Image Credit: Vevo; 20th Century Fox

Betches Love This: A Ranking Of Music Videos Referencing Our Fave Movies From the Early 2000s

Recently, I heard a teenager on the subway tell her friend to watch “this old but kinda cool” film: 27 Dresses. I figured I couldn’t be hearing that right. She must be referencing a different 27 Dresses, as the beloved rom-com starring Katherine Heigl and eulogizing the eternal struggle of the bridesmaid came out a few years ago when I was young and hip. In good news, it was “slay.” 

We’ve somehow reached a point where our fave movies from the 2000s are ‘classics.’ You can now buy vintage Gossip Girl t-shirts the same way we used to proudly style ripped Baywatch tees with shorts and leggings. But the biggest place we see our favorite movies immortalized is in music videos, some by artists who weren’t alive to witness the original singer and football boy courtship in Spice Girl Victoria and David Beckham.

Here is a ranking of the music videos referencing films from the early aughts, which must’ve literally just come out, as we’re not that old. 

“Fancy” by Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX

Let’s start this list with the song that had only just left my head before I started writing this: “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea. I had totally forgotten Charli XCX was in this, and look how far our baby has come!! There is not a person alive who hasn’t heard this song, and the music video was literally so cunty I’m sorry. 

“It’s from 1995, not the 2000s,” literally I don’t care. Clueless may have come out in 1995 but it IS Y2K. Come @ me! Iggy is obviously Cher Horowitz in the famous yellow plaid number and other iconic outfits. I think Charli is meant to be Tai, more commonly known as ‘Brittany Murphy’s character.’ It’s got the iconic debate scene, the lunch tables, the gym class kits that we’d never have gotten away with, and of course, girlies just trying to drive.

“Make You Mine” by Madison Beer

I didn’t think Madison Beer could get even hotter, but then she channeled Megan Fox from Jennifer’s Body, and all bets were off. She’s a real Megan Fox lookalike (sorry, Chelsea), and her bestie, Needy, is played by Sadie Scheufler. She’s got the cheerleader costume, the evil white eyes, the short skirts, and the bad bitch confidence. 

It also contains the bi-girl energy of Jennifer’s Body (“I go both ways”) with close-up grinding between Madison/Jennifer and Needy, as well as prolonged eye contact. In this version, Needy helps Jennifer trap a guy in the locker room, which is even better. Plus, there’s the pool scene made even hotter by a silver bikini. Excuse me for a second. 

“G.U.Y” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga called in the best of the best for this one and brought in the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Lisa Vanderpump, Carlton Gebbia, Yolanda Foster, and Kyle and Kim Richards are pretending to strum instruments and lip sync along. Kyle and Lisa even accompany Gaga to fuck shit up in all-black lace and leather. It’s honestly so iconic. Prepare to re-enter your Artpop era with this one.

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

Love it or hate it, this song is burned into the collective consciousness. It’s a shared trauma for Swifties and non-Swifties alike. Now, this is among the most obvious references on our list, as it’s channeling Black Swan, which cemented Natalie Portman in our sexual fantasies. Taylor is not the black swan, as this was pre-Reputation, but she is still very much the outcast in the ballerinas and dressed as the white swan does. There are tutus and plies aplenty.

Fun fact: the part where they’re interpretative dancing and wearing light grey (it’s giving that self-formed dance trope in middle school) is actually referencing 90s Calvin Klein ads!

“Lay With Me” by Phantoms (ft Vanessa Hudgens)

Not only does this song recreate the “Breaking Free” scene in High School Musical, but they brought in Gabriella herself for it. She makes little shy glances and hand gestures the same way!! The massive moon prop is also in the background! Only this time when she takes off her dressit’s to reveal a sexy yellow dress that is more How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days than High School Musical — not that I’m complaining. Also, Kelsi should be offended by that man they replaced her with (brutal). Sadly, Troy also doesn’t seem to exist in this multiverse. Can they do “Bet on It” next?

“We Can’t Be Friends” by Ariana Grande

She’s back, and this time, she’s referencing “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind!” But in the we can’t be friends” music video, she’s subtle about it. She just has a form specifically stating it, is seen with the machine on her head, and signs her name as Peaches (cough, CLEMENTINE!). The memory scenes have the same colorful yet dark lighting style, and it features Evan Peters as her boyfriend, so all is good. 

