Saturday, July 18, 2015

Happy 20th Birthday Clueless! You Have One More Year Before We Can Party

Dude what's wrong with you? Are you suffering from buyer's remorse or something? 
Can you believe that it's been 20 whole years since knee-high socks, plait skirts, and a cannon of pop culture phrases that are so timeless that we still use them in conversation were the basis for how we functioned as human beings? Your 'as ifs' your 'whatevers' your 'I totally paused' par example. 
Don't you feel ancient? I do. Let's travel back in time. It's 1995. I'm an awkward overweight 5th grader with greasy hair and I come to school one day and everyone is dressed up exactly like Cher in the opening scene. Well, we all kind of had to because we went to a Jewish private school and we already had plait skirts, that's right Clueless, we did it first. I also noticed a lot of those topless range rovers driving around the campus by the cooler older sisters, even though that thing would fling like a sling shot over a speed bump and violent crumble like a piece of aluminum foil, it looked fly. Another archaic term from the mind of Amy Heckerling. The girls in my class basically turned themselves into little mini-Cher's because let's face it, who wanted to be Tai. We all used pagers and flip phones, bulleted to the galleria after school was out, and started to believe we could argue our way from a C+ to an A- if we told our teachers that an evil male broke our hearts. Seriously I can quote that film from beginning to end verbatim so for all of our sakes, I'll try to keep it at a minimum.

Those outfits, ladies. Those outfits were so amazing that they were a character in the film unto themselves. We collectively thought. Wait, we can dress like that? No one told me! 
Based surprisingly enough on Jane Austen's 'Emma', the film tells the story of a loaded Beverly Hills blondie who has a rotating closet, a mansion in the 90210, and silky blonde hair, and absolutely no clue. It's laden with more 90's nostalgia than the front page of Buzzfeed, and oozing with snarky and quippy one-liners. It's literally the perfect teen movie, and I just feel so sorry for the generation following us that nad nothing better than Twilight to cling to. Mean Girls came close, but c'mon, there can only be one. And Clueless is the undisputed gold medalist.
Here's the thing, it's not just dumb funny the likes of which we see with the frat pack, where fart and pot jokes are front and center. Yes, it's a film for the ladies, but for how much it glorifies being a bit hair-brained, and CLUELESS, superficial and dense, it's a smart satire with such amazing writing that only a woman's sensibility could have brought to it. Amy Heckerling is like the Nora Ephron that doesn't take herself too seriously, and she's damn talented. Female filmmakers to this day like Tamara Jenkins, Nicole Holofcener, and Sofia Coppola takes major queues from her. As they should. She was a trailblazer in her own right, and the film is still relevant today, despite being a fluffy comedy, despite being totally dated, and despite having little substance.

Pillow lipped, gorgeous, and quirky, Alicia created a character that we couldn't help but love and aspire to be. 
Why is it most of us can still quote from it, name at least 3 actors that were in it, and dress like Cher at the Valley party? It's not just teenage fodder. Perhaps unintentionally, Heckerling made a landmark film that through its carefree whimsy became a solid piece of pop culture history.
All of us Gen-Y'ers are starting to procreate (well most anyway), and I'm sure the first thing we sit our kids down to watch when they're about 8 or so is going to be Clueless. You know why? It's very simple. It's fucking fun. It's not Citizen Kane, and it doesn't have to be. It's entertainment in it's purest form, salted and peppered with a great wardrobe, and some of the most memorable spoken lines ever, this film changed our entire cultural landscape. For those of us who remember, we went from wearing Nirvana T's and coming to school with unwashed hair, to pulling up those knee-high socks, charging our giant flip phones, and giving everyone in our path some kind of make-over. Yeah we might not have grown up loaded in a giant mansion in Beverly, nor fallen in love with our step brother (lest we forget, that was also our introduction to Paul Rudd). but we could all relate to Cher's plight. In fact, she is in a very strange way Charles Foster Kane. She's a girl that has literally everything, but in the end realizes she needs to 'make-over' her soul. If only Kane had come to the same conclusions. (I realize film buffs reading this are very close to shooting me right now) I honestly don't care.

Still rollin' with the homies. 
Clueless is a timeless genius piece of filmmaking, and what's great about it is that it doesn't make you think, and it doesn't make you cry. It makes you laugh and it makes you happy. And, escapism is a very important cog in the filmmaking institution. Also, talk about roles people were born to play. Had anyone been cast as Cher aside from Alicia Silverstone, I think the film would definitely have been forgotten damn fast. Her faces alone are unforgettable. The 'oops my bad' big eyes, or the 'anything you can do to attract attention to your mouth is good' dreamy stare, and of course the 'She's a total Monet' side-eye. She was our perky, blonde, Gloria Steinem. So bless you Heckerling, bless you if you'll excuse me I left my Cranberries CD in the quad I have to get it before someone snags it.

And I couldn't resist so here's my favorite list of quotes:

'He's a disco dancing, Oscar Wilde reading, Streisand ticket holding friend of Dorothy, know what I'm sayin'?' - Murray

'At least I didn't skin a collie to make my backpack' - Dionne

'What was that about?' - Cher
'Lucy's from El Salvador' - Josh
'So?' - Cher
'It's a whole different country' - Josh
'What does that matter?' - Cher
'You get upset if people think you live below Sunset' - Josh

'You're a virgin who can't drive' - Tai

'My foot hurts, can I go to the nurse?' - Elton

'Duh, it's like a famous quote...from cliff's notes' - Cher

'And I think I remember Mel Gibson accurately, and he didn't say that. That Polonius guy did' - Cher

'I'm not offering I'm asking you IF you drink, you think I give alcohol to teenage drivers taking out my daughter?' - Mel Horowitz

'Girly, as far as you're concerned I'm the Messiah of the DMV' - DMV instructor

'Isn't my house a classic? The column date back allt he way to 1972' - Cher

'You like Billie Holiday?' - Christian
'I love him' - Cher

'That's Ren and Stimpy. They're way existential' - Cher

'You look confused' - Josh
'Well, I thought they declared peace in the Middle East' - Cher

'It is one thing to spark up a doobie and get laced at parties, but it is quite another to be fried all day' - Cher
'Do you see the distinction?' - Dionne

'Cher get in here' - Mel Horowitz
'Yes daddy?' - Cher
'What the hell is that?' - Mel Horowitz
'A dress' - Cher
'Says who?' -Mel Horowitz
'Calvin Klien' - Cher

Ok I'll stop now. Add your own. You know you have some.

Below, clips! What else?

No comments: