I still do not know
What the title of this film
Really even means
Quick update on the Challenge
Hey look, it’s officially been 55 days since I started the Rom-Com Challenge. You know what that means? I’ve unequivocally failed to follow through on the 30-in-30 premise. And that will certainly be addressed in my final recap. I’ve learned a lot over the last two months, most importantly that spending three hours watching a movie and writing about it on a daily basis without financial compensation is exceedingly difficult.
But fear not. There are only a few movies left. 10 Things I Hate About You is #25. Since Easy A did not fulfill the rom-com definition, that means I have six movies left. I promise, here and forever, cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my freaking eye, that in six days, this challenge will finally come to its conclusion.
10 things about this movie
1. 10 Things I Hate About You is apparently a modern take on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, a play where a man named Petruchio uses psychological methods to dupe Katherina into becoming his “obedient bride.” Sounds charming. It’s a bit of a stretch to say this movie is based on the Shakespeare play, but there are numerous references to Shakesperean sayings and verses that make it a little clearer what the script is trying to do.
2. This is the first time I’ve seen Heath Ledger in a movie other than The Dark Knight, so I have to admit it was strange seeing him play a decidedly normal character. He did a very good job, and I can see why people considered him one of the better young talents of the decade (as if The Dark Knight didn’t prove that already).
3. I don’t typically like throwing the term “resting bitch face” around for fear of sounding demeaning, but holy hell does Julia Stiles have the most fantastic resting bitch face you’ve ever seen? Her character was impossible to like for most of the movie and that means she did a phenomenal job portraying it.
4. The best character in this movie was Mr. Morgan, a teacher played by Daryl Mitchell. Some of the best lines in the entire film.
5. This is another movie where the teens don’t act like teens. I know you kind of have to play up their intelligence to make the movie better, and maybe this is the grown-up-and-high-school-kids-are-so-small-now side of me coming out, but Ledger and Stiles play characters that do not exist in this day and age.
6. Kat’s father, played by Walter Stratford, is another gem. He portrays an uber-conservative single father who won’t allow his daughters to date until after high school, and who believes that any male to female contact will result in an instant pregnancy. One of the best scenes in the movie is when he forces Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) to wear a pregnancy belly suit so that she can consider the choices she could potentially make by attending a party.
7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is so tiny!
8. This was another high school romance movie that I really enjoyed. It seems when a director nails the concept, it always turns out really, really well.
9. The title of the movie still confuses me. The most credible explanation I can find is that it sounds vaguely like The Taming of the Shrew. I guess if you say it fast, it KIND OF works.
10. This script was full of gold. I love scripts like this. Just a few examples:
Walter Stratford: Alright, wait a minute. No drinking, no drugs, no kissing, no tattoos, no piercings, *no* ritual animal slaughters of any kind. Oh, God, I’m giving them ideas.
Patrick: What is it with this chick? She have beer-flavored nipples?
Kat Stratford: Romantic? Hemingway? He was an abusive, alcoholic misogynist who squandered half of his life hanging around Picasso trying to nail his leftovers. (This was Kat’s first good line and it was a perfect way to introduce us to her character)
Walter Stratford: Kissing? That’s what you think happens? I’ve got news for you. Kissing isn’t what keeps me up to my elbows in placenta all day long.
My only problem
There are a lot of characters in this movie and while eventually the plot settles on Kat and Patrick as the main protagonist (I think?), it takes a long time to develop. For most of the film, it’s not clear who the main character is as they’re all kind of introduced at once with no one grabbing the spotlight for an extended period of time. It wasn’t necessarily bad but it did make the film feel disjointed and unfocused, almost like I was watching a bunch of mini sketches within an umbrella plot.
A solid 3.5/5. All of the characters are likable and relatable and fun to watch, and all of the actors and actresses are excellent. The plot is thin but it’s based on Shakespeare, so I guess calling it “thin” is an insult to the Bard. To be or not to be? That’s not the question, but I felt like saying it. I liked this movie.