Plot: What’s it about?
Clueless is a movie that I’d originally vowed never to watch. Why? At the time I was sick of Alicia Silverstone, she was in every damn Aerosmith video – which actually only ended up to be three – and all over my TV. Man, I’m glad our obsession with celebrities is a thing of the past…oh wait – never mind. Nevertheless, I held firm on my commitment to not watch Clueless even when the first DVD came out a few years back. But as I got older I have less and less time to hold true to the “vows” I made ten years ago. Long story short, I now live in a world where I have watched Clueless – and the result? Not bad, a tad dated and very inferior to “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” but it’s amazing how the movie eerily predicted some of the fads of the future (cell phone, anyone)? I have to admit that Silverstone was perfect for the part of Cher; and evidently Director Amy Heckerling cast her off her appearance on one of those Aerosmith videos. Ok, so that’s all said and done and now the general public knows my history with this movie. What’s it all about?
Silverstone plays Cher Horowitz, a spoiled brat living with her lawyer father (Dan Hedaya) in Beverly Hills. Cher is fashion conscious, so much so that she has a computer program to pick out her outfits for her. She’s shallow, popular and yet frustratingly single. Her best friend, Dionne (Stacey Dash), is just like her and the two walk around their school like they own the place. Cher likes boys, but she hasn’t found that right one yet. On the other hand Dionne is one of those girls who’s in a constant fight with her boyfriend (Donald Faison), sometimes in public and sometimes not. The duo become a trio when they decide to adopt newcomer Tai (Brittany Murphy), a post-grunge girl in desperate need of a makeover. Cher tries to set Tai up with Elton (Jeremy Sisto) although she bonds with Travis (Breckin Meyer)…typical teenage confusion sets in and mixed signals abound. The plot thickens when Josh (Paul Rudd) enters the picture. Josh is Cher’s step brother (and they make a point to say that they’re not related, this becomes pretty important later on), older and bit wiser and Tai has a thing for him.
Clueless doesn’t have a linear plot line in the sense that most movies do. Along the lines of Fast Times… it’s more of a series of events that ultimately end up in most everyone getting what they want. Now that a decade has passed, most of the cast has grown up and is still acting in movies. Alicia Silverstone isn’t quite the name she was then, but names like Brittany Murphy, Jeremy Sisto and Paul Ruud are still very abundant in Hollywood today. I can’t say that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, it seemed a bit dated; much like all the other teen movies out there. One that has managed to stand the test of time is Dazed and Confused. By making the movie in the 90’s but set in the 70’s, it’s really hard to say the movie has a dated look to it. Clueless certainly isn’t a bad movie, the acting is so-so, with this being Silverstone’s big break (she’d previously been in a few movies, but The Crush is the only one that really comes to mind) she went onto a few other big projects.
Video: How does it look?
If you’ve ever wondered how things age, then look at a movie that’s a quarter of a century old. Yes, we wore stuff like that. And even though this is labeled as the “25th Anniversary Edition”, there’s no new transfer to speak of. That being said, I found a few problems with the transfer, however, most notably the black levels. To me the film seemed overly bright in places which messed with the contrast. The movie just felt a bit off balance to me. Detail has been improved over the previous DVD edition and colors do seem to “pop” a bit more. I did have to chuckle a few times when looking at some of the mid 90’s apparel worn in the film. Yeah, we actually wore that sort of stuff. I’m probably being picky here and the movie doesn’t look bad by any means, though having seen what Paramount is capable of with some of their catalog titles, I think they could have done a bit of a better job.
Audio: How does it sound?
Clueless has gotten a bump up in the audio department and the same DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is a bit of an improvement over the previous Dolby Digital 5.1 track, though the improvement is negligible at best. Vocals sound clean and natural. As in my first viewing, I’m still somewhat disappointed by the soundtrack. Amazing that in some films the music really takes over, but it’s not the case here. Surrounds are used rather sparingly but do offer a bit of backup (pardon the pun) in a few scenes.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Like most of Paramount’s anniversary editions, there’s nothing new here. The only draw is that there’s a digital code and if you’re into Steelbook’s (I’m really not), the cover art is pretty interesting. That said, the supplements appear to be the same as the “Whatever” edition released back in 2005.
- Clue or False Trivia Game – In this you can watch the movie and answer questions. You’re then assigned a social clique based on your answers. It’s a cute little feature and one that will make the viewing experience a bit more entertaining.
- The Class of ’95, A Look at the Cast Then and Now – This is a bit misleading as the “now” is circa 2005, so don’t get too worked up.
- Creative Writing with Writer/Director Amy Heckerling – We learn how Writer/Director Amy Heckerling came up with the idea and she compares and contrasts it with Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This is pretty interesting and we can see that she’s both a talented writer and director.
- Fashion 101 – A look at how the outfits were created for the movie and the effect they had on the general public as well.
- Language Arts – The filmmakers wax philosophical on how the verbiage in the movie created a “cultural phenomenon”. Ok, what-ever!
- “Suck n’ Blow” – A Tutorial – Now you too can both suck…and blow!
- Driver’s Ed. – Women can’t drive. Here’s why.
- We’re History: Stories From the Cast and Crew – Some stories about the shoot from the cast and crew.
The Bottom Line
Like it or not, Clueless has managed to withstand the test of time. I actually enjoyed it much more this time around than last (and last was back in 2005 when the “Whatever” edition came out). I don’t know if I’d put it in the same category as Fast Times at Ridgemont High or American Graffiti, but it does hold its own as one of the better teen comedies. This “new” anniversary edition is basically a re-packaging of what’s already been available. So if you already own the disc, there’s no need to get this one.