This is a new feature I'm bringing out. I felt that the new site didn't give us enough of a chance to talk about movies we liked that are not recent. I've been rewatching lots of my DVDs lately and was particularly drawn to how much I liked some of them and wanted to share. So from time to time we'll write about an out of the way movie we saw again and really liked. While it's hard to review your favorite movies, these will be short and sweet, and just point out some of the things that make them favorites.
came out in 1999 and starred a bunch of popular young stars in the modern retelling of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew". The basic plot, a man (Larry Miller) has two daughters, Kate (Julia Stiles) and Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). He is afraid of them dating boys, but luckily Kate is such a bitch (a modern word for shrew) she has no interest in dating. So the house rule is that Bianca can date when Kate dates. In the Shakespearean version, older sister Kate must marry before younger Bianca is allowed to. This creates some interesting manipulations by the guys who want to date Bianca, particularly Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Joey (Andrew Keegan). Cameron and his buddy Michael (David Krumholtz) get Joey to pay another guy Patrick (Heath Ledger, accent and all!) to date Kate, with the hopes they'll be able to date Bianca. Of course Patrick and Kate fall for each other, but she finds out he was paid, and things go to hell.
The story doesn't vary much from the Shakespeare, except that it takes place in high school in Seattle. And the characters have ridiculous and hilarious quirks. The guidance counselor, Ms. Perky (Allison Janney) writes adult romance novels in her free time. Bianca is vapid, but can explain her shallowness ("I LIKE my Sketchers, but I LOVE my Prada backpack"). Watching Michael explain the standard high school cliques to new student Cameron is hysterical (he lost his place as head of the Ivy league bound students because they found out he bought his Izods at a discount). The overall quality of the cast's acting, the fast and furious dialogue and links to the Shakespeare (Patrick's last name is Verona, they go to Padua High School, Cameron's line, "I burn, I pine, I perish" when talking about Bianca) make it much smarter and funnier than a high school rom-com has any right to be. Check it out and tell me who your favorite character is - and I'll be you'll be able to quote lines from memory after one viewing, it's that great. Oh, and Heath Ledger sings, dances and channels Charlie Chaplin. What could be better?