I had big plans for how I was going to spend my brief 2-week semester break before I started back at university over summer; make homemade pasta, learn piano, do some yoga, etc. Instead, I’ve spent the first 5 days sitting at my computer writing a fucking blog post about Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Did I anticipate that it was going to take me so long? No. But 11 movies and however many hours down, and here we are.

Mary-Kate and Ashley have grown into something of an enigma. They have no social media accounts, they do just two interviews a year that are almost exclusively about their high-end fashion label, The Row, and most of their direct-to-DVD films are slowly disappearing from the shelves of retailers and are now going for around $40 a pop on eBay and Amazon. Their films have gradually become a novelty to own, and I fear that over time, the greater population will forget all about their international adventures and on-screen teen love affairs, leaving nothing behind except some pop culture references and a few thousand Pinterest images to remember them by.

But I’m sorry, Mary-Kate and Ashley, I won’t go quietly. As an avid consumer of your films, TV-shows, and even a couple of your computer games, I feel as though it is my duty to share my thoughts and feelings about your films while I still remember them. So for the past 5 days, I’ve been slaving away and sitting through hours and hours of Mary Kate and Ashley’s movies in an attempt to review and rank them as accurately as humanly possible, losing thousands of brain cells in the process.

Naysayers told me that it couldn’t be done. But like so many times before, I proved them wrong. So without further ado, here is my controversial review and ranking of Mary Kate and Ashley’s 11 feature films.


11th /11 (tie)
Winning London


The Plot:
 
As it was eloquently described in an iTunes review, “Olsen twins head to international competition, pursue boys." That’s pretty spot on. 
Putting it bluntly, I hated this movie. The guys? Borderline. The comedy? Non-existent. Not to mention that it was probably the least exciting storyline of the entire film series. The only thing saving this movie was the clothes. Otherwise, I have nothing good to say about it. 
Also, I can’t help but question why they had the same names as their characters from So Little Time but the actors...swapped? Why would you do that? Who thought that would be a good idea? These are the questions that haunt me.

Highlight of the film: The tie-dye/plaid bell-bottom jeans. What possessed them to wear them? Why do I secretly love them?

Lesson Learned: To never waste your time on this movie.


11th /11 (tie)
When in Rome


The Plot: 
The girls get fired from a fashion internship in Rome after a series of mishaps, and then are randomly rehired by the CEO of the company who at one point jets them off to his beachfront villa for some R+R. This quickly becomes a mystery, and they eventually save the day with roller-skates. I think that’s all you need to know.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen this film rated highly on any sort of list. Whilst it is arguably the most terrible film I have ever watched, it didn’t fill me with the same sort of fiery rage that Winning London did, hence the draw. But believe me when I say that I would never watch it again, because let's be honest - if I really wanted to watch a movie about adventures in Rome and young love with a guy named Paolo, I’d just watch the Lizzie McGuire movie.

Highlight of the film: The end credits

Lesson learned: Turns out internships actually require work. Who knew?


9th /11
The Challenge



The Plot:
A pair of estranged twins coincidentally end up on the same team on a survivor-esque reality TV-show, and they have to learn to put their differences aside and work together as a team in order to win college scholarships.
 
The concept of a reality TV-show setting as a film was pretty revolutionary back in 2003, and Son's of Anarchy character Juan "Juice" Ortiz has a role in this movie as one of their teammates, which is both cool and super weird. Ultimately, there was nothing bad about this film, but it's not exactly winning any awards, either. It was just meh, or as our good friend Sam from Getting There would say, it was sort of "charcoal."

Highlight of the film: The end scene where some of the twins' boyfriends from past movies and TV-shows show up and begin arguing over who the girls loved more. Iconic moment.

Lesson learned: In the words of Wikipedia, "Boys may come and go, but we'll always have each other—and that's not just in the movies."

 

8th /11
It Takes Two



The Plot:
Two girls from very different lives end up (literally) running into each other at the same summer camp, only to realise that they’re identical. Sound familiar? That’s because I've basically just described The Parent Trap, except in this movie, they're not twins. In fact, they're not even related. They're just...completely identical strangers..? Dare I say It Takes Two is a poor man’s The Parent Trap? I do. I do dare.
Does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. It was a wholesome movie, and the girls get extra points for being adorable. But despite some of the obvious differences, it was just too hard to not compare it to Lindsay Lohan's arguably better film that came out two years later.  

I think if you grew up watching It Takes Two, you'll have some sort of emotional or sentimental connection to it, but I didn't. So objectively, it just doesn't deserve to be any higher. And I'm not sorry about it.

