Cruel Intentions: A Film About Guilt, Full of Nostalgia

Your favorite film about guilt doesn’t have to be a cinematic masterpiece. It can be awkward, weird, and problematic.

What is your film about guilt?

A popular movie that you can watch and forget about everything in the world, quoting every line. You watch it at least once a year and usually by yourself, because it belongs to you, to the moment in time, to the feeling.

And best of all, it doesn’t even have to be a great movie or a classic from the pop culture canon. It shouldn’t be Casablanca or star Wars or When Harry Met Sally.

It can be as stupid as freddy fingered or like nuff like 27 dresses or as stunning as Jupiter Ascending. Maybe you will tell people that you spent a rainy Saturday studying Godfather trilogy, but actually watched High School Music School, School Musical 2, High School Musical 3: Senior Year as well as Sharpei’s fairy tale adventure.

It’s okay, this is your movie about guilt, so you’re welcome to accept the “guilty” part, no matter how embarrassing your choice may be.

My Cruel Intentionsfilm adaptation of the 18th century novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in 1999. Les Liaisons Dangereusesturning the heartless French aristocracy into lewd high schoolers on New York’s Upper East Side.

Filmmaker Roger Kumble took de Laclos’ story of moral bankruptcy and gave it a different, still-relevant twist. They’re Manhattan’s teenage elite – they can’t legally vote or drink yet, but their vast wealth makes them immune to decency, humanity, and remorse.

The story of incredibly beautiful step-siblings Katherine and Sebastian, who manipulate their classmates with the help of psychosexual games. Cruel Intentions was prepared for me.

In 1999 I was 14 years old, I was obsessed Buffy and Sarah Michelle Gellar – and, by association, was quite in love with Ryan Phillippe because he was in I know what you did last summer with my favorite vampire slayer (sorry Faith).

I remember the promo very well. Phillip’s devilish smile was only surpassed by Gellar’s self-satisfied awareness as she bet her half-brother that he couldn’t seduce the new high school virgin, accompanied by the Sneaker Pimps’ “6 Underground” songs.

But there was a problem. At the age of 14, this film – with its brazen sex, drugs and shocking immorality – seemed too young and impressionable to me. It received an MA15+ rating.

An attempt was made to “break in” on the last day of the school term, which was foiled by a belligerent janitor at the now-defunct Sydney cinema on George St. Village Street. He wouldn’t let us in without a cardboard transport card, issued only to students aged 15 and over, which we temporarily borrowed to buy tickets.

We saw with friends This is what she is all about. instead in a crowded movie theater full of teenagers who were supposed to be in school. Despite the fact that Gellar had a cameo role in This is what she is all about.I hated it and often wondered if it was because I resented watching this movie instead of what I really wanted.

Two days later I convinced a 19 year old family friend to take me and that was all I wanted. Erotic tête-à-tête between Katherine and Sebastian, the way they flaunted their teenage sexuality, THIS kiss in Central Park. My first kiss—an awkward romp in the back of the bus—was still a year away, so everything on screen was intoxicating.

It may seem relatively chaste now, but that was four months ago. American Pie and eight years ago Gossip – and nearly two decades since the era of smutty teen movies began. Porky as well as Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

It was something that Cruel Intentions not only high school students who openly talked about and engaged in sex, but also used it to manipulate and gain power. Dolly the magazine never told us about it.

No wonder when I told my American uncle that Cruel Intentions was my favorite movie, he was horrified that I even saw it and grumbled about how inappropriate it was.

Continued straight to video Cruel Intentions 2was actually a remastered version of the first three episodes of the prequel spin-off that was canceled because executives felt it was too risqué for television.

By the time a buddy and I headed west a week later to the also-defunct Roxy cinemas in Parramatta, where they were known not to check IDs, for a second screening, it had cemented its pop status. a culture that will stay with me forever.

I played the soundtrack so often that the CD case (which I still have) shattered into pieces. I searched all the Supres and Valley Girls for anything that looked like Katherine’s sheer tops. Oscar de la Renta and Donna Karan were not in my budget.

Fast forward to 2022, after about four dozen replays, and Cruel Intentions the musical is touring Australia. This is good? May be. Like, like, something like. It is much more fun and larger than its spiky predecessor. This often borders on parody, but it was also obvious that the audience was laughing with him, not at him.

But nostalgia is an incredibly powerful thing, it can take us to a time we never fully let go. At the State Theatre, on the Sydney lot Cruel Intentions: The 90s MusicalI was 14 again – I was deeply obsessed and loved every moment of it.

The production is a jukebox musical with only a few songs from the film’s soundtrack, but it’s jam-packed with ’90s pop hits, from N’SYNC and Britney to Meredith Brooks and Mandy Moore.

The tracklist initially confused me (how dare they mess with it?!), confused as to why Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” was here when it was so strongly associated with This is what she is all about.or “I don’t want to wait” by Paula Cole, which was used as dawson’s bay theme song from season 2 onwards (actually I preferred Jann Arden’s “Run Like Mad”, sssshhh).

This confluence of ’90s pop culture nostalgia was exactly why the musical was so exhilarating. He evoked all the goodwill of another era, relying not only on Cruel Intentions movie.

When the cast began to perform “Lovefool” by The Cardigans (an excerpt from which was in the original film), it brought back memories of the game. Romeo+Juliet soundtrack on repeat as the Goo Goo Dolls’ Iris brings viewers back to City of Angels.

Chastushkas from Boyz II Men, Ace of Base, No Doubt and Marcy Playground, organically integrated into the plot and the rhythms of the characters, produced the same effect.

But the essence of nostalgia is that you have to be honest about what it really was. Was it the best time? And don’t we remember and keep only the best moments of any point?

The danger of nostalgia is that it ignores parts of history that we don’t want to remember but are essential to understanding who we are right now on a personal, local and global level.

For many, the current obsession with the 90s may be partly due to the fact that it was a time before 9/11 when the world seemed less scary and uncertain. But the fear of the year 2000 wasn’t funny, nor was John Howard’s embrace of Pauline Hanson and her racism. And minority groups faced much more blatant discrimination.

At 14, with raging hormones, drama at school and at home, my life wasn’t perfect.

And there was no Cruel Intentions, movie. Not all of the acting was consistent, some of the lines were nasty, there’s a weird editing thing that suggests a couple of scenes should have been in a different order, Sebastian’s hero’s journey isn’t entirely convincing, and some of the sexual politics is unambiguously problematic.

But if you’re honest about all of this, about what that heavy dose of nostalgia evokes, and how the present has its ups and downs, then slipping back into the moment, the feeling, the obsession can be dizzying and fun.

Deal with it.

Cruel Intentions: The Musical of the 90s is currently playing in Sydney, followed by Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.

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