You're a virgin who can't drive

You know what movie still rocks? Clueless.

I find it rather hard to comprehend that there are current tenth graders the same age as it.

One of my very favorite activities (re: elaborate procrastinations filed under "research") is to revisit alluring films, TV eps, books, and see if they still manage to synch up with the soundtrack of my life. Enough times for me to tepidly call the experiment a success, I've been pleasantly surprised – or, perhaps "smugly cemented" would be a more apt term. This is, of course, not to discount the numerous disappointments and even, in some case, culturally heretical nightmares, but as a glass-half-full kind of gal, I'd like to pay attention to the successes.

A new member to add to the win column, I'm happy to say, is Clueless.

If you emerged into this life betwixt the administrations of Nixon and Reagan, you remember Clueless. You probably loved Clueless. Or you may have shrugged it off as an empty, fruitless fluff piece; representative of an economically prosperous, vaguely Rand-ian era.

If you're like me, chances are Clueless was also contraband. I was only 11 when it was released, and no, my parents wouldn't let me see that. (I also missed out on 90210 and Dawson's Creek. Contraband books, like Clan of the Cave Bear, were a lot easier to hide.) But, as with most banned, pop cultural items, a number of viewings were easily taken in at the more-permissive house of a friend.

I think, being so young, the thing I liked most about Clueless was the fact that it was bright and shiny, with lots of eye-poppingly gorgeous, idealized girl/women – the type of glitzy, glamorous outter shell one always expects to fill in the earliest stages of budding self-awareness. Re-watching the film now, through the eyes of a (somewhat "semi") adult, makes me develop a different type of cinematic crush, based around a charming naivety and cultural snapshot aptitude.

The film's detractors are right, in a way; the characters are vapid, the story line at times contrived, the ending sealed with a marginally incestuous plot twist. These things, draped around the waist of a far-less capable film, would look ridiculous, like a pair of mustard-yellow skinny jeans and an empire-waist top: all wrong on an unflattering figure and skin-tone, unbelievably striking on the right one. And on Clueless, well, they just fit.

Of course, this movie now has something of a retroactive feel; not just for the v-neck sweater wardrobes and killer '90s soundtrack, but also because of the recent, very tragic death of Brittany Murphy. It's rather creepy to watch Tai wax poetic about her near-death experience at the mall, and any movie that includes a memorable character portrayed by an actor who is now deceased automatically takes on something of a dated, stuck-in-time feel. (How much longer before stoned people try synching it up with Celebrity Skin?)

Oh, and I should mention that this film will always have a place in my heart for one very special reason: it's based on Emma, by Jane Austen. I'm named Emma, and was named for the very same book. See what I'm driving at here? No? Whatever.
 

 

 

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