“Girl” by Destiny’s Child

This song focuses on our fave four girls: Miranda, Carrie, Samantha, and Charlotte. Well… three of them, as one was clearly cut to match the number of girlies in Desiny’s Child (oops). It’s very meta, as the three of them are watching the show but also starring in it. There’s no doubt it’s Sex and the City, as it literally includes the opening shots. But there’s also the classic lunchtime yapping and promotional poster on a bus. Beyoncé is Carrie, typing away at a laptop and somehow getting paid enough to live in such an apartment. She’s probably giving the girlies terrible romantic advice, as usual, but we love her for it!!

“Lost in Japan” by Shawn Mendes

Okay, I recently saw a clip of Shawn Mendes singing with Noah Kahan, and it made me really rethink my life choices… namely, is Shawn Mendes really fucking hot??? TBD. But back when “Lost in Japan” was released, I wasn’t lost by this existential question. Instead, I was noticing how it references Lost in Translation in the most literal way possible. The filming style and shots outside the taxi, the hotel room, the pink wig — IS THAT THE GIRL FROM 13 REASONS WHY?? Anyway, Shawn is casting himself as Bob in this one, and we’ll let him have it. 

“What Do I Call You” by Taeyeon

little bit of K-Pop for people young enough to have never sent a message on AOL. It seems Ariana wasn’t the first person to reference Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in her latest album, as Taeyeon dedicated her music video to this film. Instead of directly copying scenes from the film, it seems to copy the concept of it, as she wakes up with all of these memories wiped.

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift

Yes, we’ve got another Taylor Swift addition: “Black Space,” which is absolutely brimming with movie references and metaphors for her public image. The best part is that Tay herself would never have the time to watch all these movies since she released 31 songs in an album. 

The music video follows her being a crazy girlfriend, the worst and best thing to happen to Sean (why is he called Sean?). We’ve got a Twilight reference in a close-up shot of her holding an apple near her mouth, both on the book cover and included in the film. Haters will say it’s a Bible reference, but we all know which came first. 

Another Mean Girls homage is included in this music video when she cuts two holes in his shirt like Cady does to Regina George. The ballroom dancing is giving Beauty and the Beast, while some people think the horseback riding is taken straight from The Parent Trap (mmm to be seen). Finally, we have Taylor gazing down from her balcony and giving Romeo + Juliet energy without the suicide pact.

“thank u next” by Ariana Grande

Ariana is the queen of aughts movie references. This movie definitely is from the early 2000s because it birthed the early 2000s! Ariana decided that emulating this classic film wasn’t enough. She became Mean Girls entirely. No one could miss the references, from the Regina George-esque rumors to the Burn book, the pink title font, the risque Santa dance, and more.

She even threw in Aaron Samuels and Jumbo Tampon Girl!! That’s not all the recognizable faces, as Cady is played by none other than Elizabeth Gillies, her bestie from Victorious, who I’d pay to punch me in the face. Elizabeth was clearly going all-in on the “Jingle Bell Rock” dance, and it paid off. Fellow Victorious baddies include Daniella Monet and Matt Bennet. We’ve also got Troye Sivan, Colleen Ballinger (pre-ukelele apology), Jennifer Coolidge, and Victoria Monet! Don’t even get me started on the Kris Jenner cameo as Regina’s mom filming them, the momager as the momager. I love it.

But Ari wasn’t satisfied, just referencing one Y2K movie. She needed to catch them all! Mean Girls transitions to Bring It On with rivaling cheerleaders and a tension-laden toothbrushing scene. This is followed by 13 Going On 30, complete with the dollhouse and gravity-defying flicky hair. The magical dollhouse takes her to Legally Blonde, where she confirms getting into Harvard isn’t that hard and pink is definitely her color.

Bonus: “Fortnight” by Taylor Swift

I couldn’t leave this list without mentioning Taylor Swift one more time (it’s a disease), and so a special little bonus category for “Fortnight.” This song pays homage to a recent Oscar-winning filmPoor Things. The references are visible in the outfits, the black and white filming, and the Frankenstein-esque sequence towards the end. Also, only Taylor could convince Post Malone to do a video like this. What’s especially fun is that Emma Stone, who stars in Poor Things, is one of Tay’s besties and is included in the credits for another song on The Tortured Poets Department.

In the video, Taylor also mimics Clara Bow in her makeup look, with dark lipstick, smokey eyes, and thin brows. Clara was a famous silent film actress in the 1920s and is referenced in another album track. 

Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman, a European-based copywriter. She’s interesting (cause she’s from Europe), speaks multiple languages (again, she's from Europe), and is mentally unhinged (despite socialized healthcare). You can find her European musings on Twitter @ByFleurine and her blog, Symptoms of Living, both of which are written to the sounds of unhinged Taylor Swift playlists.