Friday, April 22, 2011

Pretty Little Liars

Cruel Intentions
Director: Roger Kumble
Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Sean Patrick Thomas, Joshua Jackson, Christine Baranski
Released: March 5, 1999

I was considering if I should review this movie, loosely based on Dangerous Liaisons, as part of my "Ten Teen Movies That Came Out When I Was a Teen" because it only fills one of the requirements in my teen movie checklist. Not only that, but the characters are rich and attend a prep school in Manhattan, not a public high school like the other characters do in the other teen movies. Also, the film takes place during summer and there's only one scene shown at the school at the end. But since this movie prominently features teenagers (played by actors in their early 20s, of course) and because it's one of my guilty pleasures, of course I had to count it.

Sebastian (Phillippe) and Kathryn (Gellar) are privileged stepsiblings who are teetering on the edge of having an incestuous relationship (and you all know how I feel about relationships between stepsiblings if you've read my Clueless review - yes, you are not related by blood, but your parents are married to each other!) Sebastian and Kathryn take delight in hurting other people and ruining their reputations, especially Kathryn. She puts new meaning to the term "evil stepsister." She is one evil bey-otch. I suppose one could compare her to Blair Waldorf, who is also a rich Manhattanite who loves to scheme and manipulate people, but the only difference is Blair is loyal to her friends, while Kathryn only pretends to be friends with people, but secretly hates everyone and is only looking out for herself. SMG's hair is dyed brown for this role and I'm guessing they did they so she wouldn't look too much like Buffy with her blonde hair, and also probably because Reese is a blonde, but the brown hair works for her character.

The kids aren't alright, but that room is pretty awesome!
Reese plays Annette, the new girl from Kansas (why is it always Kansas?) who plans to wait until she's married before she has sex. Sebastian bets Kathryn that he can make her fall for him and sleep with him before the school year starts. Meanwhile, Kathryn is set on getting back at a new girl who's starting at their school (Selma Blair) because her ex dumped her for Cecile. She has plans to ruin Cecile's reputation and make her the school floozy. I always thought it was hilarious how people made such a big deal of the kiss between Selma and SMG (remember, it won the MTV award for Best Kiss). I also loved how Kathryn just decides she should teach Cecile how to kiss while they're sitting in the middle of Central Park with tons of people around.

She kissed a girl..and she liked it!
I have always been a little confused by how old Cecile is suppose to be. I know the other young characters are entering into their senior year of high school, and while Cecile is really immature and acts younger than them, I just can't see a twenty-something Selma Blair playing a 14/15 year old. It just rings really untrue to me. Maybe she was also supposed to be a senior and was just transferring schools? I've seen this movie three times and still have never gotten that.

While Sebastian is busy trying to seduce Annette so he can win the bet, he slowly begins to realize he actually has feelings for her and realizes he is in love with her...but will they be able to be together? If you've seen the movie, you know the answer to this!

Can we take a second to talk about how gorgeous this movie is? Yes, obviously the actors are all very attractive, but I'm talking about the props and the designs of the room. Sebastian has a sweet ride. It's a '56 Jaguar something something and it is one nice car. Also, the penthouse Sebastian and Kathryn live in (by themselves, since it seems his dad and her mom are always away on business trips) make the penthouses the characters from Gossip Girl live in look like shacks. Hell, their place makes Donald Trump's look really cheap! All the rooms are exquisite, filled with antique furniture that gives it a 18th century French vibe. I especially love the nice touch of those old rotary phones. I like how it mixes classic with modern. (Well, I guess you couldn't consider the cell phone Sebastian uses modern anymore, haha). My favorite room in their penthouse is Kathryn's room. I love that room! If I were one of those spoiled rich teens on My Sweet Sixteen, I would totally want and demand her room. Her room is painted this gorgeous deep blue color and she has a canopy over her bed and all her furniture, again, is very antiquated. If I were her, I would never leave my room! I also love how she has a framed photo of herself on one of the tables. Nice touch of her being narcissistic.


Checklist time!

Is there a party scene? Negative

Is there a prom scene? Negative
Is there a football scene? Negative 
Is there a make over scene?, unless you count Kathryn trying to "make over" Cecile. 
Is there a scene where all the different high school cliques are being shown? Negative
Was this movie spoofed in Not Another Teen Movie? Yes, the famous kiss scene was spoofed. I don't remember if any other scenes were, though.

Do I own the soundtrack/favorite song - Yes, and my absolutely favorite song in the movie is  Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve. I absolutely love that song.  Colorblind by the Counting Crows (in fact, the lead singer wrote that song specifically for the movie, which I had no idea), comes in at a close second and I also love  Trip on Love by Abra Moore, Every You, Every Me by Placebo, and Praise You by Fatboy Slim. 

Darkest scene - The whole movie is pretty dark, after all, it's about two teens who are trying to destroy reputations! But the scene where Reese and Ryan fight and yell at each other is pretty brutal.

Favorite line -  "Everybody loves me and I intend to keep it that way." - Kathryn. Also when Cecile complains that her iced tea doesn't take like ice tea and Sebastian tells her it's from Long Island.

Favorite character - Even though she's manipulative, I love to hate Kathryn. SMG did a fantastic job at making her so deliciously evil. Never once did I think of her as a certain vampire slayer. She makes the other characters look boring in comparison. A close second would be Joshua Jackson's gay, drug-dealing friend of Sebastian who wears sweater vests.

Good vs Evil
Favorite scene - The scene at the end where everybody learns the truth about Kathryn and that she's a deceitful, lying bitch who has done all these awful things. On the one hand, it's great that she's finally getting the comeuppance she so deserves, but on the other hand, SMG plays her with a vulnerability at that one scene and I started to feel sorry for her when she started crying, though we know she's only crying because she got caught and that she doesn't feel bad about what she did. This is also the scene where my favorite song is played and it just fits so perfectly with the scene.
Hey, it's the '90s! - Really, the only reference where we know it's the '90s besides the soundtrack is a scene at the beginning where Tara Ried is looking at the Internet and you can tell it's AOL. Ah, remember the good old days of AOL?  Actually, I hated AOL. It always caused me problems.

And now to continue on to my list on why 1999 is the best graduation year ever!

1. Many teen/high school movies came out in 1999.
2. The song  that told people to "party like it's 1999."
3.  Buffy Summers is an alum from the class of '99! (Graduation Day, Part Two, anybody?)

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