Why Amy Heckerling's Clueless never gets old, even 20 years later
It’s hard to believe, but Clueless is not a teenager anymore. I was only 3 years old when Amy Heckerling’s perfect movie graced the big screen. But when I finally saw it on TV, I fell in love, and not just because of Paul Rudd (which is a good enough reason on its own). I fell in love with the smart storytelling, with the layered characters, and with the heart that tied the whole thing together.
Cher represented the female teenage psyche; the dichotomy between wanting to be a good person but lacking the ability to see beyond your own problems. The film expected its audience to be smart. It didn’t talk down to them. So, in honor of Clueless’s 20th birthday, here are just a few reasons why the film never gets old.
Amy Heckerling’s characters are original.
From the opening line of the script, Cher is unique. She’s not your stereotypical teenage heroine, begging for a man to save her. She’s filled with contradictions. She’s popular and likes it. She wants to be a good person, but is completely self-obsessed. She cares about what she wears, but is also intensely focused on helping others. She is unlike any other teen character in film I’ve ever seen.
The film is completely female driven.
Written, directed and starring a woman….we don’t see that too often. This movie is truly from the female perspective and its completely refreshing, even 20 years later. She didn’t have the easiest time getting this movie made. Thus, we should all bow down to the god that is Amy Heckerling! Can you imagine life without Clueless? I wouldn’t want to live in that world.
It epitomized the awesome ’90s Soundtrack.
Kids in America, All the Young Dudes, Supermodel, Shake Some Action. Since Clueless came out halfway through the 90s, its soundtrack truly reflects what people were listening to at the time. If you need help being convinced, just listen to the lyrics of Supermodel: “I wish I was like Tori Spelling, with a car like hers…” Ah the ’90s, guys!
It has a killer cast.
A movie standing the test of time usually has something to do with the actors. After all, without good actors, what are good words? Alicia Silverstone (a.k.a Cher) was practically brand new to acting when she starred in Clueless. Her likability makes Cher, a girl who could have just come off as a vapid valley girl, relatable. Brittany Murphy was sweet and quirky as Tai, the awkward girl with the thick New York accent. Stacey Dash and Donald Faison were perfect as Dionne and Murray, providing a good portion of the film’s comic relief. In addition, Wallace Shawn and Twink Caplan are hilarious as two of the film’s high school teachers. Last, but certainly not least, we need to talk about Paul Rudd. Josh might just be every teenage girl’s dream guy, or pretty close.
It’s Lingo is Legendary.
“As if!” “Totally buggin'” “I’m audi!” Just like J.K. Rowling created a world with its own language in the Harry Potter series, Amy Heckerling created her own lingo for Clueless. Children years from now will watch the movie and wonder if ’90s teenagers actually said this stuff? Answer: Totally. . .after we saw the movie.
Old Technology doesn’t matter.
Yes, Clueless was made in a time without the cell phone and (can you believe it?) without the Internet. However, its lack of current technology doesn’t make the characters or story any less relatable. All you have to do is substitute in the new technology and it totally makes sense. Besides, I can’t wait for my children to ask me what a pager is (which is technically before my time). What does make me angry: I want Cher’s virtual fashion designer. As far as I know, that still doesn’t exist and that is simply unacceptable. App creators, get on it!
Clueless may not be a teenager anymore, but she will always be young at heart.
I can’t imagine teenagers will ever stop watching this classic, especially with Amy Heckerling’s recent announcement that Clueless is becoming a musical! The film is just as laugh-out-loud funny and heartfelt as it ever was. Clueless, enjoy your 20s!