- Mall montages were once synonymous with teenage coming-of-age films and makeover scenes on the big screen. However, as traditional malls continue to shutter at record rates, the classic mall montage is becoming a thing of the past.
- Still, these moments in classic films from the past several decades will live on. Here are some of our favourites.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The traditional mall as we know it may be dying, but the movie mall montage will live on in our hearts and on our screens forever.
Shopping scenes and mall montages have a special place in modern cinema. Over the years, these cinematic moments have largely become synonymous with teenage coming-of-age films and classic makeover scenes. Whether these malls served as the catalyst for a major character transformation or as the setting of a crucial plot point, there’s no denying that shopping centres were once ubiquitous on the big screen.
However, as malls around the nation close en masse at the hands of the retail apocalypse, the mall montage is slowly becoming a thing of the past. We took a look at the halcyon days of shopping scenes in some of our favourite movies of the past few decades.
For Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), the mall is essentially a second home. So it’s no surprise that several of the film’s most climactic scenes were shot there, including Cher saving Tai (the late Brittany Murphy) from a group of scummy men.
Pretty Woman (1990)
We love a moment of redemption, especially when it happens within a shopping montage. In this scene, a gussied-up Vivian (Julia Roberts) returns to the store on Rodeo Drive that refused to serve her the day prior to give the sales associates a piece of her mind.
Back To The Future (1985)
A mall parking lot is more or less where the story begins for Marty McFly, as it’s where he first meets Doc’s time-travelling DeLorean and is promptly thrust back to 1955.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) takes the recently divorced Cal Weaver (played by Steve Carell) to the mall to update his wardrobe and improve his romantic prospects. Hilarity ensues.
Mean Girls (2004)
Nothing quite commemorates the early aughts like Regina George (Rachel McAdams) pulling up in her flashy convertible and hollering at Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan): “Get in loser, we’re going shopping.” Mean Girls perfectly captured the mall as the essential teenage hangout.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
In the 1980s classic, Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates) work as servers at the pizza parlor at Ridgemont Mall, where they flirt shamelessly with older men in hopes of losing their virginity. Fast times, indeed.
A Very Brady Sequel (1996)
In this cult-classic parody of America’s favourite television family, the Bradys turn a normal shopping trip into a complete musical number. (Sha-na-na-na-na!)
Never Been Kissed (1999)
As undercover journalist Josie Gellar (Drew Barrymore) gets a second shot at high school popularity, her cool girl crew teaches this former loner the ropes while on an outing at the local mall.
Mall Rats (1995)
For the ragtag crew of “Mall Rats,” the mall at first serves as a place of comfort and a getaway from their troubles, until it devolves into chaos.
In preparation for the party of the year, Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) hit the mall for new clothes, but Seth struggles with some tight pants.
Eighth Grade (2018)
In this equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching look at the awkwardness of adolescence, middle schooler Kayla (Elsie Fisher) befriends a crew of high schoolers over French fries in the mall food court.
Love Actually (2003)
While we don’t love that Harry (the late Alan Rickman) is buying a necklace for anyone other than his lovely wife (Emma Thompson), the absurdity of the quirky sales associate (Rowan Atkinson) scene makes for an entertaining watch.
Star-crossed lovers Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet while vying for the last remaining pair of black gloves at Bloomingdale’s.
The Sweetest Thing (2002)
“The Sweetest Thing” takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the mall montage with a delightful satire. “Wait a minute, do we have time for a movie montage?” Courtney (Christina Applegate) jokes, before she and Christina (Cameron Diaz) try on a series of absurd ensembles to the tune of “Shake Your Groove Thing.”
Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
As the title suggests, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) lives for a sale and will stop at nothing to get her hands on designer handbags and shoes.
National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)
The Griswold family opts for some retail therapy while on vacation in Italy. In true Griswold fashion, things get a bit weird.
Giselle (Amy Adams) gets fashion advice from young Morgan (Rachel Covey), who takes the wayward princess on a shopping outing using her dad’s emergency-only credit card.
Blank Check (1994)
When Preston Waters (Brian Bonsall) finds himself with hush money in the form of a blank check, he cashes it for $US1 million and goes on the shopping spree of our dreams.
Valley Girl (1983)
Julie Richman (Deborah Foreman) and her popular California girl group love to go to the mall to get new clothes, but also to gossip about boys.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Though one of just very few recent examples of a mall montage, sadly, it was omitted from the final cut. Still, the deleted mall scene garnered quite a bit of buzz after actress Sophie Turner shared a photo of the gang on a mall set in their 1980s wardrobes.
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