Sometimes I feel like destiny is guiding me through my movie collecting and watching, so much so that I appear to have bought and then subsequently watched this on the 20th anniversary of its release. I didn't see this movie when it first came out as I was a bit young, though I probably would have enjoyed it. When I finally did see it in my 20's I really enjoyed seeing some of my favorite actors at the time as younger stars. Julia Stiles hasn't been in much as of late, but she was in a few hit movies I recall from shortly after this film came out. However, this is an early showcase for the talents of Heath Ledger and Joseph-Gordon Levitt.
At this point, any movie that allows us the pleasure of experiencing Heath's charm again is worth your time. I think a lot of us forget that this kind of movie is where he came from because he died playing one of the darkest, craziest characters we've seen in modern film. Here he plays the cool guy at school, who is tasked with romancing the Julia Stiles character so that Joseph Gordon-Levitt can go on a date with her younger sister. JGL is so impressive to watch as it seems he was all but born for stardom, and is doing his own thing in Hollywood. He's really the main character of the movie, but Ledger truly steals every scene he's in.
It's understandable though why Heath Ledger would command the movie, because in order for all of it to work he really has to make you like him. He has to work over the image and reputation of a character like his, to make him redeemable by the end of the film. I think this movie does a great job of recognizing how kids this age speak and act, and does so in a way that the film barely feels dated even after 20 years. Sure they don't all have cell phones and tech, but they're all acting as I'd imagine teenagers do still to this day.
The film's story is really dynamic in that each of the male lead's plots play out in a way that could easily carry its own movie. In making the one relationship dependent on the other, they give the audience a lot to root for and watch in this classic 90's flick. This is definitely one of those films that I would consider an essential 90's classic, even though I didn't see it until the late 2000's. It has everything that made a movie of that time great, and it has all the charm and style of a 90's high school romantic comedy. There are plenty of Special Features and a commentary that is loaded with cast and the writers, who have a grand time remembering the old days.
This is the 10th Anniversary Edition so the commentary was done around that time and some of the bigger cast members were obviously in the middle of stardom. However, it was still really fun to listen to all of them reminisce and even kick themselves over their behavior as teens during the filming of the movie. There is a reason they tried to turn this movie into a television show, and there's also a reason that it didn't work. This movie has a great romantic comedy story filled with an all-star cast, one of which we will never see another performance from so it's been a really great revisit.
Blu-ray came in perfect condition and is a deal at the $6 price it's currently listed at. Highly recommended to those looking for a 90's fix or a revisit to a nostalgic classic!