DVD Spotlight: 10 Things I Hate About You

10ThingsPosterI saw this movie not too long ago, roughly around the time of Heath Ledger’s passing. I’ve always been curious about this movie but his phenomenal performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight compelled me to see it even more. It’s been more than a decade since 10 Things I Hate About You hit theaters, and its 10th Anniversary DVD has just been released.

Film Summary (per IMDb):

Updated version of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, set at the fictional Padua High School in Tacoma where a new transfer student, Cameron (Gordon-Levitt), is interested in the popular sophomore Bianca Stratford. But Bianca’s overprotective and domineering father forbids Bianca to date unless her older sister Katerina (Stiles), an unpopular and hostile senior, does. In a bid to get Katerina a boyfriend, Cameron sets up a plan to have the school stud, Joey Donnar, bribe Patrick Verona (Ledger), an outcast senior with a rumor-filled past, to take the volatile Katerina out on dates so he can go to the school’s homecoming dance with Bianca. However, neither Pat or Kat expect their ‘going steady’ to lead where nobody expects it to.

This marching band scene is one of my favorite parts of the movie where Patrick sings “Can’t take my eyes off of you” to Kat. I forgot how good Heath’s singing voice was, he should’ve been on my list of actors who’re surprisingly good singers.

Watching clips of this makes me feel nostalgic about Heath. He truly was one of the best actors of his generation with so much potential. His performance here was top notch, truth be told, I don’t think this movie would’ve worked as well as it did without him. Rob Pattinson’s sullen & angst-ridden Edward in Twilight might’ve taken some cue from mysteriously intriguing Patrick Verona, alas R-Patz could barely match Ledger’s charisma, sparkly torso notwithstanding.

Surely the late young Aussie thespian was the star of the film, but Julia Stiles delivered a superb performance as well. She and Ledger played off each other well and their eventual attraction was believable and wonderful to watch. I haven’t seen her in much of anything of late besides the Bourne series, which is too bad because she’s a darn good actress. According to IMDb, one of her projects in development is The Bell Jar, which is novelist/poet Sylvia Plath’s only novel. I remember Gerry Butler mentioned Stiles a few years back during the Red Eye movie premiere when discussing the elusive Burns biopic. Apparently Butler was keen on her being involved in the movie, as one of the bard’s women Jean Armour perhaps?

Anyway, it’s tough to find a teen comedy that’s not corny or obtuse, but director Gil Junger (who does mostly TV sitcoms work) managed to make one that has a universal and remarkably timeless appeal. The script is full of wicked dialog that’s both funny and touching. If you haven’t seen it, don’t be put off by the teen comedy genre, this isn’t Clueless or American Pie (shudder), as Ledger’s charismatic bad-boy portrayal, as well as strong performances from Julia Stiles and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, truly made this one worth seeing. Interesting that a decade later, both Ledger and Levitt would be part of the mega blockbuster that is Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

I might even rent this one again if only to see the featurette aptly named 10 Things I Love About 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU: 10 Years Later and the sneak peek of Heath Ledger’s screen test.

Have you seen this film? What did you think?

My Top Ten Favorite Movie Couples & Wish List


I just saw He’s Just Not That Into You this past weekend, which so unlike me at all because I’m not into chick flicks generally, especially those with Jennifer Aniston in it. But it was the only title Redbox had at the moment that my girlfriend and I wouldn’t mind watching. It turned out to be better than I expected (but then again my expectation was preeetty low on such flix I couldn’t possibly be disappointed).

I’m just not into it enough to do a review on it (pardon the pun), but with all the interesting pairings on that flix, it made me think of my favorite on-screen romantic pairings and other actor/actress matchup I’d love to see. Premiere magazine had a list of their own, mostly from romantic movies/chick flicks, but my fave list isn’t limited to those. Some action or thriller flix might have a love story within it with believable chemistry, even if the couple in question doesn’t always end up together.

My Top Ten Fave On-Screen Couples (in no particular order):

1. Julia Roberts & Hugh Grant in Notting Hill
I’m no Hugh Grant fan, but he’s quite watchable in this one. Looks like he and Roberts had great fun making this together and it showed.

2. Gerard Butler &  Emily Mortimer in Dear Frankie
They’re not on-screen all that much, but when they do, every little glance conveys their palpable attraction. One of the reasons I like Gerry is the way he looks at a woman—makes you wish you were the one standing opposite him. The rousingly s-l-o-w but worth the wait doorway-kiss still tugs my heartstrings like no other.

3. Russell Crowe & Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential
Crowe reveals his intense romantic side and Basinger is at her best here.

4. Christian Bale & Emily Watson in Equillibrium
This wasn’t exactly the best work of one of Britain’s finest thespians, but their short scenes together made my heart go pit-a-pat. There’s a scene when Bale’s character couldn’t save the woman he loved and realized he’d never see her again, the camera zoomed in on Bale’s tear-filled eyes as he watched her disappear from his sight. It made me cry every single time.

5. Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
Fantastic art direction aside, this film works because we’re emotionally invested in these two torn lovers. Both actors had a beautiful voice and their musical duets are fabulous to watch over and over again.

6. Harrison Ford & Julia Ormond in Sabrina
Not exactly an ‘ideal’ couple at first glance I know, but I like Julia Ormond a lot and somehow she makes it work. I like the slow-burn romance in this one and how two unlikely people find love when they least expect it.

7. Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday
Audrey Hepburn is watchable in just about anything. Add dashing and noble gentlemen in the form of Gregory Peck plus undeniable chemistry, and you’ll get yourself a sublime duo.

8. David Duchovny & Minnie Driver in Return to Me
I love Duchovny’s dry humor and unconventional hunky-ness, and Minnie Driver is a talented but underrated actress. Kudos to Bonnie Hunt for such a well-written script and for pairing them together in one of my favorite rom-com of all time!

9. Heath Ledger & Julia Stiles in Ten Things I Hate About You
Even when he’s just starting out, we all know how talented Ledger was. I love how he could be romantic & vulnerable without losing his edge. Stiles proved to be a fitting match for him. I’d love to see more of her in films (perhaps as Burns‘ love interest with Gerry Butler?)

10. Michael Douglas & Annette Bening in The American President
Practically everyone’s fave movie prez, Andrew Shepherd is the epitome of a ‘perfect guy.’ Powerful, debonair, eloquent, with a touch of vulnerability. Douglas and Bening have such a heartfelt chemistry together that makes their ‘improbable’ fairy tale romance utterly believable.

Top Ten romantic pairings I’d love to see on-screen:
1. Gerard Butler & Eva Green
2. Russell Crowe & Amy Adams
3. Rufus Sewell & Aishwarya Rai
4. Christian Bale & Emily Blunt
5. Henry Cavill & Sophia Myles
6. Johnny Depp & Kate Beckinsale
7. Timothy Dalton & Emma Thomson
8. Eric Bana & Halle Berry
9. Edward Norton & Maggie Gyllenhaal
10. Daniel Henney & Rachel McAdams

You can read the rationale for each of my pick in a separate post. So what say you? I’m sure you have your own list in mind, so let’s hear it.