November 3, 2008 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | PaEHba Day | November 3, 2008 |


If William Shakespeare were writing in 2008, he’d have titles published as Bill Shakespeare, serious non-fiction historical treatments, and also Belinda Spearson, writing light-hearted comedies and weepy romances. A lot of Shakespeare’s plays rely heavily on the same plot points we roll our eyes at today; mistaken identities, contrived circumstances, vague and mysterious vows or familial relationships. Hamlet is the original emo kid, Portia is a bored rich girl looking for a thrill, and Romeo and Juliet… frankly I shouldn’t even have to elaborate there.

In that spirit, I will be doing a real time review of 10 Thing I Hate About You, a loose adaptation of “Taming of the Shrew” by none other than the Bard himself. The filmmakers have set the scene at a Seattle high school in the late 90s. Like, oh my god, here we go;

0:00:14 - We open with “One Week” by the Barenaked Ladies. Ahh, 1998. And, I’m sorry, I have been to Seattle. They must have filmed this movie during the three sunny days that happen there all year. Transition to “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett with Kat’s entrance.

0:02:00 - I love Ms.Perky the guidance counselor and I love Allison Janney in this role. So SO much. Also, Joseph Gordon-Levitt got way cuter after this movie. “I’ve got deviants to see and a novel to write” Love!

0:03:00 - Introduction of Patrick Verona, aka Heath Ledger with Australian accent in tact. He’s in trouble for exposing himself to the lunch lady as a joke. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a public service.

0:03:45 - Young David Krumholtz alert! He’s playing a nerd, so original. And now a high school stereotype montage, notable only for the inclusion of completely ridiculous stereotypes, like “white Rastafarians” and “urban cowboys”

0:04:40 - “Bogey Lowenstein,” I forgot that this movie also has some amazing tertiary character names. Also, Gabrielle Union is making her first appearance.

0:06:33 - “the oppressive Patriarchal values that dictate our education” name me one current romantic comedy teen heroine who uses language like that. Seriously, there are worse things than looking up to Kat Stratford.

0:06:50 - This speech by the English teacher is also brilliant. “Overcoming years of upper middle class suburban oppression, must be tough.”

0:07:50 - “What’s another word for ‘engorged’?” The fact that Kat supplies “tumescent” makes my English minor heart sing. And the casual tossing off of the phrase “terrorist action” to describe kicking someone else in the balls reminds me of what an innocent time 1998 was.

0:08:45 - I kind of wish my guidance counselor had reason to call me a heinous bitch in high school.

0:10:25 - Subtle yet obvious reference to male masturbation. Would that teen comedies still had the dignity for this kind of dialogue.

0:11:11 - Make a wish! My wish is that I wasn’t watching Andrew Keegan skeeze all over Bianca Stratford with his mediocre acting. Also “Remove head from sphincter, then drive!” I still use that.

0:13:14 - Entrance of Larry Miller playing the Stratford patriarch. Kat has gotten into Sarah Lawrence, family tension ensues as daddy wants her to stay near home. Oh, useless and nearly forgotten subplots, how I love you. Also, I still love that this movie has an unapologetically feminist heroine that no one accuses of being a lesbian. And the Stratford sisters’ fighting is as verbose and dignified as most sibling fights. (“Oh, as opposed to being from planet ‘look at me, look at me’”)

0:16:30 - Cameron asks Bianca out, and thus we have our driving force for the movie, as Bianca exposits that she can date when her sister does. Main plot! I’ve found you!

0:19:04 - Heath Ledger (or Patrick Verona) lights a cigarette off a Bunsen burner, which turns on my non-smoking self far more than it should.

0:20:35 - David Krumholtz tries to talk Andrew Keegan into paying off Patrick Verona to date Kat so that he (Andrew Keegan) can date Bianca. Mostly what I see is an unfortunate and somewhat uncanny resemblance between Krumholtz and Keegan.

0: 24:02 - First conversation between Patrick and Kat, after she finishes soccer practice. Remember when soccer was still popular? And girls’ soccer was considered sexy? Two years out from the Atlanta Olympics, I guess people still associated women’s soccer with Brandi Chastain flashing the world. Anyway, Kat’s unimpressed.

0:25:40 - Tension involving the Stratford girls’ absent mother! Another subplot that doesn’t have any real ramifications overall.

