The 1999 modern retelling of Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew remains a cult classic over two decades later for a reason. In the rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You, new student Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) wants to go out with popular sophomore Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). There’s just one problem: not only is Bianca more interested in senior Joey Donner, she also can’t date unless her older sister, Kat (Julia Stiles), dates, owing to their overprotective father’s rule. This leads Cameron to come up with a plan: he persuades bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to woo Kat — for a price, of course. And Patrick has certainly got his work cut out for him, since Kat is adamantly antisocial and antidating. Eventually, Patrick wins her over and starts to (gasp!) catch real feelings for her (meanwhile, we were over here catching real feelings for Heath Ledger).
The movie is packed with unforgettable moments, like when Kat drunkenly dances on top of a table (this supposedly got Julia Stiles cast in Save the Last Dance) and when Patrick serenades Kat on the school’s bleachers as a romantic grand gesture. Who didn’t want to go out on a paintball date after that scene of Patrick and Kat making out covered in paint? Oh, and not to mention that iconic punch Bianca lands on Joey.
The film is full of young actors who went on to become stars, including Gabrielle Union, who was criminally underused in quite a few ’90s and early 2000s teen movies. 10 Things I Hate About You has definitely stood the test of time with its strong, feminist woman lead, but it’s definitely a product of its time, when the landscape of teen rom-coms was overly white and heteronormative.
If you want another movie that makes you feel all the giddiness of 10 Things, this list has plenty of ideas. Including more Shakespeare adaptations, like Romeo + Juliet, the satirical Not Another Teen Movie, cult classic She’s All That, and women-led teen buddy comedy Booksmart, this list is full of gems that are as sharp and utterly romantic as 10 Things I Hate About You.
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