C is for Clueless (1995).
I was going to write on Catch 22, thinking I know at least four other members of staff who were clearly gonna grab Clueless, sharp clawed beasts that they are. However, at a recent Video City soiree, I was informed that everyone else had thought the same thing, and I had underestimated their wonderful generosity. I, therefore have been entrusted with the job of having to express the unfathomable amazingness of Amy Heckerling’s masterwork.
Where to begin; When Clueless was released I was 12 years old and oh-so-very discerning. It was a big hit with the Spice Girls crowd at my school and I didn’t think twice about not seeing it. That was a rookie film-snob error. I was a young victim of what some might call ‘Taste’. Thankfully a couple of years later I put an end to that unfortunate personal habit. Then I saw Clueless for the first time.
As someone who mostly finds comedy intensely distressing, this such a great comedy. The script is snappy and smart and packed with hidden gems, perfect for endless repeat viewing. The characters are explosive but also subtly detailed and full of surprises. The costumes are funny and glorious. The soundtrack is non-stop infectious pop hits. Clueless is a brilliant period piece. In an era where leading film makers were looking back in time, Heckerling manages to make incredibly astute observations about the time in which she is living. Observations which in 1995 seemed slick but now that time is behind us become more and more profound.
Most importantly the story is full of hope. Not the fairy-tale, boring-boy-meets-irritating-girl, everything-is-alright-in-the-end, blah-blah-blah hope, but the kind where the fearless optimist comes out on top, the kind that makes the all that Beverly Hills sunshine seem a magical and utterly believable reality … but whatever.