Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Clueless

Film #499

THE PLOT

A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil’s popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way.

THE REVIEW: One of the classes I’m taking for my final semester of college focuses on our consumption of media and how it has changed over the years as technology has grown more prevalent in our society. That’s all cool and I’m sure to learn some interesting things along the way, but the more exciting part is we get to watch a movie every week. Clueless kicked things off a few days ago and I must say it was a great movie to start with.

Since its release in 1995, Clueless has become a cult classic and was the inspiration for the music video of “Fancy”. It’s a film that many people my age have seen, but I for some reason, never saw it until now. Much like Mean Girls (which I also didn’t see until the summer before college), Clueless is very quotable. It’s the epitome of what makes a great comedy because it’s not just filled with easy jokes or the slapstick you find in comedies like Let’s Be Cops or Neighbors. Both those comedies had their laughs, and I enjoyed both, but they don’t compare to Clueless. This is a film that I will now continually reference for years to come because it’s so spot on with its writing that, despite being set in the ‘90s, maintains relevance well into the 21st century.

Even the story, which was adapted from Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma, is updated to match the times and in doing so brings out some universal ideas that transcend the decades. Ideas like kindness, generosity, and love as well as selfishness, jealousy, and competition will never grow old and can be used to tell stories of all kinds. The story and structure of Clueless incorporates these well to tell one cohesive narrative. While some parts can feel a bit choppy or out of place — one example being the transition from Cher (Alicia Silverstone) negotiating higher grades to her and Dionne (Stacey Dash) giving the new girl Tai (Brittany Murphy) a makeover — overall, it leaves you with very few of those moments.

THE TAKEAWAY: Clueless is one of those films that will forever live in the public conscious thanks to it’s incredible ability to speak across the generations. The dialogue in this film is so spot on an full of witty one-liners and deadpan delivery that gives it an “of course” meaning. “Why learn to park when every place you go to has valet?” “If anything happens to her, I got a .45 and a shovel. I don’t think you’ll be missed.” And of course, one of the funniest lines from Cher herself, “Searching for a boy in high school is like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.” It’s not the perfect classic film, but it’s damn near close to one that can be watched for almost any occasion.

THE RATING: 4 out of 5