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.
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!