10 Reasons To Watch '10 Things I Hate About You' With Your Tween

Want to feel old? The classic high school rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You is 25 years old this year — it initially hit theaters on March 31, 1999.

Don’t tell me you don’t remember it: It’s The Taming of the Shrew spin-off where Joey Donner (played by ’90s heartthrob Andrew Keegan) pays bad boy Patrick Verona (the late Heath Ledger) to date Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles pre-Save the Last Dance) so that he can get permission to date her younger sister, Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik post-Alex Mack).

I don’t have to tell you that many-a-rom-com does not stand the test of time. But having recently rewatched this particular classic, I stand behind my rec to follow suit.


And while you’re at it? Recruit your preteens. Sure, you might have to define “throbbing member” and hide the markers, lest your kid be inspired to illustrate a penis on their sibling’s face. But here are 10 reasons why you should still make this movie a family event.

1. It will give your kids exposure to an epic cast.

God, I forgot how charming Heath Ledger could be — RIP.

The cast also includes 500 Days of Summer’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt (playing Cameron James), David Krumholtz (Michael), who recently showed up as Isidor Isaac Rabi in Oppenheimer, and even cameos from Allison Janney, who plays the perverted guidance counselor/romance novelist Ms. Perky, and Gabrielle Union, who plays Bianca’s two-faced friend, Chastity. So it’s like a Hollywood master class.

2. It’s got an even more epic soundtrack.

I mean, the movie opens with the iconic (if not also a little problematic) “One Week” from Barenaked Ladies’ 1998 soundtrack. Also? It features “I Want You to Want Me” and “Cruel to Be Kind,” which pretty much encapsulate the teenage experience, as I recall.

3. It features excellent life lessons.

In less than an hour and 40 minutes, your kid will learn:

  • Most rumors are bullshit. Patrick did not, like, do jail time or eat a live duck save the beak and feet.
  • People aren’t always as they seem. Joey is a hottie but a dick.
  • There’s a difference between like and love. Exhibit A: Skechers shoes. Exhibit B: Prada backpack.
  • Teachers are people, too. Ms. Perky is one horny lady!
  • Cultural appropriation is stupid and bad. Just look at Kat’s classmates, a pair of idiotic white wannabe Rastafarians who get dragged by their Black teacher for implying they can relate to the struggles of racism.

It’s all there, people!

4. It offers a window into social life without phones.

The flier advertising Bogie Lowenstein’s wine-and-cheese nerd gathering is adorably analog. And it’s refreshing to watch a teen movie without text messages replacing 98% of dialogue. Better yet, Kat and Patrick go paddle boating and paintballing. Bianca and Cameron go sailing, for god’s sake. Not one of these activities involves “Netflix and chilling” or sitting side-by-side in silence, simultaneously scrolling through TikTok.

5. It’s a segue to explain inflation.

When Patrick outlines the cost of dating Kat, he estimates movie tickets cost just $15(!). Meanwhile, he estimates, a prom limo, tux rental, and flowers cost just $200. In what world, your kid might ask? A: The ’90s.

6. It’s living proof that you used to dress cool.

From Kat and Bianca’s crop tops (or “baby-tees,” if you prefer) to their loose-fitting low-rise jeans, platform sandals, Barbie pink prom dress, and even a Fiorucci sweatshirt thrown into the mix — most of this stuff could have come from your teenage closet *and* I’m told, is still (more or less) “in.” The throwbacks will make you feel in the know… save the cringe-worthy prom-updos and hideous spaghetti straps with visible bra straps. (What were we thinking?!)

7. It’ll surely expand their vocabulary.

From “throbbing member” to “spank bank,” “heinous bitch,” “rampalean wench,” “miscreants,” and “orgy,” who knows what terms could surface on the SATs.

8. It’s a solid sampler of Shakespeare.

Never mind that the entire plot stems from one of Shakespeare’s finest plays — just bank on your kid missing that. They can’t, however, snooze through English teacher Mr. Morgan’s recitation of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 141.” It’s like music to a romantic’s ears.

9. The script features an abundance of one-liners that you can (and should) make your own.

I could quote this movie until kingdom come. And everyone knows that whipping out the perfect line at the perfect time is so much more satisfying when someone — perhaps your kid? — can cackle alongside you.

  • When you need an excuse to get out of carpool: “My insurance does not cover PMS.”
  • When your youngest kid won’t stop fondling the most delicate sh*t in the shop: “Don’t touch anything! You’ll get hepatitis.”
  • When an annoying mom asks you to get coffee after school drop-off: “Maybe if we were the last two people alive, and there were no sheep. Are there sheep?”
  • When your kid asks you the stupidest question for the 17th time in a row: “I think you can in Europe.”
  • When your kid needs a pep talk before you’ve had your coffee: “Don’t let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want. Go for it!”

10. It’s fun to see ancient ’90s tech.

You’ve got beepers. You’ve got CDs. You’ve got clunky televisions playing Real World and the original influencers: infomercials. And at school? The projector on a cart and the big ol’ Macs with the floppy disks will bring you back. This movie is like a museum.

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