She Could Be a Farmer in Those Clothes

The good news is Amy Heckerling is back and she’s reteaming with Alicia Silverstone. The bad news is, it’s vampires.

According to Screen Daily, “Vamps tells the modern-day tale of two female vampires who live it up in New York until love enters the picture, when each has to make a choice that will jeopardize their immortality.” Jesus. More of this?

I’m trying to have faith that despite the material, Heckerling and Silverstone will alchemize, and turn this nonsense into the kind of sweet-tempered parody they made of Clueless. No one needs to be reminded that Clueless, which celebrates its fifteenth birthday this year, was one of the most popular comedies – critically and commercially – of the nineties. Even today, just about everyone agrees that it’s good. But I’m not sure we’ve even scratched the surface. It’s actually really good.

Today, looking back on the film, it’s clearer than ever that Clueless, more than being merely funny, was profoundly attuned to its cultural moment, that Amy Hecklering had the shrewdness to see, often on a subatomic scale, everything that was ridiculous about Cher Horowitz and her little world, as well as the sensitivity, on occasion, to lend her an empathic hand. At its best, it was almost like being in a Paul Mazursky movie. Hecklerling has that kind of eye. Even a figure like Jeff Spicoli, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, is, like one of the characters out of Down and Out in Beverly Hills, drawn with a lunacy commensurate with total seriousness.

Pauline Kael, writing about Mazursky’s, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, could have been writing of Hecklerling when she observed, “What made his earlier films so distinctive was the acceptance of bugginess as part of the normal – maybe even the best part of it. In his films, craziness gives life its savor. When Mazursky makes fun of characters, it’s not to put them down; quite the reverse – the scattier they are, the more happily he embraces them.”

Heckerling sees teenagers from both sides; to her they are half-Twilight, half-American Pie. So you see, she may be onto something really good in Vamps.

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One response to “She Could Be a Farmer in Those Clothes

  1. Being a fellow CLUELESS lover, I so, so wish I could share your optimism – but after cheerleading for Heckerling, I had to deal with LOSER (2000), that loser of a rom-com, and no one’s even seen I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN (2007), despite (or because of) the pairing of Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd… So unless Heckerling has somehow magicked herself into an inspired reinvention of the wheel (and her own talents), I gotta say the prospect of her helming yet another vampire comedy, Silverstone or no, only fills me with dread.

    Meanwhile, I’m with you on your Garry M. comment, especially after reading the script of VALENTINE’S DAY – on the page, at least, it’s pure horse manure.

    Just thought I’d cheer up your afternoon!

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