High school was a nightmare for me, I try to forget most of it. For me, there was no 10 year high school reunion and I was glad I never went. Speaking of ten & high school, this is the 10th year anniversary of 10 Things I Hate About You, a Gil Junger comedy that helped launch quite a few careers. As such, they made the leap to Blu-Ray with a well-done anniversary edition. But how does the movie hold up?
Cameron James (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is new to Padua High School. He is assigned another student, Michael Eckman (played by David Krumholtz) to show him around. Michael introduces him to the various groups of kids and they start to develop a friendship. Cameron then spots a girl, Bianca Stratford (played by Larisa Oleynik) and his life would never be the same.
Michael quickly tells him that he will never be able to get Bianca since she is one of the popular girls. Meanwhile, Bianca does wish to date (maybe even Cameron) but is not being allowed by her father, Dr. Walter Stratford (played by Larry Miller). His rule: you can not date unless your sister, Kat (played by Julia Stiles) does too.
That would be an easy fix except Kat doesn’t date. Actually Kat isn’t social at all. She’s thought of as a rebel at the high school and nobody really wishes to date her despite her attractive looks. Bianca tells Cameron about the rule one day during French tutor in hopes to manipulate him. Cameron and Michael then try to figure out who they can get to date Kat.
They finally come up with Patrick Verona (played by Heath Ledger) who is a rebel like Kat. Cameron asks Patrick for assistance but is scared away by Patrick’s exterior. Michael then decides to propose an idea to Joey Donner (played by Andrew Keegan), a male teenage model who is also attracted to Bianca.
The idea is that Joey (since he is rich) would pay Patrick to date Kat. That way, Cameron could possibly slip in and win her over (this part unknown to Joey of course). Joey agrees and works out a deal with Patrick who is still a bit gun shy at the whole proposition. Patrick tries to woo over Kat at first but his advances are disregarded and quickly ignored.
However, Michael & Cameron have other ideas. They turn what was supposed to be a normal party involving a high school club into a full blown affair with alcohol and tons of people. Patrick and Kat find their way separately to the event. Kat gets drunk and Patrick is there to save her when she collapses. Then something magical starts to happen: they both start falling for each other.
Can Patrick and Kat continue this romance despite the fact that Patrick is getting paid to take her out? Will Cameron get Bianca to notice him for more than a French tutor? Can Joey decide if the black shirt or the white shirt makes him look more handsome? Can Ms. Perky (played by Allison Janney) ever finish writing her erotic novel? Or finally, can Chastity Church (played by Gabrielle Union) visit me sometime later wearing one of those dresses she wears in the movie? Yowza! Okay, the last one was for me. Find out the answers to these questions out and more.
This movie is actually based on the Shakespeare play, Taming of the Shrew. Julia or Kat rather is the shrew and the story is all about how Patrick seeks to tame her. The film has a lot of plot points where a character might say a line of Shakespeare inconspicuously. Each of the characters seems to fit a certain Shakespearean role except for Michael Eckman. Michael we find out actually might be Shakespeare himself as evidenced by the prom scene.
It is amazing how a movie can make a bunch of actors into superstars overnight. The careers of Julia Stiles & Heath Ledger in particular leapt to stardom in the wink of an eye. Why? The answer is because each of them put on a performance that was both charismatic and showed a lot of depth at the same time. In addition, the other stars and supporting characters each played their part and made the film that much stronger.
But in the same breath, the movie really doesn’t connect with me. This film was actually released about a year after I got out of college and my teenage years were well behind me. It’s a sweet story and the actors were a lot better than the movie behind it. The film’s ending also served to leave a ton of questions behind about what happens to the students after prom and seems to have some doubt about what direction that will take them.
The video is presented in 1.85:1 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen. For a movie that is now ten years old, the video is surprisingly good. Thankfully, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of DNR and they let the product stand on its own. Colors are sharp and suffice to say this is the best the movie has ever looked, hands down. The only flaws exist in the original product with some grain that only shows up in the real sunny spots.
Audio is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD MA English (and also includes a Spanish & French DD 5.1 Mix). One of the most defining points about 10 things is the soundtrack. Featuring bands such as Letters to Cleo & Save Ferris, the soundtrack booms and brings much life to your speakers. Dialog is clear and the sound effects are as good as one would expect. Subtitles are provided for English SDH, French and Spanish.
- Automatic Trailers: When in Rome, Extract & Surrogates
- 10 Things I Love About 10 Things I Hate About You 10 Years Later 35:04: You’ll either absolutely love this behind the scenes feature or hate it. It’s got a tremendous amount of material including interviews, deleted scenes and casting footage of Heath Ledger. The problem is that it is all jumbled together and you can’t individually explore any of it.
- Audio Commentary: This commentary includes writers: Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith as well as castmembers: Larisa Oleynik, David Krumholtz, Andrew Keegan, and Susan May Pratt. The commentary is very in-depth and goes over a multitude of things from technical aspects to personal stories. There are some good things about Heath as well as everybody else involved.
Something I should say before pressing to my final thoughts. Heath Ledger left us way too soon. Add this movie to other movies like Dark Knight, Brothers Grimm & Knight’s Tale that show off his incredible charm and screen presence. The movie itself has a fine cast of actors and actresses that each performs way beyond the movie.
While the film doesn’t connect with me, I do understand how important the movie was to them and to the generation of teens who watched it. The disc is well done with excellent video and superb audio. The behind the scenes piece should have been split up better but the commentary more than makes up for it. Recommended if you grew up in this era or enjoy Heath Ledger films.