SEPTEMBER 21, 2010

Before “American Pie” and “National Lampoon” were dumbing down teen comedies, “10 Things I Hate About You” instilled the potential for which those teen comedies strove. With an ensemble cast that produced more mega-stars than almost any other teen comedy, “10 Things I Hate About You” continues to grip onto relevancy over ten years later.

Heath Ledger leads the names of breakout stars nested in the cast, charming his way into the hearts of more than just the lead. “10 Things” is Ledger’s “Say Anything,” showing his acting prowess early in his career, making a regular teen drama pop from the screen. Julia Stiles earns respect, moving from her “Save The Last Dance” days and becoming more relevant. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance foreshadows the success that follows in his romantic comedy roles. The sad story lies in Larisa Oleynik, who falls off the map following the film, for unknown reasons, as she plays the dumb blonde of this tragedy most graciously.

What makes “10 Things I Hate About You” stand out is the film’s foundation on the age-old Shakespearian play “The Taming Of The Shrew.” For the youngest daughter to marry, the eldest daughter, against men altogether, must be married off first, by their father’s orders. To win the hand of the younger daughter, the men contrive a master plan to marry the eldest daughter.

Though the stakes are not as high, the basic plot is. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) and Kat (Julia Stiles) are sisters. For Bianca to date, her man-hating sister, Kat, must start dating by orders of their overprotective father. In an attempt to win over Bianca, newcomer Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets popular pretty boy Joey (Andrew Keegan) to pay Patrick (Heath Ledger) to take Kat on a date. In the end, love conquers all, even in a topsy-turvy mish-mash of a plot such as this.

The soundtrack is comprised mainly of the band Letters to Cleo, with the actual band appearing in the film. The music epitomizes the feel of the film no matter what the setting, letting the audience feel the rush of emotion with the lyrics “even angels fall” when the prom becomes a bust and the cat is out of the bag.

“10 Things I Hate About You” is made of memorable moments, ranking it at the top of the chart of all-time best teen dramedies. No other teen flicks have the acting power, the soundtrack, or the heart that “10 Things I Hate About You” delivered over a decade ago. The film feels more like the first period of your senior year at high school rather than a formal film, even showing the director’s quirkiness in the bloopers during the trailers. All the characters are approachable and just the right mixture of natural and eccentric.

March 31, 1999

Gil Junger

Karen McCullah
Kirsten Smith

“The Taming of the Shrew”
by William Shakespeare

Touchstone Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

(for crude sex-related humor and dialogue, alcohol and drug-related scenes, all involving teens)

97 minutes

Mark Irwin

Richard Gibbs

O. Nicholas Brown

Julia Stiles
Heath Ledger
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Larisa Oleynik
Larry Miller
Andrew Keegan
David Krumholtz
Susan May Pratt
Gabrielle Union
Allison Janney

Andrew Lazar

$13 million

2 Comments on “Movie Review: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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