The best example I can think of to illustrate how true that is lies with what used to be my number-one hobby: going to the movies.
On the surface, I’m sure that doesn’t seem so unusual, or even un-cool. However, unlike most people, I used to go to the movies by myself. All the time. If I had the day off work, it would be common for me to arrive at the theatre in the early afternoon - and I’m aware that movie theatres frown on this - eventually sitting through three different movies.
To the shock of no one, I’m sure, this practice lasted right up until I started dating Kate just after I had celebrated my 26th birthday.
So, I was feeling a little bit nostalgic this week when I learned that one of my favourite movies of all time, Clueless was turning 20-years-old.
I was 11 years old in the summer of 1995 when I combined Clueless with Operation Dumbo Drop for my first movie theatre double-dip at the Famous Players Oshawa Centre, so as if I could let the opportunity slip past to recognize what’s without a doubt one of the best teenage comedy that will ever be made.
Part of the reason for my lofty praise for the flick is simple nostalgia, just as I’m sure those born a decade before me probably feel about Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club or Better Off Dead, there is something about the movies of your youth that sticks with you and they become part of your identity, no matter how old you get. Clueless, Dazed and Confused, Can’t Hardly Wait and Empire Records will always be touchstones for my own youth.
Despite some 1990’s datedness that can’t be avoided, Clueless, which was adapted from Jane Austen’s Emma, does seem to be doing an admirable job of holding up within popular culture. Just last year, it was parodied for the video for ‘Fancy’ by Iggy Azalea - one of the most popular songs of year.
Part of the reason for this is probably that studios don’t seem interested in making movies like Clueless for teenagers anymore.
There is certainly no shortage of movies about teenagers. The difference is that now, they are saving the world (The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner) or they are tugging at heartstrings with emotional turmoil (The Fault in Our Stars, Me & Earl & The Dying Girl).
What you rarely find anymore are fun, bubbly high school-centric comedies. In fact for more than a decade, there have really only been two films to tackle the genre - Mean Girls and Easy A - both of which are gems of the genre.
There is nothing wrong with film about teenagers taking themselves seriously. But there has to be room for some sugar every once in awhile. And that is where Clueless stood out in 1995, and does so today. It can be tough being a teen - especially a teen girl (and as I’m sure Kate and I will find out sooner than I’m prepared for raising a teenage girl). So why not have some fun while you can? Throughout Clueless, Alicia Silverstone’s Cher struggles with a lot of common teenage dilemmas: virginity - “You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet”; relationships - “He does dress better than I do, what would I bring to the relationship?”; school - “Honey, I couldn't be happier than if they were based on real grades”; friendships - “Dionne and I were both named after famous singers of the past, who now do infomercials”; and trying to find your place in the world - “You get mad if anyone thinks you live below Sunset”. It just has more fun doing it than most other movies.