Clueless (film)

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Clueless
Clueless.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAmy Heckerling
Produced by
Written byAmy Heckerling
Based onEmma (1815 novel) 
by Jane Austen
Starring
Music byDavid Kitay
CinematographyBill Pope
Editing byDebra Chiate
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • July 19, 1995 (1995-07-19)
Running time97 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Spanish
Budget$20,000,000
Box office$56,631,572
 
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Clueless
Clueless.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAmy Heckerling
Produced by
Written byAmy Heckerling
Based onEmma (1815 novel) 
by Jane Austen
Starring
Music byDavid Kitay
CinematographyBill Pope
Editing byDebra Chiate
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • July 19, 1995 (1995-07-19)
Running time97 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Spanish
Budget$20,000,000
Box office$56,631,572

Clueless is a 1995 American comedy film loosely based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma. It stars Alicia Silverstone in the lead role, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd and Brittany Murphy. The film is set in the town of Beverly Hills and was written and directed by Amy Heckerling and produced by Scott Rudin, it was released in the United States on July 19, 1995.

The film spun off a television sitcom and a series of books.

Plot[edit]

Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is a good-natured but superficial girl who is attractive, popular, and extremely wealthy. A few months shy of her sixteenth birthday, she has risen to the top of the high-school social scene, and is happy and self-assured in her insular, fashion-obsessed world. She lives in a Beverly Hills mansion with her father Melvin (Dan Hedaya), a ferocious $500-an-hour litigator; her mother has long since died, having succumbed to complications while undergoing liposuction surgery. Cher's best friend is Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), who is also rich, pretty, and hip, and understands what it's like to be envied.

Among the few people to find much fault with Cher is Josh (Paul Rudd), her socially conscious ex-stepbrother who visits during a break from college. Josh and Cher spar continually but without malice; she refers to him as "granola breath" and mocks his scruffy idealism, while he teases her for being selfish, vain, and superficial, and says that her only direction in life is "toward the mall."

Illustrating that Cher's selfishness is usually innocent and relatively harmless, Cher plays matchmaker for two lonely, nerdy, hard-grading teachers, Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Miss Geist (Twink Caplan). She achieves her ostensible purpose—to make them relax their grading standards so she can renegotiate a bad report card—but when she sees their newfound happiness, she realizes she actually enjoys doing good deeds. Cher now decides that the ultimate way she can give back to the community would be to "adopt" a "tragically unhip" new girl at school, Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy). Cher and Dionne give Tai a makeover and initiate her into the mysteries of popularity. Cher also tries to extinguish the strong mutual attraction between Tai and Travis Birkenstock (Breckin Meyer), an amiable skateboarding slacker, and to steer her toward Elton (Jeremy Sisto), a rich snob whose father is a music-industry executive.

Her second matchmaking scheme backfires when Elton rejects Tai and makes a play for Cher. Matters worsen when Cher's "project" works a bit too well and Tai's popularity begins to surpass Cher's, especially after Tai has a "near-death" misadventure at the mall that helps to skyrocket her to fame at school. Other classmates, including Dionne's and Cher's longtime rival Amber (Elisa Donovan), soon gravitate toward Tai, and Cher finds herself demoted from queen to courtier at high school.

Events reach crisis stage after Cher fails her driver's test and can't "renegotiate" the result. When Cher returns home, crushed, Tai confides that she's taken a fancy to Josh and wants Cher to help her "get" him. Cher says she doesn't think Josh is right for Tai, and they quarrel. Cher, left all alone, begins to think she has created a monster in her own image. Feeling "totally clueless," she reflects on her priorities and her repeated failures to understand or appreciate the people in her life. Most of all, she keeps thinking about Josh and Tai, and wonders why she cares so much.

After much soul searching (which includes a solo shopping spree around various Beverly Hills boutiques), Cher realizes she has fallen in love with Josh. She begins making awkward but sincere efforts to live a more purposeful life, even captaining the school's Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. A scene near the end of the film finds Cher and Josh stumbling over how to admit their mutual feelings for one another, culminating in a tender kiss on the stairs of her home.

