READING. WRITING. REVENGE.
Good high school movies don’t come easily, so catch this one. Most of its themes feel rather adult, not least the political part of the story, with Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) running unopposed for class president and clashing with teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) who makes sure that she is challenged. Politics can bring out the worst in people; the filmmakers teach us that it is up to the human factor to decide who wins, not ideology, and sex can certainly make a difference. The movie is bright and amusing; especially Witherspoon is a lot of fun as Tracy, and Broderick is the perfect loser. The only problem is the ending, which I found less than satisfying.
1999-U.S. 103 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, David Gale, Keith Samples. Directed by Alexander Payne. Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor. Novel: Tom Perrotta. Cast: Matthew Broderick (Jim McAllister), Reese Witherspoon (Tracy Flick), Chris Klein (Paul Metzler), Jessica Campbell, Mark Harelik, Phil Reeves.
Last word: “I basically made that whole film for two reasons. One was that I liked the formal challenge of having multiple voiceovers – it has four people telling you the plot of the film in voiceover. But secondly, it has this one shot, and that shot so cracked me up that I wanted to have a whole film just for it. There’s a guy who’s preparing to have an illicit affair in a cheap motel and he goes to that motel to make everything just right. He puts some champagne in the sink with ice from the ice machine and he puts out Russell Stover chocolates. And then there’s the shot where he gets into the bathtub and he washes his ass and his balls and his dick. He’s squatted over in the bathtub washing himself. The whole film was pretty much just for that shot.” (Payne, The Talks)