A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

10 Things I Hate About You

June 14, 2011

10 Things I Hate About You

Amanda is feeling pretty miserable because of her oral surgery yesterday so we decided to use one of our few reliable comfort movies. This light-hearted, fun, irreverent movie is the nineties answer to the old John Hughes brat pack movies of the eighties. It’s cute, silly, romantic, and probably one of the most perfect teen movies ever made.

The story is purportedly inspired by the Taming of the Shrew. Cameron, A young man at a new high school, instantly crushes on a girl named Bianca he sees on his first day there, only to discover that her over protective father has mandated that until Bianca’s shrewish sister Kat starts dating she may not date either. Cameron (with the help of his friend Michael) strikes upon a plan. He convinces the slimy male model Joey Donner to pay somebody to take Kat out. The guy they pick to tame the shrew is Patrick Verona, a dangerous loner and outsider. It’s all a frothy silly romp, but that’s part of the appeal of the movie.

This movie has two things going for it – the cast and the astonishingly witty script. I can’t really decide which is better. Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz have crafted a script where just about every single line of dialog is pure gold. It’s clever, funny and very quick witted. It highlights the many cliques at Padua High School and treats them with pretty much equal disdain. The leads of our movie here are all outsiders. Kat and Patrick choose not to sink to the level of fitting in, Cameron is too new in the school to be part of a clique and his friend and guide Michael is an AV geek (though he denies it.) Only Bianca is really popular, and over the course of the movie she comes to realize that perhaps that is not all that it is cracked up to be. This is very much a movie about standing up for yourself and having the courage not to fit in, and I love it for that.

Also fun is the fact that all of the adults in the movie are almost as funny as (if not funnier than) the younger roles. There’s Allison Janney, the sad beaten wife from American Beauty as Ms. Perky the guidance councilor. There’s Daryl Mitchell, Young Lorado from Galaxy Quest, as the very cool English teacher Mr. Morgan. There’s Joe Isuzu himself, David Leisure, as the gym teacher and detention hall monitor Mr. Chapin. And stealing every scene he’s in there’s Larry Miller as Kat and Bianca’s father Mr. Stratford. Theyr’e all fantastic parts, and the source of so many oft quoted lines in our daily lexicon. Things like “What’s another word for… engorged” or “I’m confiscating this” are just somehow applicable to daily life for me and Amanda. Possibly because of the great deliveries of the actors involved. I think that Larry Miller is one of my favorite parts of the whole movie – and that’s really saying something.

Then there are the other actors. I completely fell in love with Julia Stiles here. She’s an actress who, like the character she plays in this movie, doesn’t seem to feel the need to choose safe or acceptable roles. I admire that. She plays my favorite ever Ophelia, and even the Desdemona role in another Shakespeare inspired modern retelling that we own. It was such a pleasure seeing her in the Bourne movies, where she just kept getting larger and larger parts in each film. And there’s that young Australian soap opera star Heath Ledger who went on to win an Oscar playing a villain in a comic book movie – that’s really impressive right there. Heath has such casual confidence and charm to him, it’s not hard to see why he rocketed to super-stardom.

There are certain movies that simply define the genre they’re in. Movies that are so perfect from beginning to end that they never fail to delight. This would be one of those. A perfect movie to watch on a bad day.

June 14, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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