We’re doing something a little different this summer for #WayBackWednesday! I asked the Fangirlish staff to tell me their favorite summer flicks–films they associate with summer, be that a film set in the summer, a film that was released in the summer, or a movie they spent a summer watching. Each writer will tell you why they chose their movie and I’ll be reviewing their film recommendations during June, July, and August. This is our Summer Vacation series! Pour yourself a glass of Kool-Aid, make some ramen, and find out how we spent our summer vacations each #WayBackWednesday.
Clueless was one of the most ubiquitous movies of my middle school days. “As if!” and “Whatever!” echoed through the hallways at school and were shouted on the school bus. A Clueless spin-off series followed in 1996 and ran in syndication for several years afterward. You’d think with how widespread the film was in its heyday, I’d have seen Clueless at least once, maybe renting it from the library over the summer.
I didn’t watch it until last year.
It was one of the winning films during my monthly tradition of Girl Movie Night last summer. The theme that night was 90s rom-coms, so we watched Clueless along with You’ve Got Mail. I enjoyed how very 90s the film is and I appreciated it as a spoof on Jane Austen’s Emma, but perhaps my biggest takeaway was how Paul Rudd still looks EXACTLY THE SAME. The man is a timelord, I swear.
Were you one of the many kids utilizing “As if!” and “Whatever!” as schoolyard taunts? Check out the trailer for Clueless and we’ll find out why Fangirlish Editor-in-Chief, Lizzie picked Clueless for her favorite Summer Vacation movie this #WayBackWednesday.
Here’s why Lizzie associates Clueless with summertime.
Though I didn’t watch Clueless in theaters when it came out, the aesthetics and the vibe of it have always screamed summer for me. Maybe because the first time I remember watching it was during a summer matinee or maybe because the movie, like many summer movies, is mostly about friendship, about finding yourself, and, honestly, the last few times I’ve watched it, about Paul Rudd being ageless. Cher is both the least relatable character in movie history and one of the most relatable ones, at the end. I think no matter how old I am, I will always relate summer to some of those outfits only 90s Alicia Silverstone could pull off, and that’s okay. We might have all grown up, but Clueless will remain Clueless.
Clueless tells the story of Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), a ditzy, self-absorbed, rich valley girl who lives a charmed life. Cher and her best friend, Dionne (Stacey Dash), decide to do a good deed by hooking up two of their teachers (Wallace Shawn and Twink Caplan). One good deed spawns another, which involves giving the new girl, Tai (Brittany Murphy), a makeover and setting her up with Elton (Jeremy Sisto). Elton’s a popular guy, but not the guy Tai really likes, stoner Travis (Breckin Meyer). Will Cher finally get a clue about her friends and herself? You’ll have to watch Clueless to find out. The film is written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, National Lampoon’s European Vacation).
While this isn’t a movie I’d have actively chosen to watch growing up, as I was much more into science fiction and action films, I think Clueless is a really fun film, regardless of your genre preferences. Here are a few of the things I appreciate about Clueless.
Totally Great Cast
Clueless’s ensemble cast is its greatest strength. All of our main characters are hilarious and the delivery of their lines is perfect. Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash masterfully perform their roles as beyond oblivious high school girls. Paul Rudd is fantastic as Josh, embodying the perfectly cool and attractive older college guy character. For me though, the real standout is the late, great Brittany Murphy as Tai. I have seen precious little of Brittany’s other work, save for a recurring role in Sister, Sister and her voice work in PepperAnn and King of the Hill. Her performance as Tai absolutely kills me with laughter every time I watch this film. It’s such a tragedy that we lost her so soon. I would love to see the roles she’d have chosen now, as her resume was a blend of comedy, drama, and voice work. Also, if you’d like a snapshot of how I dressed in the 90s (and a little bit of today too…), Tai is a fairly accurate representation. #FlannelForever!
If you enjoy a fantastic ensemble cast in your comedies, add Clueless to your summer watch list.
“‘Fashion victim’ or ‘ensembly challenged?’”
One of the most entertaining things about watching Clueless in 2021 is all the costuming. The film is a time capsule of mid 90s fashions. Pink, plaid, mini-skirts, spaghetti straps, midriff shirts, and giant hats all adorned our closets in the 90s. If I’m honest, a good portion of my laughs in this movie come from all of Cher and Dionne’s outlandish outfits, particularly their hats that have their own zip codes.
Whenever Paul Rudd comes on screen, I have flashbacks to flipping through issues of Tiger Beat or one of those other teen magazines I’d pick up for all the posters of cute guys. His outfits were definitely what those cool and cute guys that adorned my walls wore in 1995.
If you want a flashback to a time where plaid and Doc Martens were the height of fashion, definitely check out Clueless.
Totally Cool Soundtrack
One of my favorite things about Clueless is its phenomenal 90s soundtrack. You’ve got artists like The Counting Crows, Radiohead, The Beastie Boys, and Coolio that were blowing up popular radio in the early-mid 90s. This soundtrack also features a couple of cover songs– “Kids in America” (originally by British singer Kim Wilde) is performed by The Muffs and “All the Young Dudes” (originally performed by Brit-rock band Mott the Hoople and written by none other than David Bowie) is performed by World Party.
Those tracks are fun to listen to, but my personal favorite thing about the musical choices for this film is the fact that is SKA represented! Not only do we get ska on the soundtrack, but it is performed within the movie! There are few things that are more mid-late 90s to me than ska music. Ska band, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones appear within the film, playing their song, “Where’d You Go?” at a house party. You know your party is hype when you’ve hired The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to perform!
Give the soundtrack for Clueless a listen today on Spotify for a real #WayBackWednesday treat.
Does any of this sound good to you? Don’t be a virgin that cannot drive! Watch Clueless today for #WayBackWednesday.
Thanks very much to our Editor-in-Chief, Lizzie for recommending Clueless for today’s Summer Vacation edition of #WayBackWednesday! Lizzie is always writing something for Fangirlish. You can check out her writing on Virgin River, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Queen of the South, Lucifer, New Amsterdam, and more here on the site.
Clueless is currently streaming on HBO MAX.