OK, yes, look—let’s get it out of the way, while She’s All That is a fun, charming movie it’s not as fun and charming as 10 Things I Hate About You. As a 14-year old teenage girl when these movies came out, they were cherished and beloved, and I’ve seen each probably dozens of times. While the late ’90s and early ’00s were a terrible time for teen fashion, they were a great time for teen movies so I was delighted when the Huffington Post released their oral history of She’s All That today, which is honestly the perfect movie to clean your home to on a Saturday afternoon, and that’s high praise indeed.
While the piece covers a bit of the background and production of the film, including the glossing over of the Weinstein brother’s involvement (their company, Miramax released it), the piece focuses mainly on the dance scene, set to the ‘Rockafeller Skank,’ towards the end of the movie.
Which, yeah, it does seem a little out of place in retrospect, although it seems much less so when you realize (via the oral history) that it was basically the director’s audition to try to direct Chicago (Narrator voice: he did not get the job.)
[Andrew Shankman, choreographer]: I kept trying to understand [the dance scene] because I was concerned that, tonally, it wouldn’t match into the rest of the movie. Rob has a musical background, and he was really committed to this idea, and so I was just like, “Listen, I’ll do the best I can, and you’ll have to figure it out.”
[Robert Iscove (director)]: Looking at the script, if you take the dance number out of the prom scene, which is pretty much the climax of the movie — Is she going to be prom queen or is she not going to be prom queen? — it is very short. So, I wanted to expand it and give it more screen time. Also, I wanted to show Bob and Harvey, “This is what you can do with dance on film,” because Bob, especially, didn’t understand musical numbers or how they could work in films at all.
I mean, it kind of makes sense now, right? Probably not, but at 14 I thought it looked cool, so mission accomplished!
The real take away here is that for people of a certain age, the defining pop culture of our youth is now old enough to dip back into with oral histories and retrospectives. Which makes sense, because She’s All That was released 20 years ago today yet it still feels like yesterday I roped my mom into taking me.
Well, that’s it, I’m done for the day. The whole piece is well worth your time, but if you’re feeling nostalgic after that, you can do what I’m doing tonight: watching it in a double bill with Can’t Hardly Wait, because between the two movies, basically every actor of a certain age in Hollywood is in one or the other.
Header Image Source: Miramax