It’s Valentine’s Day. Whether you love it, hate it, or don’t see why it needs to be a holiday, it’s here. Today is a good day to best romantic comedies of the 90s today?
10 Things I Hate About You snuck into the greatest decade of all time by hitting theaters in 1999. Thank god, or Morgan Freeman, whatever you believe.
Budget: Somewhere between $16 (IMDbPro) and $30 million (Box Office Mojo). Big discrepancy? Yes.
Worldwide Gross: $53,478,166.
Stars: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, Gabrielle Union, Larry Miller, and Allison Janney.
Director: Gil Junger
Producer: Andrew Lazar
IMDB Summary: A new kid must find a guy to date the meanest girl in school, the older sister of the girl he has a crush on, who cannot date until her older sister does.
Quick Review: This movie is just too good to be true. Please get that reference. Honestly, though, this movie is great. How else would we describe an adaptation of Bill Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew that features two future Christopher Nolan-ites? And it gets better. Alex Mack (Larisa Oleynik) is in this movie! Her world isn’t so secret in this film, as she plays the popularity-obsessed younger sister of Julia Stiles’ rebellious, angsty Kat Stratford.
This movie is predictable, if not anything else, but it plays out in a very pleasing way. Ledger kills it as Patrick Verona. Perhaps it’s too hindsight-ish of me to say, but he seemed to have some acting gravitas back then that helped improve everyone else’s performances around him. He played the “I don’t give a fuck” card often, but mixed in the very tactful “I’m really just a puppy dog” at the right times.
Most Touching Scene: When Kat (Stiles) reads her poem in front of her whole class. Let’s be honest, the poem isn’t anything special. But if you don’t feel something as the camera tracks toward Stiles, you’re a robot. A cold, cold robot.
Best Supporting Actor: This one is a tossup. There are so many good supporting characters here. On one hand, you could go with a future star like Gordon-Levitt. On the other, you could go with someone with an amazing resume, like David Krumholtz, who gained fame for his fantastic turn as Bernard The Elf in The Santa Clause.
But this distinction is awarded to both Larry Miller (who plays Alex Mack and Stiles’s father) and Daryl Mitchell (who plays Mr. Morgan, a teacher at the school). Miller plays an excellent over-protective dad. He’s downright mean at times. Yet he manages to have interesting, and honest, self-realizations. It’s a part that makes or breaks a comedy like this. Miller made it.
Mitchell is great as Mr. Morgan because we believe his sass. I love his, “Pipe down, Chachi!” Mitchell owns it in the few scenes below. His rhyme-rap is impeccable. My favorite line of his is, “I know Shakespeare is a dead white guy. But he knows his shit. So we can overlook that.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Why This Movie Should Have Won An Oscar: Because singing to a girl in front of the whole school should always win someone an Academy Award.
It even inspired a hilarious scene in Not Another Teen Movie.
Overt 90s Messages Learned: Pointing that you drew inspiration from Shakespeare throughout a movie never gets old. Additionally, popularity is a messed-up, farcical waste of time. Sometimes weird people are the coolest people you’ll ever meet.
Interesting Movie Fact: Ledger beat out Josh Hartnett and Ashton Kutcher for the role of Patrick. Let’s chalk that up as a huge win.
Millennial Man Movie Grade: A-