Of all the high school-themed flicks of the early 2000s (“Never Been Kissed,” “She’s All That,” etc.) there was one that set lofty expectations for high schoolers everywhere: “10 Things I Hate About You.” Between its Shakespearean undertones — it was based on William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” after all — performances by both Letters to Cleo AND Save Ferris, and epic paintball dates, the teen experience had a lot to live up to.
“10 Things” follows new student Cameron (a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he navigates his new school, attempting to win over queen bee Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) in the process. After getting the low-down on Bianca and her sister, misfit Kat (played by Julia Stiles) from AV nerd Michael (David Krumholtz in his pre-Harold & Kumar days), it becomes clear that reinforcements must be called in. Those reinforcements take the form of equally ill-tempered Patrick (played by Heath Ledger), who is paid by Cameron to win over Kat by any means necessary. Naturally, shenanigans ensue.
Between impromptu performances of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and the aforementioned paintball outing (seriously, do places like that even exist in real life?), we’re treated to some spectacular examples of early-2000s style. Stylistically, the Stratford sisters represent both ends of the spectrum: While Bianca prefers sweeter looks — pearls, floral minis, a two-piece fuchsia prom dress (I wore the same one to my prom — does that make me famous?) — Kat seems to have much more fun with her outfits, with lots of mixed prints, proportion play, and chunky-soled boots. Many may roll their eyes at the recent resurgence of late-90s/early-2000s trends, but I, for one, am excited to pair my of-the-moment midi skirts with strappy tanks, lug-sole sandals, and maybe even a ball-chain necklace or two this summer.
With prom AND graduation season here, why not pop this throwback film into your DVD player and have a movie night? Whether you’re reminiscing on your own high school days or seeking inspiration for a truly unique prom look (I think we can all agree that the two-piece prom dress needs to make a comeback) “10 Things I Hate About You” will surely deliver. Maybe you’ll even brush up on your Shakespeare while you’re at it!