REVIEW: “10 Things I Hate About You”

10 things poster

It’s rare to find a teen comedy that’s not only fun but smart. Most squander any potential they have by embracing every dopey cliche and incorporating every overused gag. “10 Things I Hate About You” is an interesting case. It definitely has its fair share of cliches and many of the character types have been used several times over. But at the same time the film is clever and infectiously charming. It’s such a likable movie and even after recently revisiting it after a few years I found myself once again having a great time with it.

Gil Junger directed this modern twist on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”. Junger never directed much other than sitcoms and that’s a little surprising. He manages this film well and keeps things moving at a nice pace. He was also blessed with a talented young cast. “10 Things I Hate About You” was the launching pad for the careers of Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. These three drive the main story which is sometimes a bit formulaic but it never ceases to be entertaining.

Things1

Stiles plays the antisocial feminist outcast Kat. She’s constantly at odds with her popular sophomore socialite younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). Levitt plays Cameron, a new student in their school who is smitten with Bianca at first sight. Ledger plays another outcast who pretty much operates by his own rules. We also get a pompous jerk of a jock, a geek without a clue, and an overprotective but well-meaning father. Most of these are characters that we’ve seen in many other movies. You can’t help but notice it. Yet even with that and a few plot points that will feel very familiar, “10 Things” quickly attaches you to these characters and its hard not to care for them.

The movie has its fun moments and there are some interesting relationships at work. But it also deals truthfully with several real teen issues that I still respond too. The script dances through all of these things and rarely does a disservice to any of them. There are times where things just get silly and a bit absurd. A particular school detention scene and another one taking place in Kat’s literature class instantly comes to mind. These feel lame and fabricated and in some ways clash with the movie’s better moments. But these weaker lazy moments don’t define the film as a whole.

 

THINGS2And getting back to the performances, it doesn’t take you long to notice that Heath Ledger was a special actor. He was always known to bring an authenticity to every role and we definitely see it here. Even in the few occasions where the script trips up, Ledger never lets the scene go to waste. It is such a spirited and strong performance. I also liked Stiles here, an actress who I have always felt was generally underrated. Her character is a bit obvious but she has such a good chemistry with Ledger. And Gordon-Levitt is also a lot of fun. At first I thought I knew exactly what type of stereotypical character he was going to portray but he turned out considerably different.

“10 Things I Hate About You” is what’s called a teen comedy and that title alone deservedly gives you reason to pause. But while it may appear to be the traditional nonsense that we often get, it is actually a lot more. The characters, their personalities, and their situations are convincing and interesting. And even though we get occasional breezes of routine storylines, the film manages to do things a bit different and it never feels conventional. That’s why the movie always works for me regardless of how many times I have seen it.

VERDICT – 4 STARS

5 PHENOMENAL MOVIE FOOT CHASES

As an action movie fan I love a good chase regardless of the kind – motorcycle, car, or even on foot. It may surprise you just how many great foot chases there have been in movie history. And as technology has gotten better, particularly with new cameras and methods of shooting action scenes, movies have been able to create some incredible foot chases. So I decided to give some love to 5 great movie foot chases. I left out a few that certainly deserve mention, but these 5 were impossible for me to leave out. So, here they are. Now as usual, I wouldn’t dare call this the definitive list. But there’s no denying that these 5 movie foot chases are absolutely phenomenal.

#5 – “FAST FIVE”

“Fast Five”

The “Fast and Furious” series has made it’s reputation on fast cars and some ridiculously wild car chases. Who would have thought that one of the coolest scenes in 2011’s “Fast Five” would have been a foot chase? After meeting back up at Dom’s safe house in Rio de Janeiro, Dom, Brian, and Mia find themselves boxed in by the armed thugs of a local crime lord on one side and Special Agent Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his men on the other. The three take off on a foot chase through the cramped, densely populated, hillside streets – running through tight alleys and jumping from rooftop to rooftop – with a host of pursuers hot on their tail. It’s a tremendous, high-octane sequence with some incredible camera work. I love this scene.

