Clueless: a movie of the past or inspiration for the future?

20 Dec

Clueless came on today on a cable channel. My brother and I explained to our younger brother how important this movie was to us. Some how it represented a part of our childhood. Clueless was released in 1995 and starred Alicia Silverstone (Cher), Stacey Dash (Dionne) , and the late Brittney Murphy (Tai).

I was surprised to see how much of the fashion in that movie is making a come back today.

1. plaid

Still of Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash in Clueless

2. kneehigh socks

3. loafers

4. see through blouses (right)

5. feather collars

6. small backpacks

Not only was the fashion similar to today’s emerging trends but there were also Starbucks cups in multiple scenes of the movie

but my youngest brother pointed out that in the opening scene Cher’s computer is a touch screen!

So I ask, were we clueless, clueless to the marketing strategy of the film? I mean it is clear to me that without films like these, that shaped our adolescence, companies like starbucks and apple would not be as successful as they are. This film is part of the reason our consumer selves exist. I am in no way suggesting that Clueless is the reason for our consumer culture but it certainly has something to do with it. Afterall, Cher and Dionne relieve their stress with shop-therapy.

This of course is but one of the many themes of this movie. Cher’s disinterest in high school boys and her ability to be comfortable by herself, without needing to be in a relationship, changes drastically when a new boy Justin Walker (Christian) arrives at school. He turns out to be gay, but Cher finds herself in love with her older step brother Paul Rudd (Josh). Josh is the intellectual environmentally conscious college guy who sits by the pool with some Nietzche.

This movie is obviously satirical, but to my young adolescent senses it was real life. I knew I would never have the money, looks, or access that these characters had but I aspired to it. I couldn’t see how ridiculous this whole story was and ate it up. I wanted a computer, a cell phone, a jeep, clothes, and a boyfriend because with these things I would be someone important, someone popular… of course now I know that none of those things make you a person let alone happy. Actually most of those things actually hurt people. That is, all those people who are working in terrible conditions to make those products. So maybe we continue to be clueless. But I know that the makers of clueless weren’t. They were extremely smart people, I actually think it’s a sort of social commentary, if not then, definitely now. Clueless is now becoming our present, at least those of us in this so-called “first world”, so what’s in store for the future?

Keep your eyes open in fifteen years we might all be vampires and  werewolves….


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