Sunday, August 19, 2012

10 Things I Hate About You

You guys suck.  I leave you alone with this blog for a few minutes and you fail to update it regularly for about ten months.  Do I have to do everything myself?

I began a love affair with Kay Hanley's voice about eleven years ago - April 13, 2001, to be exact.  That was the day I saw the Josie and the Pussycats movie, where Ms Hanley provided the singing voice for Josie.  Since then, I've accumulated all of her solo stuff, two CDs with her new band, Palmdale, and all of the old stuff with her 1990s band, Letters to Cleo.  Why am I writing about a singer in a post about a thirteen-year-old movie?

Because Kay Hanley is the star of 10 Things I Hate About You.

No, not really, but she - and Letters to Cleo - are in it. I recently rediscovered a few Letters to Cleo songs for the first time (don't quibble - you know what I mean) and decided to revisit 10 Things I Hate About You on DVD, where I knew I would find Kay.

I last saw 10 Things I Hate About You in August of 2006.  I remember it being a pleasant enough movie and I remember seeing Letters to Cleo in the prom scene, but that's about it.  Nothing really stuck with me.  Time to rediscover, for the first time.

First, the movie is really good.  Based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, it's a high school dating/misunderstanding/prom movie and pretty well done.  There were a few times I rolled my eyes in scenes that may have been fine in 1999 and don't hold up now, but overall, good writing, good acting, great cinematography.  I couldn't believe my eyes during the flyer scene.

The stars of 10 Things I Hate About You are mostly A-listers now - Julia Stiles, David Krumbholz, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gabrielle Union, for example.  The younger sister of the shrew was played by Larisa Oleynik, whom I recognized immediately but could not place.  A quick run to IMDB showed that I had seen her EVERYWHERE in the past decade.  You have, too.  Oh, and there is the Heath Ledger thing. The late Heath Ledger.  It takes a few minutes to compartmentalize before the true enjoyment of the movie can kick in.

I got so emotionally invested in the movie that near the end, when Kat, the shrew, read her composition '10 Things I Hate About You,' inspired by Shakespeare's sonnets and dedicated to the guy who let her down, I got choked up.  Not so choked up that I failed to count the things she hated - all 14 of them.  It's fine - I don't think the movie needed to be called 14 Things I Hate About You, 10 is just fine.  Oh, and SPOILER ALERT, the last of the things she hates about him is that she can't hate him.  It's a happy ending and it's very cool.

As for the music, I also choked up when I heard them play Letters to Cleo, which happens five times in three scenes.  Kay Hanley - and the band - make an appearance three times, including the coolest live performance of a song since the Beatles did their farewell from the roof of Abbey Road.  This was also the farewell for Letters to Cleo, as they disbanded about the time 10 Things I Hate About You came out, in March, 1999.  There were actually tears in my eyes during the prom scene when Kay steps off the stage and sashays across the dance floor - singng all the while - to say "hey" to Kat, one of her biggest fans.  It was exceedingly cool.

I don't think I'm going to wait another six years to watch 10 Things I Hate About You again, and if you aren't familiar with Kay Hanley and Letters to Cleo music, maybe you should be.