I was probably 15 when I watched 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), this American teen comedy drama starred with excellent and will-be famous young actors; Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Julia Stiles. Back then, American teen movies were booming; Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, She’s All That. And I was a teenager back then, I was one of the teens who loved seeing them. But I think one of the best was 10 Things I Hate About You. Not only because there’s a very cute Ledger and adorable Levitt, and Stiles kick-ass independent anti-popular attitude. But there’s lots of wisdom in it. As a teenager, I absorbed it and still remember some of it until now. The best was one I put the picture above. Heads up, this is not a movie review, and may contain spoiler.
I never read Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew (said to be the inspiration of the movie). In the story, Stiles as Kat the leading female role was very fond of literature and feminist writers. Known as a stingy bitchy senior, and none of the boys in school would approach her because she’s so scary. But Cameron (Levitt), the new boy in school has a very big crush on her popular and sweetheart sister, Bianca. Cameron learns that Bianca is restricted to date until her sister, Kat dates. Since Cameron have no money to bribe or pay someone to date Kat, Cameron and his new loyal friend, Michael (David Krumholtz), set up the most popular guy in school, Joey (Andrew Keegan) to pay the most feared man in school, Patrick (Ledger) to date Kat. But it backfired as Bianca never really acknowledge Cameron and really likes Joey.
Cameron learns that bitter truth at a party when he sees Bianca and Joey together, feel down because he feels he can’t level Joey as the hunky man in school. Right then, Patrick says to him clearly, “Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.”
I really still remember what Patrick said, and it was one of the very true wisdom quote, possibly the earliest I learned a lesson from a movie (aside from Disney fairy tales). It’s easy to hear the quote and agree, and feel inspired. It’s easy possibly in teenage movies to see who’s the bad guy/girl who make the lead feel intimidated or worthless. But in real life, there’s many and many people direct us to what they know and what they want and what they fear. And if we lose focus, we lost sight of what we want and what we can do to approach our goals.
From getting that job people say hard or getting in a great competitive college, approaching the girl of your dreams or traveling to the moon, there’s always someone who look down on our goals (friends, frenemies, parents, sibling), and there’s a big chance those people are there to test us. It’s always up to us to listen or keep going. Possibly they worry about us (not necessarily jealous and ego) and the things we must go through, but if it keeps bugging and alarming in your mind, shouldn’t you at least tried?
Kat as a character might look stubborn and arrogant, but she’s actually quite focus on what she want to do. Her father confesses in the end that Bianca need more guidance, while Kat already do things on her own. That’s why I admire Kat up until now. She’s quite lucky to know what she wants from the very beginning and won’t let anyone direct her. While some of us need more time, and it’s fine. However, there’s no guarantee in the story that Kat will end up doing what she learns in college. Everyone can have some turns here and there first before knowing what really makes her happy.
Many times, like those regular wisdom quotes spreading on twitter, we regret the things we did not do. So if there’s something you feel you should do, you should keep going until you hit the point where you know you should let go of it because it’s bad. At least you tried. But if you made it, and possibly went through a hard road, you know it’s worth it.
I am forever thankful that I watched 10 Things I Hate About You back then and the characters in it.