10 Things I Hate About You

Really, “10 Things” was so dry, witty – and yet so sharply observant about high school and the denizens within, it’s almost as if it were another John Hughes movie, ten years after. Now it’s another ten years after that, and it has aged marvelously well, all things considered; even the minor characters are sharply drawn, and if not actually sympathetic, they are amusing. One of the best qualities about “10 Things” is that the adult characters are also real people, not just cardboard outlines and sappy caricatures: they are as sharp and finely drawn as the teenagers – especially Alison Janney as the no-nonsense guidance counselor at Padua High, who is writing a bodice-ripping romance in between counseling sessions, and the lovingly over-protective father of teenage daughters, played by Larry Miller.

The plot setup is lifted wholesale from Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” – two sisters, Bianca, (Larisa Oleynik) sweet and pretty, and her older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) being a forbiddingly hostile and sour-tempered shrew. Cameron, the new boy at Padua High (Joseph Gordon Levitt) has fallen for Bianca – who may not go out on a date unless her sister does the same. Not discouraged, Cameron attempts to fix up Kat with a slightly mysterious, brooding bad boy, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) . . . and it pretty much plays out, among the modern high school milieu of various sub-groups, which are hilariously outlined by Cameron’s new friend and assistant plotter, Michael (David Khumoltz). Just as I remember from high school, there are the brains, the social set, the stoners, the gangsters, the bad boys, all of them uneasily coexisting. Sweet, funny, timeless and with a million things going on in the corners and in the background, “10 Things” can bear watching, repeatedly – like John Hughes movies.

Extras are limited to a single fairly well organized documentary, “10 Things I Hate About You 10 Years Later,” which includes – among the cast and writer interviews – some footage of Heath Ledger’s screen test.

10 Things I Hate About You is available from Amazon, and from other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her previous book “To Truckee’s Trail” and her current book project – The Adelsverein Trilogy is also available through Amazon.com. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.

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