Highlight of the film: Mary Kate’s character Amanda and her sometimes questionable (but always cute) New York accent won the show for me. 

Lesson learned: Lindsay Lohan did it better.

 

7th /11
Kicking Goals


The Plot: Sam (Mary-Kate) is a star soccer player and loves sports, whereas Emma (Ashley) is more girly and enjoys fashion and make-up. Cue the typical tomboy/girly-girl trope that the Olsen twins are famous for. Then much to his dismay, their ultra-competitive father is pressured by his wife to pick Emma for his championship-winning team, leaving Sam to be picked up by the opposing ("loser") team known as the Buzzards. But like every good Olsen movie, the girls secretly swap places.

First of all, their dad was kind of infuriating. He is pathologically competitive and treated Emma like a second-rate citizen just because she didn't like to kick a ball. 
Additionally, the entire league treated the Buzzard's like a joke. But I'm sorry, pizza at training? Are you kidding? Only in my wildest dreams. I hope my cheerleading coach takes note. 
Finally, the major climax of the film was Emma being swapped in as goalkeeper in the grand final with a MINUTE left and ended up blocking the kick, which left both of their teams tied and they SHARED the win, because apparently there was just no possibility for overtime. Okay.

Ultimately, it's just another mid-tier Mary Kate and Ashley movie.

Highlight of the film: 11-year-old Michael Cera giving the performance of his life as a kid buying a pair of cleats. 

Lessons learned: The rumours are true! You can enjoy soccer AND wear dresses. Wild concept.


6th /10
Billboard Dad


The Plot: Before Tinder and Hinge, there was a set of 10-year-old twins putting up a billboard in the middle of Sunset Blvd in an attempt to find their widowed father a new girlfriend after their mother passed away two years prior. This movie was pretty fun. It sort of reminded me of a low budget version of Sleepless in Seattle, but for kids. Lonely in Los Angeles, if you will.
The film was super sweet, and for a couple of 10-year-olds, they served so many looks that I've since saved on Pinterest. Was I watching Billboard Dad for the plot or the 90’s fashion? We’ll never really know. 
Whilst they were too young to have any love interests in this film, it did feature a 12-year-old wannabe badass with a denim jacket and a lip piercing, who coincidentally was also the same kid who tried to sabotage the boxcar racer in The Little Rascals

My final thoughts? The Olsen twins are the ultimate wingmen. Remind me who to call if I’m ever single.

Highlight of the film: 
The lifeguard.

Lesson learned:
 Those coloured John Lennon sunglasses still look cool and I want a pair ASAP. 


5th /11
Getting There



The Plot:
The twins get their driver's licenses, and unlike the rest of us plebs sporting Toyota Yarris' and Hyundai i20's, Mary-Kate and Ashley are gifted a MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE for their 16th birthday. Standard. They then decide to go on a road trip to Utah with a bunch of friends in order to catch the 2004 Salt Lake City Olympics. 
As you can guess, the girls (and guys) face a series of misfortunes on their way to Utah, such as a couple of blown tires, getting separated at a gas station, and accidentally booking a flight to San Diego instead of San Fransisco. But the most unrealistic part of this movie? The fact that their Ford Mustang got stolen early on in the film, and then RETURNED at the end of the movie because the guy "just wanted to take it out on a test-drive"? Girls, who the fuck do you think you're fooling?

Honorable mention also goes out to Sam, who is easily one of the worst characters in the MK+A franchise. He gets friend-zoned by Mary-Kate within the first 15 minutes, doesn't quite take the hint, and then spends the remainder of the film trying to win her affection. 

Despite all of that, the film is still pretty good.

Highlight of the film: Anything that Toast said

Lesson learned: "It’s called lunch bro. The fifth most important meal of the day” 

 

4th /11
Holiday in the Sun



Whilst it's not exactly taking home any medals, this movie is arguably the most iconic film of the series for
so many reasons.

The Plot: Madison (Mary-Kate) and Alex (Ashley) are whisked away by their parents and flown to the five-star Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas via their private jet. Despite originally wanting to spend their winter break in Hawaii surrounded by a gaggle of horny 15-year-old boys, they end up finding some new on-screen boyfriends to occupy themselves with and eventually have a really great time swimming with dolphins and getting involved in an antiquities smuggling ring. You know, just your standard family holiday.
This movie was basically a massive flex on how rich they are and trying to make all of us jealous that we're not riding around on jet ski's or going scuba diving in the Bahamas. And you know what? It fucking worked. 
Also, the soundtrack? Impeccable. Features the songs that we heard in almost every 00s teen movie ever (press here, here, and here if you wanna know what I'm talking about) as well as a performance of Us Against the World by Play, which you will forever associate with either this movie or that episode of Lizzie McGuire. 