0:26:55 - Kat Stratford destroys a car out of annoyance. Dad says “my insurance does not cover PMS!” Fight with dad featuring both the Sarah Lawrence and absent mother subplots, so, mostly a waste of time for everyone involved.

0:29:57 — “What is it with this chick, she got beer flavored nipples?” Patrick Verona, speaking for the audience. Also, introduction of the double cross where Cameron and his friend Michael where Joey (Andrew Keegan) is a pawn who just pays Patrick, but Cameron will be the one who ends up dating Bianca. Intrigue! Or not, I actually don’t care much about Bianca and Cameron.

0:31:20 - Even Bianca, the “dumb” sister, knows the word “pensive” and uses it correctly in a sentence.

0:33:01 - “You don’t buy black lingerie unless you want someone to see it.” I have a lot of black panties, I’m now wondering if that has anything to do with this movie and its impact on my young and impressionable self.

0:35:02 “Are you telling me I’m not a pretty guy?” Heath, if you were alive, I’d tell you that you were pretty every single day for the rest of our lives. Also, black underwear seals his conviction to go after Kat. I’m thinking this movie maybe does have something to do with my underwear choices.

0:37:10 - And as Patrick tracks Kat to a club featuring No Doubt-lite, he’s wearing pleather pants. Ouch. Yet, Kat warms towards him. Awww.

0:40:20 - OB-GYN dad makes Bianca wear a faux-pregnancy belly before she goes to a party so that she’s aware of the “full consequences of her actions.” Yay, visual gags.

0:43:00 - Obligatory drunken high school party scene. I can’t decide whether to be happy or disappointed that I didn’t go to parties like this in high school.

0:47:20 - Cringe-inducing scene where Kat dances on a table to “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G. She’s also obviously braless here. Hits her head on the chandelier, and is rescued by Patrick. I smell true love! On his way out, Patrick gives a pep-talk to Cameron about staying the course to get Bianca, because otherwise we wouldn’t have a plot.

0:50:20 - Patrick wakes Kat up after she passes out, she comments on the green in his eyes, then pukes at his feet. Hee!

0:51:08 - Just rediscovered that Gabrielle Union’s character is named Chastity. Ha!

0:52:11 - Kat and Patrick commiserate over their shared “scary” status. Then he refuses to kiss drunk Kat (because she’s drunk, and also recently puked) and we have contrivance to keep these two love birds apart #1!

0:53:30 - Awesome speech where Cameron berates Bianca for being selfish and not being straightforward with people. “Just cause you’re beautiful doesn’t mean you can treat people like they don’t matter.” This, of course, gets Bianca all hot and bothered and she totally Frenches Cameron now that he’s demonstrated his ownership of a spine.

0:55:40 - Hey, they’re reading Shakespeare in a Shakespeare adaptation! How totally meta and like, stuff.

0:56:33 - Completely useless scene where Bianca and Cameron make eyes at each other in the hallway transitions to another completely useless scene where Michael hits on Kat’s friend Mandella, who is creepily entranced by Shakespeare. More meta! Also, this scene is supposed to show the audience that Michael is getting info on Kat’s feelings for Patrick from Mandella, but couldn’t Cameron get the same from Bianca?

0:59:37 - Kat rips down her second prom poster and then debates the merits of prom with her friend Mandella. Kat doesn’t want to go to prom. I bet you all that both these girls end up at the prom.

1:01:51 - Confrontation between Patrick and Kat in a bookstore, where he is ostensibly seeking The Feminine Mystique. She gives him the book, but withholds her forgiveness.

1:03:00 — Patrick bribes someone with the $300 that Andrew Keegan gave him to take Bianca to prom. Then walks out onto the bleachers above the field where Kat’s soccer practice is and starts singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” while dancing. The marching band provides accompaniment. The brilliance here is that Ledger commits TOTALLY to this scene. There’s no self-consciousness, self-deprecation or swagger. It’s pure, raw, sexiness. If a man did this for me, I might just marry him on the spot.

1:06:20 - Of course, Patrick ends up in detention for this stunt, and Kat is now attempting to distract the teacher long enough for him to escape. It’s kind of painful, and she ends up flashing the teacher. It’s not the proudest moment in the movie.

1:08:00 - Deep conversation about “Why do you act the way you do.” Kat says she doesn’t like to be what people think she should be, and disappoints them from the start. Patrick says she never disappointed him. Then they go play paint-ball and make out while F.N.T by Semisonic plays. Alternatively romantic!

