What a movie to kick off with! A classic of 90s teen rom-coms, the likes of which you don’t see in this crass and cynical century! Can you believe that we (because I assume you are exactly the same age and general demographic as me because I am self-centered and myopic) once lived in a time where a popular movie opened with the song “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies and it wasn’t meant to be ironic? Youth! Innocence!
I honestly have no worldly idea how I’m going to structure these writeups going forward but guess what? You can deal! For this, my inaugural post, I will list 10 things this rewatch made me think about.
10. Allison Janney is of course great, but her character is fucking weird. Girlfriend reads her own porn out loud to herself in her office with the door open while schoolchildren stand about five feet away. I do like to imagine that her character eventually got so frustrated with her erotic novel that she decided to spend some time writing Friends fan fiction instead (Chandler/Joey, obvs) and eventually had it published to worldwide acclaim, a la 50 Shades of Grey Lady but without all of the romanticizing of abusive relationships and more carnal usage of sandwich meats.
9. You know that random bemohawked friend of Patrick’s who is in the background of a bunch of scenes but has no lines and only exists to make Patrick look more like a rebel? Yeah, that guy is clearly like 35.
8. Patrick’s outrage when Cameron suggests that Kat’s preference for “pretty guys” might be a problem seemed like such a knee-slapper to me back in the day but tbh, old and wise student of human nature that I am, I finally realize that yes, of COURSE that wannabe-badass shithead was obsessed with his looks.
7. The detention scene is mostly remembered for the part in which Kat flashes her teacher to help Patrick escape out the window, but to me the key element of this scene is the stoner kid who looks so painfully 90s and more specifically so painfully like my middle school crush Billy. I wonder what happened to Billy? And why he went by Billy when he was trying so hard to be a badass? Hey Billy, if you’re reading this, sorry I asked you if you had genital herpes that one time in the cafeteria but in my defense my friends thought it was really funny.
6. Kat is legit as an anti-establishment girl-rock loving 90s teen not because of throwaway lines about Bikini Kill and The Raincoats but because of the Juliana Hatfield poster in her bedroom.
Juliana Hatfield, love is forever fan love you!
5. With all due respect to the dreamy romance between Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, I’m pretty sure there was at least one draft of the screenplay in which Kat and her Shakespeare-obsessed friend (aka Melissa Joan Hart’s boyfriend-stealing best friend from Drive Me Crazy aka the best student at ballerina school in Center Stage) were in love and I want to see that version.
And speaking of Kat and Patrick’s relationship, I think I finally realized why I believed in their love so much even though Patrick is pretty much a creep for most of the movie: she started falling for him because she thought he liked all the same bands as she did. I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to stop thinking that was the recipe for true love.
4. I was reallyyyyy innocent and sheltered I was when I first saw this movie. For example, you may recall a scene in which David Krumholtz’s character approaches Andrew Keegan in the cafeteria to try to ensnare him into his convoluted dating trapezoid and the Keegs draws male genitalia on his face. I recall staring at the crude illustration quizzically, thinking “what is the part on the right, buttcheeks?”
3. At one point Kat calls Patrick “screwboy” and now I’m wondering if the concept of a “fuckboy” was around back then and this was just the PG-13 version or if Kat was just a prophetess.
2. David Krumholtz mentions at one point that he was ostracized from the bizarre clique of… pretentious nerds who want to go to business school (?) because of a rumor that he bought his Izods at an outlet mall. At the time I tried to figure out what Izods were from context clues and assumed they were something computer related. Fast forward to one day when I was in my early 20s and went digging through the boxes of stuff my landlord had left on the porch that adjoined my bedroom when he first put the party house I lived in at the time up for rent like 10 years earlier and found a treasure trove of Ralph Lauren sweaters and Izods. Finally everything clicked. Thank you, shitty landlord who all my roommates thought was hot but who I thought was an average-looking dumbass, for helping me to finally understand this weird joke!
1. In my youth (before my heart shriveled into a cold and bitter raisin), the paintball scene in which Kat and Patrick throw shit at each other and then make out in a pile of hay seemed like the most romantic scene in the world and I just wanted a cute boy with long hair to kiss me in a haystack. It never happened 😦