Highlight of the film: This was Megan Fox's breakout role, and it basically put her on the map.

Lesson Learned: I know they make it look like a good idea, but I do not recommend hijacking a yacht to solve a crime. The jail time is just not worth it.


3rd /11
New York Minute



The Plot: Jane is a conscientious student with dreams of winning a scholarship to Oxford University, and Roxi is a delinquent band member who skips school to attend the Simple Plan video shoot (to be honest, I'd ditch school for that too). There's a dead parent, a great adventure around a foreign city, and an eventual sister swap. New York Minute ticked all the requirements of a typical Olsen film. However, there's also a random Taekwondo scene, some shady black market deals, a car chase, and Eugene Levy from Schitt's Creek to keep it interesting.
As for their love interests, between Jared Padalecki from Gilmour Girls and that hot guy that keeps smashing into Jane with his bike, we're pretty spoiled for choice in this one.

Highlight of the film: I'm torn between shirtless Jared Padalecki, and the iconic line: "As the famous Canadian professor Avril Lavigne-stein once said, and I quote, why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?

Lesson learned: Just buy the fucking train ticket.


2nd /11
Our Lips Are Sealed



You’re probably wondering, what the fuck is this movie doing above
Holiday in the Sun AND New York Minute? That would be a fair question, and two days ago, I would be standing over there with you shaking my fist in the air and demanding a refund on the 2 minutes I just wasted reading this blog post. But this movie is brilliantly underrated and deserves 2nd place, and I am here to remind you why. 

The Plot:
Mary-Kate and Ashley witness a diamond robbery orchestrated by notorious crime lord, Emil Hatchew. Subsequently, the girls and their parents are placed into the Witness Protection Program where they are provided with new identities and are relocated to Australia. Unfortunately, they're closely followed by two henchmen who have absolutely no idea what they're doing.
Multiple beach parties, an Eastern-European mobster, a pet kangaroo, and a couple of blonde surfer boys that I probably would have had a crush on in primary school - this movie truly has it all. It really makes me think that living in Australia is actually super cool and I’m just doing it wrong. As Mary-Kate once said, "Australia was like one big party. The bad news? We weren’t exactly invited yet.” Yeah, me neither kid. 
My final thoughts? This movie was beautifully orchestrated chaos from start to finish with a storyline so extensive that I sometimes couldn't tell if I was watching the Olsen twins or a Martin Scorsese film. *Chef's Kiss*

Special Highlight: I can't decide between Mary-Kate assaulting Emil Hatchew with a boomerang, or the fact that Avery's dad owned Luna Park (I know which guy I'd wanna date).

Lesson learned: In the words of the Olsen twins, “Life’s not about being popular, it’s about being yourself. And that’s fair dinkum”



1st /11
Passport to Paris



Of course, that leaves us with none other than Passport to Paris - the crown jewel of Olsen movies. Are we even a little bit surprised? No. This film is a whimsical love story filled with Vespas, french boys, and turtlenecks. Need I say more?

The Plot: 
In an attempt to broaden their interests, Melanie and Allyson's parents send their daughters away to Paris for a week to stay with their U.S ambassador grandpa, where they meet two cute boys on Vespa's who whisk them off on a Parisian adventure. Along the way, they befriend an international supermodel named Brigitte who takes them shopping around Paris in her spare time because, you know, I know so many supermodels who become friends with 12 year olds. 
In my opinion, Passport to Paris ticks all the boxes. The fashion is immaculate and goes to prove that Mary-Kate and Ashley were the pioneers of butterfly-clips, leather coats, and bucket hats. And that scene where they have a swordfight with breadsticks in front of the Eiffel Tower? Yeah, 21 years later and I'm still jealous.
Most importantly, the on-screen boyfriends in this movie were super cute. If we're being honest, I wanted to get railed by Jean when I was younger. He was the garçon français of my dreams, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't watch this movie before I went to Paris at 14 to mentally prepare myself on what to expect.
Ultimately, Passport to Paris is simply the best. Words really can't describe this masterpiece. Somebody give these girls their Oscar.

Highlight of the movie: When Mary-Kate and Ashley convinced the French Foreign Minister to pass a clean water bill in France. Stylish queens AND political activists - what can't these girls do?

Lessons learned: Always accept rides from strangers if they're french boys on Vespas.

Was this review most likely a colossal waste of my time? Probably, and I'll most likely have nightmares about butterfly clips and spaghetti straps for the rest of my life. But to all my readers, go on and spread the good news that the truth is finally out. I suppose I'll just be here continuing to do the lords work.

            - Loz

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