For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – High School/Teen Romance Movies, here’s a review of Clueless (1995) by Carly of Carly Hearts Movies
Thanks again to Kim of Tranquil Dreams for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Reut of Sweet Archive. We will be reviewing our favorite dark comedies. Please get me your submissions by the 25th of July by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Reut!
Let’s see what Carly thought of this movie:
1995, Directed by Amy Heckerling
Written by Amy Heckerling
Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy
A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil’s popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way.
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Oh, boy! Coming off the heels of my Goodfellas 25th Anniversary tribute, looks like another one of my beloved movies has a major birthday coming up.
Clueless, the quintessential 90s “mean girls” movie, turns 20 this summer. And guess what? I’ve seen it so many times since middle school that my waking non-sequiturs are quotes from the movie, and I’ve committed so much of the movie to memory that I didn’t even need to watch it again (but I certainly want to).
An updated (at least by 1995 standards) version of Jane Austen’s Emma, Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is a matchmaker to her friends, among them Dionne and Tai (Stacey Dash and Brittany Murphy). Herself? Well, she’s struggling in that department almost as hard as she’s struggling to get her driver’s license and competing with her geeky but sexy stepbrother (pre-fame Paul Rudd) for the attention of their humorless lawyer father (Dan Hedaya).
Anyway, when Tai moves to Beverly Hills from God knows where, Cher swoops in and gives her a makeover. Soon, the boys all start clamoring for Tai, and Dee’s volatile relationship with dopey Murray (Donald Faison aka “Turk” from Scrubs) while Cher finds her life falling apart. No license, no boyfriend, no nothing? She’s created a monster in Tai! Will she ever recover?
Sounds cheesy, but the main takeaway from Clueless is the most important makeover one can get is a makeover of the soul. By the end of the movie, Cher achieves a sort of enlightenment that life isn’t all about shoes and shopping. I guess every teen movie has that sort of theme going on, but Clueless does it best.
I won’t really judge the acting, because I feel like nitpicking a teen movie like that is bullying on my part. Some movies weren’t meant to be analyzed academically, and Clueless is one of them. That said, it’s such a fun movie that I would probably love it as much if the actors were replaced with cats (Mew-less?)
I still have a hard time believing that Beverly Hills teens in the 1990s dressed that ridiculously (is that a hat or a lampshade on Stacey Dash’s head?), but that’s only because I was a teenager in Pittsburgh in the late 2000s / early 2010s. I can attest that the one fashion from this movie I saw a lot of in my school days was the classic sideways baseball cap and pants sagging to the wearer’s ankles. They even got the walking to class in slow motion correct.
Even in the 90s, silly boys couldn’t turn their swag off for a few yards so one could get to class on time!
Not to give away the ending, but the first time I saw it, I was grossed out. With repeat watchings, however, the ending got less “ewwwww” and more “awwwww.”
20 years later, the “Where Are They Now?” story of the cast is both fascinating and heartbreaking. Brittany Murphy tragically passed away in 2009, Stacey Dash is now a correspondent for FOX News (commence chronic foot-in-mouth disease!), and Alicia Silverstone is still acting every now and again, but these days she’s also an outspoken vegan cookbook author.
Paul Rudd seems to be Clueless’s biggest success story. The beloved funnyman is set to make his comic book debut in Marvel’s Ant-Man.
Director Amy Heckerling has transitioned into TV directing since Clueless, directing episodes of shows like The Office, The Carrie Diaries, Suburgatory, and Gossip Girl.
One last note, a Clueless musical is in the works, and words can’t express my excitement.
Clueless is the best of the 90s teen movies. Can Iggy Azalea’s insipid parody music video change that? As if!