Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: ‘She's All That' Anne T. Donahue

I have bombarded you with sports films. I truly have. For three weeks, you have put up with dancing and surfing and four million costume changes, and what have I done? I have used these dancing and surfing films to escape into a fantasy land that sees me playing the Dirty Dancing soundtrack on repeat while I convince myself that DAMN IT, I could still totally play Baby in a remake. (Maybe also Kate Bosworth.) (And I couldn’t. And I can’t.)

So it’s time to get down to business. And while Tuesday was Valentine’s Day and today is, well, not, it’s important to return to our bad (great) teen rom-com roots. So I bring you this: She’s All That. Because she is, and it is and Freddie Prinze Jr. is, too.

I mean, without a bet and a terrible misunderstanding (or actual complete understanding), we have nothing (if we’re talking movies made in 1999). And it may be bad, and the soundtrack may not be great (KIDDING IT IS THE BEST), and Laney Boggs and I might have the same bathing suit but SO WHAT. It’s Old Lady Movie Night. And you know who makes the rules? We do. Because we’re our own bosses. And this week, these bosses are going to watch an already super-cool girl be told she’s not cool only to realize that she’s always been cool and that she will be cool forever more.

Shout-out to her felafel hat.

1) This movie starts with the same song that plays when Rachel Bilson and Zach Braff hook up in that movie that isn’t Garden State

THE MORE YOU KNOW.

2) Did Freddie Prinze Jr. actually go out and get a personalized license plate?

Okay, so Freddie Prinze Jr. plays the high school president, and that is all very well and good, and congratulations, Freddie Prinze Jr., I’m sure you worked hard, but you are the high school president. And usually, that lasts about 10 months MAYBE, depending on how elections go. So it makes complete sense, then, that he paid a couple hundred dollars to get a personalized license plate for this very short period in his life. (Unless he got it before, and in that case, he is just cocky.) (Duh.)

3) There are no personalized parking spots in high school

I mean, I’m not wrong, am I? At my high school, there was teacher parking, and there was student parking, and if you felt daring, you parked in the former and ran to your car after school so that nobody would catch on. (Unless you were my friend, whose van actually blew up next to the vice principal’s car, but that’s a story for another day and trust me, YOU WANNA HEAR THAT ONE.)

3) Kieran Culkin plays Simon?!?!

I literally just found that tidbit out RIGHT NOW, and my brain is no longer in my skull because it actually just exploded everywhere. (Okay, that was incredibly disgusting for me to say, and I promise you that is the last time I will ever say that. BUT SERIOUSLY, right?)

4) Everyone looks at least mid-to-late 20s 

See, it’s funny because Simon gets picked on for being “little,” but in reality, he is just what real high school students look like. Meanwhile, Taylor and Freddie Prinze Jr. are obviously about to celebrate the big 3-0 and look older than college students, and I am 26, and I don’t even look like that. The reason they all pick on Simon is because they have failed high school 14 times.

5) Misty the Clown Girl is SO WEIRD

And listen, we are all weird. We all are, really. No one is not weird in the world. But you know how the weird girls in movies tend to just be actual girls? (Who we would all see in real life and say, “What a normal, well-adjusted person!”) No, Misty the Clown Girl and her friend are actually, weird/weird. Not in the Hanson sense of the word. God, not even in the “eccentric” sense of the word. Like, “everyone found out they killed a bunch of people” kind of “weird.” And then they tell Lani (Laney?) to kill herself. Upon graduation, the rest of the class probably all realized that the two of them were on meth. (And still are today.)

6) What kind of a name is Brock Hudson?

I mean, Freddie Prinze Jr. has a point, let’s all just be serious right now.

7) Lani is an artist because she wears glasses

That’s how we know, guys. Because she wears glasses and her hair is in a bun, and we saw her painting to the song from the Zach Braff movie. Also, she just said “darkness rocks,” which makes me think that she is very, very, very serious about art.

8 ) Does Usher not go to school?

Or maybe what we should actually be asking ourselves is if he is a student. He seems to be doing shifts in the DJ booth, and if high school radio has taught me anything, it’s that it doesn’t actually exist. (At least not in the Ontario public school system.) So this makes me think that he is actually just a very nice older gentleman (retiree?) that the school board took pity on and said, “Sure, we’ll give you a radio program. Just please stop trying to incorporate yourself into the students’ lives.” Which he did not listen to.

9) LANEY BOGGS IS ACTUALLY PRETTY WHY DOES NO ONE AT HER SCHOOL SEE THAT

First, I am going to spell Laney’s name differently about 46 times, so bear with me. Second, SHE IS GORGEOUS. She is actually pretty! Rachel Leigh Cook is a knock-out! And can we be honest? She was about one million times prettier when she was rocking the glasses and the overalls and the same bathing suit I actually own. That bone structure, right? Her tiny face! Yeah, I’m sure it was REAL DIFFICULT to make her look pretty, Paul Walker’s character. Go race cars furiously.

