29 July, 2008

Clueless and Extraordinary

I watched the movie Clueless this weekend, and although it's fluffy and undeniably Southern California, it's also pretty damn funny. The cliches are so heavy-handed, stacked so unbearably high, that you can't help but enjoy the fun. Cher's inanity and self-absorbed charity are over the top, but you have to admire some of her spunk: she's absolutely the Elle Woods of the nineties, albeit one who's a little less fit for Harvard Law School.

As I was watching the movie, I found myself thinking about Liz Phair, and although this digression may seem inexplicable, it made sense in my own mind. First of all, Liz Phair and Alicia Silverstone look alike! They're both blonde and conventionally gorgeous, but they also both strike me as "anti-blondes" who get their kicks out of playing roles that are beautifully sarcastic. Clueless was probably the peak of this popular subversion for Silverstone, while Exile In Guyville was Phair's early subversive peak. Since these career high points, they've both kind of done work that had to be done. You have to make a living, right? So, maybe we can forgive Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and "Why Can't I?", and sometimes even enjoy these blockbuster bumps when we're feeling tired or goofy. The low-points shouldn't necessarily define the careers of two strong and sarcastic women. The "anti-blonde" is probably still burning underneath the streamlined surface, so we can overlook some missteps and just enjoy the perfect sarcastic candy that Silverstone and Phair released at their peak.

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