119. Clueless


Movie: Clueless

Release Date: July 19, 1995

Director: Amy Heckerling

Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd.

Tag Lines: “Sex. Clothes. Popularity. Is there a problem here?”

“Sex. Clothes. Popularity. Whatever.”

Relevance: Sometimes when I see a trailer for a film, I know right away that I have no desire to see it. It’s a rare occurrence, because I will honestly watch anything. However once in awhile I will see something that makes me roll my eyes and say “whatever.” That’s exactly what I did when I saw the trailer for ‘Clueless.’

In July of 1995, I was married and living in Massachusetts near Boston. We had just moved there in the beginning of the summer. Despite that, we seemed to get visits from family members quite a bit. One weekend in late July, we had one such family visit. It was the brother-in-law and his then girlfriend. On one of the nights I was free from work we decided to head to the movies. The female types wanted to see ‘Clueless.’ The males wanted nothing to do with it. That didn’t seem to matter. We were headed to ‘Clueless.’

Very surprisingly, I was thoroughly entertained the entire time with countless laugh out loud moments. It was a fun, fresh take on the high school coming of age flick that was not only tolerable, but quite effective as well. One of the things that made the film so attractive to me was that it didn’t take itself seriously, completely making fun of itself. Not in a “meta” way, but by putting the “popular” crowd as its stars and having them be the butt of the jokes turned the genre on its ears. I was more than pleased with the film and I am glad that I was coerced into seeing it. See, a few good things did come out of that marriage.

‘Clueless’ was very well received by critics and became a sleeper hit that year making a modest income at the box office. It catapulted the careers of Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd. It also started a whole new trend of speaking. “As If” and “Whatever” were very popular from everybody ranging between ten and fifty. The film has since become a cult classic and has a huge following among younger viewers who have discovered it via their parents or the 2020 Discover Commercial. “Uh huh. No way.” It has spawned a sitcom, a series of books and even a Broadway musical albeit a short lived one.

I continued to be a huge fan of ‘Clueless’ and bought it on VHS as soon as it was available. The soundtrack was also quite popular in my household and one that I listened to quite a bit. The film remains in my movie collection to this day in DVD format, and it is one that I watch periodically whenever I feel the need to return to the 1990’s.

Today’s Thoughts: “That’s Ren and Stimpy. They’re way existential.”

‘Clueless’ remains a silly but really funny film that I totally enjoyed again today by myself. It has become very nostalgic as the film is a definite snapshot of 1995 in fashion, speech, music and lifestyle. But beautifully directing her humorous screenplay, Amy Heckerling captures it perfectly.

The cast is also pretty remarkable as well. Alicia Silverstone was born to play Cher and she does so flawlessly. It is hard to believe Paul Rudd (does that man ever age) made his film debut in ‘Clueless’ because he is extremely effective in the role. It is a bit bittersweet seeing Brittany Murphy again, a talent that was taken from this planet much too soon. I bet she still would have been a force to reckon with today, She is fantastic as Tai and I could watch her fall down those stairs at the dance over and over again. What an entrance!

‘Clueless’ is still a great time if you are looking to smile, laugh and forget your problems. And that’s exactly what happened to me today for ninety-seven minutes. For those ninety-seven minutes I wasn’t an unemployed almost fifty year old man writing a movie blog that two (fingers crossed there are two) people are reading. I was twenty-four, singing along to Radiohead, saying “Whatever, as if” and laughing along with Alicia Silverstone like it was 1995 again.

“Old people can be so sweet.”

Awards: National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Performer, Alicia Silverstone (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay, Amy Heckerling (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay, Amy Heckerling (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Amy Heckerling (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, DVD Availability.


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