10) The misogyny, oh MY GOD the misogyny

It’s amazing that (SPOILER ALERT), Laney makes Paul Walker go deaf, and Freddie Prinze Jr. “learns his lesson,” but when they’re all pointing to the girls in the school and objectifying them in the worst way, GUYS, I feel so bad and grossed out. And then he chooses Paul Walker because she fell? WHAT?

11) This is exactly like 10 Things I Hate About You

But not nearly as good, DARE I SAY IT. I know! I know. This movie is also an institution of our teenage years (and I love it always and forever), but 10 Things I Hate About You had feminism and had Heath Ledger being a really dope guy, and Julia Stiles DIDN’T CHANGE. Heath Ledger just loved how badass she was. And it took Rachel Leigh Cook walking down the stairs not wearing her glasses to “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer to make the “loveable jock” clue in. (Also, they probably wouldn’t have lasted into college, let’s be serious.)

12) Oh wait, he is actually smart

Okay, so he is actually smart, so maybe they would last. Oh, they totally would, actually. I take back the aforementioned cynicism. I TAKE IT BACK.

13) I feel a little bit sorry for Taylor

I am at the part of the movie where she goes on about how being prom queen is a family legacy, and how her mom was a prom queen and her aunt and her sister was supposed to be, and yiiiiiikes. Because we have a conclusion: she went on to work at a highway diner between L.A. and Las Vegas shortly after flunking out of college, and is still waiting to be discovered by an agent despite never having seen one.

14) ART!

A guy walks into an art theatre, and the bartender doesn’t say anything because there aren’t any bartenders at these kind of serious art theatres, guys! Come on! This is “serious.” This puts the giant production in the middle of RENT to shame. This is the big time. This is what real artists do! ART!

15) HACK. Y. SACK.

That is the worst “poem” I have ever heard in my life. I really don’t mean to be judgemental here (LOL), but can we all please agree that if the guy you kind of liked got up on stage and started almost crying about batting his HACK. Y. SACK, you would end the relationship before it even began. My best pal and I were talking about this on Sunday. The real deal breaker is the ending when he says, “Sooner or later . . . it has to drop.” Or the performance in general. (Also, why is he panting?)

16) Simon rules

“Zack, my man! Wanna play some SEGA? SEG-A!” Goodness gracious, Simon Boggs, you really are the king of kings.

16) b) Anna Paquin also rules

I don’t care to learn her character’s name because she is and will always be Anna Paquin, so three cheers for Anna Paquin, MAJOR BADASS in this movie.

16) c) But Preston rules the most

He just DOESN’T GIVE ONE SINGLE EFF, you know? Just the coolest guy for real. Probably an awesome business man and/or comedian now. I wonder if he wants to be best friends.

17)  I would lose my mind if some guy who was trying to date me made me over for some party

Am I right? Like, he holds up this slinky red dress, and then he gets his sister to put makeup on me and tweeze my eyebrows, and I would just be like, “EXCUSE ME WHAT.” Someone needs a lesson from the Julia Stiles school of hard knocks: “You don’t always have to be who they want you to be, you know.” And then they would all listen to Letters To Cleo and Freddie Prinze Jr. wouldn’t take her to the party, he would actually take her to a really cool diner and they would just talk about their favourite things and how lame Taylor is and how university is going to be a blast.

Also, I would definitely never talk to a guy who had MADE A BET that he could make me “prom queen.” Imagine?

“How did you meet?”

“He thought I was a freak and tried to make me popular!”

You tell ‘em, Laney Boggs:

18) “GIVE IT TO ME BABY”

It has been over ten years since we watched the Real World man dance to that song around the living room to this classic hit, and I still think about it every time.

19) Guys, when she falls, I don’t like it

So you know when Laney Bogg runs out of the party after being basically assaulted by Taylor and then she falls on the ground? I kind of wish that part didn’t happen because when you are 13, it takes away from the emotion of the situation and you kind of laugh …? Am I wrong? I am just saying that I wish she had stormed out and thrown her purse and then pulled a Carrie of the movie Carrie. (But instead of killing people, she just rose above them in life and succeeded far beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.) (So basically nothing like the movie Carrie at all.)

20) And then Freddie Prinze Jr. loses the soccer game and the world falls apart

Like, was it a championship? What were they competing for? And then they fight shirtless in the locker room. And no one knows why Paul Walker’s character is so angry. (Read: because he hates himself.)

21) I don’t think you can campaign for prom queen

Isn’t it just something that happens? I think there were pieces of paper left at prom, but nobody a) cared and b) actually took the time to really vote. And certainly nobody campaigned. Could you imagine? Or is it just different in the States? If it is, just ignore this paragraph and move on with your lives. If it is not, then imagine people actually campaigned to be prom queen? Can you even put that on an application and/or resume?

Applicant: “I was prom queen.”

