74. 'Clueless' (1995)
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"Clueless" came out when I was in 4th grade. I was too young to fully
appreciate Amy Heckerling's clever twist on Jane Austen's "Emma" at the time,
but that didn't stop me from talking like a valley girl for a few months. My
homeroom teacher indulged this peculiarity. Perhaps he recognized it as an onset
of homosexuality. He was remarkably prescient.
"Clueless" is widely regarded as the essential teen film of the '90s, a title
it certainly deserves. The soundtrack is kickin'. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
actually appear as themselves, forever commemorating the ska craze to celluloid.
The fashion is spot on. Ridiculous hats and overworked plaids abound. The script
is full of memorable slang that haunted pop culture years after the fact. "As
if!" and "Whatever!" became catchall terms perfect for any situation.
Find: See clips from 'Clueless' | See photos
quality aside, what I love most about "Clueless" is its social conscience and
unrelenting positivity. There isn't an ironic or mean-spirited joke in the
entire film. The detached, self-aware attitude required of teenagers in current
movies is nowhere to be found.
Alicia Silverstone's Cher is a terrific role model. She is loyal, caring and
driven. She genuinely wants to make the world a better place; whether that means
giving the new girl a makeover, donating skis to disaster victims or doing light
paralegal work. Her transformation is a refreshing break from the triviality
that dominates most high school movies. — Frank Paiva (Alicia
Silverstone in "Clueless"/©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection/Rex