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In the annals of classic High School Movies, Amy Heckerling’s 1995 comedy Clueless stands up among the very best. Adapted from Jane Austen’s classic novel Emma, the film takes a refreshingly cheerful look at the teenage experience, compared to the cynical darkness of Heathers and emo histrionics of The Breakfast Club. Cher Horowitz (a pitch-perfect Alicia Silverstone) doesn’t really have any problems – she’s rich, beautiful and seems to be widely popular among her peers. In most movies, she’d be the villain.
Yet Clueless doesn’t just present Cher as intelligent and adjusted, it also refuses to judge her for being primarily interested in shopping and fashion. Instead of forcing her into a redemptive arc in which she embraces loftier interests, it’s her Kafka-reading love interest (Paul Rudd) who’s forced to change his views after dismissing her as a ditz.
Without much in the way of actual drama or even conflict – one way harsh read from Brittany Murphy’s Tai notwithstanding – Clueless succeeds largely on the sunny charm of the cast and the note-perfect, endlessly quotable script. Oh and the Plaid. So. Much. Plaid.
Over twenty years on, the goodwill towards Clueless remains undiminished. If anything, its influence is more keenly felt than ever. So the audience is definitely there for a sequel.. and if anyone could nail a High School Reunion movie, it’s Amy Heckerling.
On the off-chance that she isn’t available, we spent this episode pitching our own Clueless sequel ideas – with a little help from returning guest Louise Ball. Tune in to hear our thoughts on dangerous driving, Tai’s questionable past and why we’re pretty sure one character went on to become a serial killer…
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Next week, we’re exploring the world of adult movie making with an Oscar-decorated ode to the 70s porn industry. Until then, happy listening and stay off the freeway!