Company CEO: “Okay, but do you know HTML?”

22) “I believe next to your name it said ‘undecided.’”

In WHAT WORLD are lists of who’s going to which college published and posted in counsellor’s offices? Isn’t that an extreme violation of privacy? What high school is this? Where are we? What’s happening right now? IS THIS ACTUALLY JUST THE REAL WORLD. (Oh my God, it is.)

23) Poor Little Rich Boy, AM I RIGHT?

Okay, so having money and oppressive parents don’t help anything, but if you could go to any university in the world, why wouldn’t you just go to a really good one? Like, BOO HOO you don’t want to go to DARTMOUTH. Take a breath, Freddie Prinze Jr. You drive a Jeep and you have enough money to buy a personalized license plate for eight months, and you are good-looking and you are popular, and your Dad is pressuring you to go to a beautiful ivy league school where you will obviously succeed. It must be reaaaaaallllyyyyy hard being you, Freddie Prinze Jr. God forbid you go to YALE.

24) I hate the scene with the pizza and the eating of it

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I even hated it when I was 13. I STILL HATE IT. Ugh ugh ugh GROSS. Nope. No. I hate it. HATE. IT. HATE IT SO MUCH.

25) a) Imagine Laney Boggs’ disappointment when she walks upstairs, is promised a handsome prom date and it’s Paul Walker

That is not to say he is not handsome. He has iced tips, which in 1999 makes him very, very babely and “fine.” Also, in real life, he is handsome. But in this movie, guess who she wished she was seeing: FREDDIE PRINZE JR. Who is taking his sister. Who becomes Laney’s best friend, obviously, because this movie belongs to all of us and we create our own adventures.

25) b) FATBOY SLIM

But you know what doesn’t matter? That we missed the part of the movie where each character learned these extravagant dance moves. And like magic, on prom night, Fatboy Slim began and we were treated to the greatest dance sequence since Jodie Sawyer changed costumes 43 times on stage. Guys on the left! Women on the right! More like RIGHT-A-BOUT-NOW-FUNK’S-YOUR-BROTHER!

HAPPY PROM, YOU FABULOUS 30-YEAR-oLDS!

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  1. In the college library at the moment and can’t stop laughing reading this! I watched this movie for about the tenth a few months ago and all i have to say is i fast forwarded the pizza scene yet again. I thought that being so much more mature and having experienced a thing or two that i could handle watching that scene without hitting the fast forward button..but no.. it makes me shudder just thinking about it.. no matter how mature you are, pubes on pizza is just gross.

  2. this is why at the end of prom you felt cheated wow the world has lied to me there were no prom king or queens or choreographed dance moves
    it’s always bothered me that paul walker looks bloated in this entire movie

  3. My high school actually DID have assigned parking spaces for seniors (we had to pay for them because there weren’t enough for every student. Rip off, I know). Also, regarding #22, we also had a list posted outside the main office where each senior had chosen to go to college and who was undecided, etc. And you’re right, now that I think about it it was kind of a violation of privacy…but at the same time this was before Facebook became a big deal and it was an efficient way of finding out where everyone was going (slash what jerk took your spot at your first choice college and got you wait-listed. I STILL REMEMBER.)

  4. The whole ‘she had to change to make him like her’ is the reason my Mum hates Grease. Olivia Newton-John’s character has to start wearing leather (vinyl?) skin tight outfits to get a happy ending in that movie. I hate that movie because the car inexplicably flies (Why?????)

    But I loved this movie when I was 14 so thanks for helping me to relive it! Random trivia fact: The high school was the same one used for Buffy, hence why Sarah Michelle Gellar has a cameo in a cafeteria scene.

  5. God forbid you go to YALE. – I lol’d. :D

  6. My soul is an island, my car is a ford. My friends and I love that one.

  7. Ha! I love this movie. Had no idea Kieran Culkin was Simon!?!? And forgot that Anna Paquin was in it! My soul is an island, my car is a Ford.

  8. I need to find this DVD now! This made me laugh so much, written brilliantly
    xx

  9. Dule Hill! That’s awesome, I haven’t seen this since I realized who he was so I never would have made that connection!

  10. 1. what WAS clown girl’s problem?!
    2. where is freddie prinze jr lately?
    3. my high school prom was on a river boat and it was cold/crowded. not awesome like this prom at all.

  11. Oh wow, I was sixteen when this came out and all I remember thinking about this movie was, “When did the entire school have time to learn a choreographed prom dance?”.

  12. That dance scene was one of my favorites! I even tried to copy it in my bedroom lol

  13. HIGHlarious…I think Im in trouble at work for laughing out loud! Bravo! :)

  14. My high school put a list of where everyone was going to college/doing after high school in our school newspaper senior year.

  15. hack y. sack. hack y. sack.= ART

  16. I watch this movie several times a year. I can’t believe I’ve forgotten the vast amount of detail in the Freddie storyline! it’s a masterpiece.

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