1:12:00 - Small fight between Kat and Patrick when he pushes the prom issue and she gets suspicious of his motives. Contrivance #2.

1:12:55 - Mandella finds a period dress in her locker with a note from “William S.” attached telling her to meet him at prom. Intriguing! Or not, really, at all.

1:14:15 - “Kissing is not what keeps me up to my elbows in placenta ALL DAY LONG!” Larry Miller must’ve had so much fun with this movie. Especially cause he gets to follow that up with “I’m ‘down,’ I got the ‘411,’ and you’re not getting ‘jiggy’ with some boy, I don’t care how ‘dope’ his ‘ride’ is” Oh, that conversation was about Bianca going to prom, even if Kat wasn’t.

1:15:50 - The conversation between Kat and Bianca in which we learned that Kat dated Joey (Andrew Keegan) when they were both in 9th grade and they had sex. Why this was not mentioned before? We don’t know. Bianca gets mad that Kat never told her this before, and indignant that Kat wanted to protect her from Joey’s influence. Seriously though? How skeevy is it to go after a sister set that deliberately?

1:18:30 - Kat goes to prom in a classic blue drop-waist dress. I win. Also, Bianca then goes to prom with Cameron in a hideous pink tulle skirt and satin shirt combo that also shows her stomach. Yay for late 90’s “fashion”!

1:21:50 - Michael was the one who sent Mandella the dress, and he is similarly period-attired. Awww, dork love!

1:23:50 - Chastity ends up going to prom with Joey, and reveals to Bianca that Joey only dated Bianca because he wanted to nail her. This leads to…

1: 24:23 - Joey drags Patrick away from Kat because he’s pissed that Bianca’s not dating him and says (loudly) that he paid Patrick to take out Kat. Kat obviously overhears and storms out. (Contrivance #3) Joey then confronts Cameron and threatens Cam while calling Bianca a bitch. Joey knocks out Cameron, and then Bianca socks him in the nose TWICE and knees him in the groin. Girl power!

1:26:00 - Patrick states to Kat that he didn’t care about the money, he cared about her. She leaves the prom in a huff after declaring “you are so not who I thought you were.” Bianca looks on sadly.

1:28:30 - Heartfelt conversation between Kat and her father where we find out he sent a check to Sarah Lawrence for her. Yay meaningless subplot resolution! Mysteriously absent mother? Going once, going twice… nope.

1:29:45 - Kat reads a poem in her English class with Patrick listening about how much she hates him and yet doesn’t hate him, and that he made her sad. Then she cries and leaves the classroom while Patrick looks thoughtful.

1:30:55 - Kat walks out to her car to find a new Fender Stratocaster sitting on her car seat. Patrick walks up behind her and teases her about how he had extra money cause “this asshole paid me to take out this really great girl” and “it’s not everyday you’ll find a girl who’ll flash someone to get you out of detention.” They kiss and make up over discussion of possible instruments he can buy her after future fights. Cover of “I Want You to Want Me” plays as the camera circles the high school and our lovebirds in the parking lot.


So, there’s a lot of this movie that could’ve been left on the cutting room floor, but I guess they had to pad it to 90 minutes. Most of the adult roles (Allison Janney, Larry Miller, and Daryl Mitchell) were better than they had any right to be. But I love that both Julia Stiles and Larisa Oleynik (Bianca) look like real girls in this movie. Neither are sticks, they’re not perfectly made up for every scene, and they clothes they wear are not always flattering (see: Bianca’s prom dress). Also, Kat starts the movie as a bitchy, outspoken feminist with frizzy hair and baggy pants and pseudo-hippie style and ends the movie exactly the same way. There’s no make-over for her to be desirable. It’s a fun movie, and I will consider Patrick Verona my first movie love until the day I die. I miss Heath Ledger.

Genny (also Rusty) spent the last four years getting a degree in Music with a minor in English and is now wondering if she should have pursued the trophy wife option. She wastes her time and potential in the farmland of central Maryland and blogs about it at Rusty’s Ventures.

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"But My Five Wits nor My Five Senses Can / Dissuade One Foolish Heart from Serving Thee"

10 Things I Hate About You Real-Time Review/ Genny (also Rusty)

PaEHba Day | November 3, 2008 | Comments ()



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