The late ’90s were something of a period of renaissance for the teen comedy. After the genre had been completely burnt out by the end of the ’80s, there was an unspoken agreement that making a movie about a bunch of pretty young people partying and worrying about their futures was not a good idea for most of the next decade. I mean, grunge was going on…we were too depressed to think about prom. It only took a few years for youth culture’s pretentious brooding to wear off and for pop acts and teen comedies to rear their pimply heads once again, however, and by the time 1999 rolled around the multiplexes were awash with a new crop of teen actors.
One of the crown jewels of that late ’90s renaissance was 10 Things I Hate About You, a loose, high school-set adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew that starred a couple kids who went on to become people like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Heath Ledger, and Julia Stiles (is she still a person?). The movie became so successful over time, in fact, that it’s director, Gil Junger, recently told Variety that he made more money last year off its residuals than he did during its original release. You know what that means in Hollywood terms…money got me thinkin’ sequels!
Due to the continued interest in his 1999 comedy (which he already spun off into 12 episodes of a TV series in 2009), Junger is hard at work putting together a sequel for the film, which he’s calling 10 Things I Hate About Life. He says that the new movie has Captain America actress Hayley Atwell attached to star and that it will “advance the situations” from the original 10 Things I Hate About You.
What does “advance the situations” mean? I’ll let Junger explain the new movie in his own words. According to the director, his new script, “is the story of two relatable, ordinary people with normal jobs and normal desires whose seemingly great lives have become unmanageable. Two people who go to the same place at the same time to end it…Their chance meeting is so awkward, so raw, and so funny, they postpone their intentions and go their separate ways.”
Wait a second.
This new movie stars the girl from Captain America instead of any of the actors from the first movie, it doesn’t seem to revisit any of the characters from the first movie, and it’s about suicide? How is this a sequel to the teen comedy where Heath Ledger sang a Frankie Valli song to a girl out on the school football field again?
Oh, I get it. They both have “10 Things” in their titles. Very clever, Mr. Junger, very clever.