Layla: I loved that none of the characters came to a big realization about their queerness.
Alyssa: There was no preaching going on.
Layla: It was mostly like, “We need to try to become better people and not lie so much.”
Alyssa: But we can kill people, that's okay.
Layla: I was so happy there was any annoying moralizing.
Alyssa: I really hope that people see this movie. I feel like maybe if you're not like in our line of work where you're always watching trailers that Rachel and Ayo post it could maybe fly under the radar.
Layla: I feel like both of their fandoms are so excited and I do think because of the strike, they've taken it upon themselves to promote. They’re like, “We have to help!” I've seen a lot of tweets in that nature, which is really sweet, and kind of true. I’m curious to see how it fares without interviews from them. I think it's going to be a really unique time for a movie to come out.
Lindsay: Their interviews always go viral.
Laura: I feel like, for me, if I didn't go to the screening, I would've wanted to see this the first day it came out. And I didn't feel that way about any movie this year.
Alyssa: This would be a good movie to see in a theater with a crowd.
[Everyone gets momentarily distracted by the bar walls, which are covered in graffiti and stickers that say things like “I <3 Ass Juice.”]
Layla: This does feel like a local bar that PJ and Josie would try to sneak into, and they would get kicked out.
Lindsay: There was no teen partying! I just realized that.
Alyssa: Oh my God, there was no partying! There was just the carnival.
Laura: Are young people partying anymore?
Lindsay: Is it PG-13?
Layla: I think it’s a hard R.
Sam: Definitely with the fighting. Although, when they did finally pull back and show all the blood spatters, it looked funny. It was over the top and absurd.
Laura: It’ll be interesting to see how teens actually like it. It was kind of nostalgic where we all really enjoyed it, and maybe felt like our high school, you know? So I wonder if it feels like their high school.
Sam: Do you think that you needed to have seen Fight Club to like it?
Layla: I’ve never seen it. Yes, I’m coming out at this table as a person who’s never seen Fight Club.