Mr. Hall and Miss Geist get married; Cher's friendships with Tai and Dionne are reaffirmed and solidified; Tai and Travis are in love; and in Josh's arms, Cher too has finally found love.

Cast of characters[edit]

The film's central characters are:

Other characters

Production[edit]

The film had a 40-day filming schedule. Producers sat in on classes at Beverly Hills High School to get a feel for the student culture. Herb Hall, the real drama teacher at Beverly Hills High School, played the principal in the film. Scenes depicting the high school campus, including the tennis courts, the outdoor cafeteria, the quad, and various classrooms were filmed at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Home media[edit]

Clueless was released on VHS and Laserdisc in early 1996 by Paramount Home Video.

The film was first released to DVD on October 19, 1999; the special features only included 2 theatrical trailers.

A special "Whatever! Edition" 10th anniversary DVD was released on August 30, 2005. It included featurettes and cast interviews, including:

The film was released on Blu-ray disc for the first time on May 1, 2012. Special features were carried over from the "Whatever!" edition of 2005, and included a new trivia track.

Reception[edit]

The film became a surprise sleeper hit of 1995, grossing well over $11 million on its opening weekend #2 behind Apollo 13, and it eventually grossed $55 million during its theatrical run. It was the 32nd highest-grossing film of 1995 and brought the then-largely-unknown actress Alicia Silverstone to international attention. It also developed a strong cult following after its release.[citation needed]

Critical response[edit]

The film was also well received by critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 81% based on reviews from 51 critics and judged it "Certified Fresh".[1]

Accolades[edit]

In 2008, Entertainment Weekly selected Clueless as one of the "New Classics," a list of 100 released between 1983 and 2008,[2] Clueless was ranked 42nd.[3]

In 2008 Entertainment Weekly named it the 19th best comedy of the past 25 years.[4]

American Film Institute recognition:

Legacy[edit]

After the death of Brittany Murphy, Silverstone stated that she "always felt connected to [Murphy] as [they] shared a very special experience in [their] lives together."[7] Following Murphy's death, Silverstone reported in an interview: "I loved working with Brittany. She was so talented, so warm, and so sweet."[7]

Heckerling later described Silverstone as having "that Marilyn Monroe thing" as a "pretty, sweet blonde who, in spite of being the American ideal, people still really like." [8]

The cast reunited in 2012 for Entertainment Weekly's reunion issue.[9]

Amy Heckerling later reunited with both Silverstone and Shawn for the vampire comedy Vamps.

Clueless is the main inspiration for Australian rapper Iggy Azalea's music video to her single Fancy with many visuals as well as costumes inspired by the film. [10][11]

Soundtrack[edit]

  1. "Kids in America" (The Muffs) – 3:18
  2. "Shake Some Action" (David Lowery) – 4:25
  3. "The Ghost in You" (Counting Crows) – 3:30
  4. "Here" (Squirmel Mix) (Luscious Jackson) – 3:33
  5. "All the Young Dudes" (World Party) – 4:00
  6. "Fake Plastic Trees [Acoustic Version]" (Radiohead) – 4:45
  7. "Change" (Lightning Seeds) – 4:01
  8. "Need You Around" (Smoking Popes) – 3:42
  9. "Mullet Head" (Beastie Boys) – 2:53
  10. "Where'd You Go?" (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) – 3:16
  11. "Rollin' with My Homies" (Coolio) – 4:06
  12. "Alright" (Supergrass) – 3:01
  13. "My Forgotten Favorite" (Velocity Girl) – 3:49
  14. "Supermodel" (Jill Sobule) – 3:07

Adaptations[edit]

TV series[edit]

In 1996, the producers created a spinoff television series, which followed the continuing adventures of Cher and her friends. Several cast members from the film went on to star in the TV program, with the notable exceptions of Alicia Silverstone (who went on to sign a film deal with Columbia-TriStar worth $10 million) and Paul Rudd. Silverstone was replaced in the series with actress Rachel Blanchard.

Books[edit]

A collection of books was also published after the release of the film by Simon Spotlight Entertainment publishing company from 1995-1999. These books were published as paperbacks and aimed at adolescent readers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]