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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 24: 10 Things I Hate About You


Nov 24: 10 Things I Hate About You

"A film inspired by the classic Shakespeare play "The Taming of the Shrew.", set in a modern day high school."
Directed by: Gil Junger, Rated: PG-13, 97 minutes

Back in July, when I discussed my six favorite Joseph Gordon-Levitt films, I included 10 Things I Hate About You, the 1999 teen comedy adaptation of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. I called it an underrated masterpiece and after re-watching it for about the 20th time, I still can't deny that fact. It's an incredibly smart comedy that does a lot more for teenagers in high school than a lot of the other countless movies that came out the same time. It's a movie that's elevated by its ever-so talented cast and introduced the world to not only Julia Stiles and the previously mentioned Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but to Heath Ledger as well.

Come on... hit me?

Rich with Shakespearean references and quotes, 10 Things I Hate About You is a story of young love and the pursuit of happiness. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Cameron, a new kid to a Washington high school who's quickly taken in by Michael (David Krumholtz), a AV Club nerd who knows the ins and outs of the school's cliques and social elite. Cameron quickly takes a liking to the beautiful Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), a popular sophomore who's a bit too conceited for her own good. Unfortunately for Cameron, the only way Bianca can go on a date (her controlling father is played by the perfect Larry Miller) is if her older rebellious/anti-social sister, Kat (Julia Stiles) goes on one as well. So Cameron does the only logical thing and hires the mysterious, Aussie, Patrick (Heath Ledger) to date Kat, thus allowing his foot in the door for Bianca. You can only imagine what comes out of that.

One of the many gems of Larry Miller's character. 

10 Things I Hate About You is a film that, I feel, has been slowly hidden in the past and continues to be looked over as one of the best comedies of the 90s. It's a movie that combines the charm of the 80s Hughes Movement and the punk-edgier bits of the 90s, while giving us an insight to so much young talent that would still be relevant today. While most teenage comedies star forgettable faces or B-list actors, the majority of the cast of 10 Things have gone onto star in worthwhile films and even earn awards. I think this is one of its biggest strengths when you look back on it, because you know where everyone has gone with their careers and can appreciate their earlier stuff a lot more. On paper, 10 Things I Hate About You is far from original, but in its execution and acting that makes it memorable. Heath Ledger is great as Patrick, bringing his own mystery and charm to the role. He's easy to believe as the badass turned smitten young man and has surprisingly good chemistry with Julia Stiles. Speaking of her, Stiles does a solid job as Kat, even if her character gets a little too over-the-top crazy at times (she's TOO anti-everything). But, she fits the role and becomes likable by the film's conclusion. As for the rest of the cast, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's part becomes much smaller as the film progresses, but his own innocence and likability still add a lot to the film. I also have to admit that after watching it again, I forgot how great Krumholtz is in his role and need to give him some much needed recognition as well.

Even today, Mr. Universe is very underrated. 

Have you not seen 10 Things I Hate About You already, go watch it right now. It's a movie that's much greater than what you'd think at first and it really grows on you. It's smart, well-acted, and genuinely funny. It's a comedy that's efficient because of the performances and it doesn't rely on the usual raunch you expect in something involving teenagers. It has a fun soundtrack and an incredible high school campus on which it's filmed (Stadium High School), giving a bit more character to an already memorable movie. I would highly recommend 10 Things I Hate About You and plan on keeping it in my canon of favorite high school comedies for as long as I can. I don't see anything taking its spot anytime soon. 

The Good:
clever, funny script and great performances from a very, very talented young cast
The Bad:
very dated soundtrack and clothes
The Ugly:
being reminded again of the talent of Heath Ledger and sadly knowing he is no longer with us

Overall: 8.4/10

Discussion Question:
What are some of your favorite teen comedies of the 90s that aren't American Pie


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At November 25, 2012 at 12:23 AM , Anonymous Austin 'Bishop Review' said...

I love this movie and I always find myself being bummed after watching any Heath Ledger movie. Though, I do think many of the cast have gone on to do great things too. Joseph Gordon Levitt has really hit it big now.

At November 25, 2012 at 12:24 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I find myself getting sad whenever I watch Ledger in anything too. He died way, way, way too soon. And yes, I'm glad Gordon-Levitt has found the success he has. He deserves it.

At November 25, 2012 at 2:02 AM , Anonymous Mark Ziobro said...

Great review. I agree that "10 Things I Hate About You" is a classic movie that did a lot to reinvigorate the high school genre. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become an amazing actor, and most of the rest of the cast too, especially the late Heath Ledger (an possibly-unbeknownst amazing film with him is called "Candy," about a drug addict and his girlfriend).

But most of all, many review sites shy away from movies such as this and I'm glad you haven't. Popular films are popular, often, because they're good. However, they often get a bad rap. Movies like "10 Things," "Can't Hardly Wait," and others are often defeated for the genre they belong to without giving them a fair chance. Watching these movies, however, shows a different picture which you managed to bring out in this review.


At November 25, 2012 at 10:44 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I'm glad to see someone else sees the quality in the film like me. Can't Hardly Wait is another film that I love the crap out of as well and feel it's much better than the genre, like you stated. It's another movie that has a lot of young stars that have gone on to do better things.


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