The Next Reel • Season 11 • Series: 90s Comedies • Clueless

Clueless

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We started this season with Amy Heckerling and we return to her in today’s episode with her 1995 loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma.” Join us as we talk about her film ‘Clueless,’ the second in our 90s Comedies series.

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“So, okay, you’re probably going, ‘Is this, like, a Noxema commercial or what?’ But seriously, I actually have a very normal life for a teenage girl.”

Amy Heckerling started a project about a positive high school student for TV. She wrote several iterations before it stalled out, but when she switched agents, her new agent said it was too good for TV. So she switched it to be a feature film. And with that the foundation for Clueless was born. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our 90s Comedies series with Heckerling’s 1995 film Clueless.

Here are some clues about what we talk about in our Clueless episode.

The foundation for Clueless may be Heckerling’s TV project, but it didn’t take long for her to realize she had been pulling in elements from Jane Austen’s “Emma.” Locking that in and focusing on the Beverly Hills high school set, Heckerling found the story. And it’s a delight.

Alicia Silverstone is the key for this film. She’s perfect as Cher, delivering a performance that’s authentic and kind, even while being a rich shopaholic. The rest of the cast fleshes out the film. Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy – everyone feels perfect for the roles they play.

And that holds true for the adults too. Dan Hedaya as Cher’s dad? What a loveable grump.

But the movie’s more than the cast. Heckerling’s script, which intrinsically different from Fast Times at Ridgemont High because of the RomCom nature of this story, still captures the teens of the mid-90s in action and speech. Mona May’s costumes both captured the time and ended up influencing fashion for years to come. And the production design and cinematography together bring the colors and vibes to the forefront to create a hyper-realistic world.

It’s a delight of a film. It’s not perfect, but is an easy watch and an easy one to fall in love with. Check it out then tune in to this week’s episode on your podcatcher of choice. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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