In the late ’90s/early 2000s, Julia Stiles was the QUEEN of modern-day Shakespeare adaptations with O and Hamlet, but the first was an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew called, duh, 10 Things I Hate About You (funny that Andrew Keegan was in two of those also). I was already obsessed with another modern-day re-telling (Clueless), so I was pretty stoked that there was another one for me to get on board with.
I definitely did a scene from The Taming of the Shrew in an acting class later in high school and I was definitely Kate (no one who knows me would be shocked by this, I think she is the epitome of any role I ever played in high school). But what is great about 10 Things I Hate About You is it has every actor from the late 90’s in it. Seriously. I already had the hots for Andrew Keegan (I love that he’s the sleaze who says “you don’t want to die a virgin, do you? In Independence Day) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (I can’t express to you how happy I am that I can still see him in movies as an adult) and was obsessed with Larisa Oleynik so basically it felt like my whole pop culture life was leading up to this moment. Like all cultural milestones of my youth, it inevitably ended up ruining my life. This is how. . .
1. Made My Dad Think He Could Be Even MORE Embarrassing
I mean, I guess I can’t speak for my dad on this but it FELT like to me, he saw this movie and was like “hey, that dad character is pretty hilarious, I better quote his lines from that movie.”
Walter Stratford: Do you know what happens at proms?
Bianca: Yes. We’ll dance, we’ll kiss, we’ll come home. It’s not quite the crisis situation you imagine.
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.
Bianca: Can we, for two seconds, ignore the fact that you’re severely unhinged and discuss my need for a night of teenage normalcy?
Walter Stratford: What’s normal? Those damn Dawson’s River kids sleeping in each other’s beds and what not?
Bianca: Daddy, that is so not…
Walter Stratford: I’ve got news for you. I’m down, I’ve got the 411 and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy, I don’t care how dope his ride is. Mamma didn’t raise no fool.
Most of the time my dad was just saying this last line just to say the line, you know? But like a lot of dads he seemed to be pretty into embarrassing me. I mean, I basically get embarrassed by everything, but I definitely remember some friends being over in middle school and my dad saying “let’s listen to the Sex Pistols!” and I couldn’t run out of the room fast enough.
So maybe my threshold for embarrassment was lower than most…
2. I’m Obsessed With Paintball Because of This Movie
I mean, duh, Heath Ledger is awesome in this movie but then he takes Kat to a paintball/playful make-out session after she flashes her soccer coach to get him out of detention and he enters a new realm of awesome.
I know this is some kind of weird paintball where you’re just throwing little balls of paint but it still looks pretty fun. It’s just one of those like perfect teen date things that I always dreamed of doing, like mini-golf in that one episode of Dawson’s Creek.
I’ve actually still to this day never played paintball but I have played laser tag. Which is paintball’s lamer cousin but at least still makes your hair gets cool colors in it.
My first boyfriend once famously left me in his car while he and our friend (we had all gone to an amusement park together) played laser tag. I read “All in the Timing” by David Ives in the car while hating him and being annoyed that my socks were wet (from a rain storm we got caught in) and that no one seemed to care about my well-being. Sigh, boys.
3. Still Waiting to Be Invited to a High School House Party With a Flyer
Yes, I understand Bogey’s original party was JUST for Future MBA’s but still no one at the school is like “weird, why is there a flyer announcing free beer being thrown around in the stairwell?”
Movies just make high school parties seem SO cool. Mostly, any party I heard about in high school was like, “oh, so-and-so’s parents are out of town and my older cousin can buy some wine coolers”. But they have a full on PARTY at Bogey’s place and everyone showed up. See also: Mean Girls, Clueless, etc
Also, where’s my Prom with a live band?
4. Made Us All Make the Joke About Being “Whelmed”
There are some pretty great jokes in this movie and two always stick with me. Firstly this exchange between Gabrielle Union and Larisa Olyenik’s characters:
Chastity: I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?
Bianca: I think you can in Europe.
And then Bianca’s exchange with Joey about his headshots:
Joey: Which one do you like better?
Bianca: Umm, I think I like the white shirt better.
Joey: Yeah, it’s-it’s more…
Joey: Damn, I was going for thoughtful.
I definitely still think about just being whelmed about things and I always make the pensive joke about any similar photos of…anyone. These two things coupled with the dad’s speech make this movie last in my mind.
5. Convinced Me Of the Obsession With Bad Boys
I can’t say I’ve ever been into “bad boys.” I’ve always sort of had a Bart Simpson approach to bad boys: “What do you like about him? He’s just a good-looking rebel who plays by his own rules.”
But Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona changed that for me. Suddenly, I TOTALLY understood the desire for a bad boy. I mean, the closest I got to a “bad boy” was dating a kind of stoner dude with great hair who played sax and wore tie dye. So…maybe I missed the mark on that one.
But if this guy had been in my high school, I would have been all about him. He has great lines: “maybe you’re not afraid of me. But you’ve definitely thought about me naked.” He sings and dances to Kat at school and he’s got a LOT of mystique.
I mean, all of this is intensely aided by Heath Ledger’s performance (I’m still upset about his death) and after this movie I went on to be obsessed with both his performances and his real-life relationship with Michelle Williams. As I mentioned in my Oscar post they, in real life, just killed me. I had the Rolling Stone he was on and found it hidden in my desk shortly after he died and just lost my mind. A friend emailed me to tell me about Heath Ledger’s death right after news broke, as I was waiting to go into a job interview…I did not get that job.
Also, my biggest secret? I actually REALLY enjoyed Bianca’s Prom dress in this movie but luckily never opted for the two-piece Prom dress myself.