#4 – “POINT BREAK

“Point Break”

In what was one part free-spirited surfer movie and one part gritty heist film, “Point Break” was a popular action romp from director Kathryn Bigelow. Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) is the ring leader of a group of surfer bank robbers and FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) has infiltrated their ranks. As Utah gets closer to making the arrest, the “Ex-Presidents” – the name they go by due to the rubber masks of past presidents that they wear – pull off a heist. Utah arrives as they are leaving and bodhi is forced to take off on foot. Utah chases him into a neighborhood, over fences, through backyards and living rooms, and finally down a ravine where Utah hurts his knee and Bodhi gets away. It a furious chase with tight, close quarter camera work and even a touch of subtle humor. “Point Break” has a lot of memorable scenes, few better than the foot chase.

#3 – “THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM

“The Bourne Ultimatum”

The third film of the Jason Bourne series featured the same intense, spy thriller action and around the world globetrotting that the series is known for. One of my favorite sequences is the sequence in Morocco. Bourne (Matt Damon) and Nicky (Julia Stiles) are trying to get to a source who is coming clean about the CIA’s undercover project known as “Blackbriar”. But the organization has an asset on the ground to take him out before they get to him. After Bourne and Nicky split up, the asset turns to her with orders to kill on sight. Nicky takes off, the asset chasing her, and Bourne chasing the asset. The three run through the crowded streets of Tangier and finally through a series of close, cramped houses, before the scene ends with the best fight scene of the entire series so far. Director Paul Greengrass puts it all together perfectly with the perfect amount of tension and action. It’s an awesome scene.

#2 – “RAISING ARIZONA

“Raising Arizona”

Leave it to Joel and Ethen Coen to give us not only one of the best foot chases in movie history but by far the funniest. In 1987’s “Raising Arizona” Nicholas Cage plays H.I. McDunnough, a dimwit struggling with a most unusual addiction – robbing convenient stores. He’s stressed over some events at home, namely the kidnapping of one of the “Arizona Quints” – the children of unpainted furniture tycoon Nathan Arizona. While the story revolves around H.I. and his wife Ed’s lamebrain idea to solve her infertility by taking one of Arizona’s five babies, one of the funniest moments is when a stressed out H.I. gives into his addiction and holds up a convenient store with ED and Junior in the car outside. Once she realizes what he’s doing, she drives off leaving him behind. With the police arriving and the store clerk pulling out his Dirty Harry .44 magnum, H.I. takes off on foot. He’s chased by lunatic cops, dogs, and eventually Ed again. He runs through suburban backyards, living rooms, and supermarkets running into an assortment of funny characters and hilarious obstacles. It’s hard to beat.

#1 – “CASINO ROYALE”

“Casino Royale”

I’ve never been the biggest James Bond fan although I did enjoy some of the Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan films. But that changed dramatically with director Martin Campbell’s “Casino Royale” from 2006. Daniel Craig took over the role of 007 and brought a gritty more realistic Bond to the big screen. I absolutely loved it. It doesn’t take long for the action to fire up in “Casino Royale”. We see Bond in Madagascar where he has tracked down a wanted bomb manufacturer. When his partner botches the apprehension, the suspect takes off on foot with 007 right behind him. I recently rewatched this scene when preparing this list and it still blows my mind. The chase takes the two to a construction site where a high-rise in being built. They leap up scaffolding, run along steel girders, and fight on high altitude cranes. Then the chase takes them back to the ground and through the streets and finally through the Nabutu Embassy where it has an explosive ending. Even though it’s close to 10 minutes long, this chase keeps you glued to the screen, constantly draws “ooo’s” and “aah’s” from the audience. It’s beautifully shot, masterfully edited, and it serves as a wonderful introduction to this new era of Bond. I love the movie and I really love this scene.

There ya have it – my 5 Phenomenal Movie Foot Chases. See something I missed? Disagree with one of my choices? Please take time to share your favorite movie foot chase.