Introducing: Film Fest Fridays! Here we’ll bring you a weekly cinematic adaptation of a book and discuss the finer points of “Is the book really better than the movie?”
It’s William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday week, and we thought we’d kick it off with something fun – Shakepearean adaptations. Sure, these are technically re-worked versions of something that is meant to be seen and not read, but Shakes is celebrated as a writer – can’t we appreciate his prose reworked into modern versions?
I don’t know if everyone else didn’t know this or not, but I didn’t find out for years that 10 Things I Hate About You was an adaptation of a Shakespearean play. Sorry, I was 12 when it came out. About all I got out of that flick was a lifelong affection for a chiseled jawline and soft accent.
When I finally did cut my teeth on old Billy, it was on what’s commonly referred to as his most immature play: The Taming of the Shrew. Of course I loved it. It’s witty and funny and sarcastic – and I just love that whole mean and teasingly misogynist Kate-Petruchio dynamic.
FUN FACT: Erin and I wrote and starred in a short play as Kate and Petruchio. Guess which one of us was the wench?
I digress. The play makes for excellent fodder for any adaptation – be it a teenage rom-com, a shouting match between Richard and Liz, or a community theater version set in a 70’s discotheque (that happened. We were there. It was unrelated to the aforementioned short play).
Bianca is young and foxy and all the guys want to date her. But she can’t date (or get married, whatever) until her bitchy sister finds a man. Of course no man wants to date sister crazypants, so some of the aforementioned guys find a nicely strong-willed dude to manipulate said shrew into wedded bliss. And here’s where I get really confused reading this play – there’s Grumio and Gremio and Tranio and they all wear disguises and who was that again? It’s so much easier to watch! It ends with – depending on your adaptation/interpretation – a buncha happy couples.
Better in the movie:
- Heath. Ledger. In his teenaged, dyed black hair, youthful blessed prime. Good. God.
- That scene during soccer practice.
- Holy late 90’s nostalgia, Batman! Alex Mac, baby-faced JGL, Julia Stiles’ wardrobe. THAT SOUNDTRACK.
- Quotable and quippy teenage dialog. I haven’t actually watched this movie in years. I’m pretty sure I still know most of the lines. “That’s the difference between like and love. I like my Sketchers, but I love my Prada backpack.” “But I love my Sketchers.” “That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.”
Worse in the movie:
- I mean, I get why it’s called 10 Things I Hate about You, but why is it called that? Ugh. (Okay. Julia Stiles red-faced squished snivel makes me tear up every time. I WAS 12, OKAY?).
- Julia’s Kat and Heath’s Patrick have an undeniable “I hate that you’re making me smile” adorable chemistry, but you’ve gotta try Kate and Petruchio by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton sometime, if only for her screech and his laugh. Their chemistry is old-school, he’s hairy and beefy and you get the vibe that he smelled… manly, she’s, well, she’s Liz and is just classic.
Just watch it again, will you? Call me if you have it on DVD. We can have a “Cruel to be Kind” sing along when it’s over.