When I found the film Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion on Netflix, my reaction was like seeing an old friend I’ve hadn’t talked to years–and desperately wanted to! I immediately pressed play and my mood uplifted (because I melt at anything that reminds me or is from my childhood.)
From a film lover’s point of view, I always felt that RAMHSR was underrated. It always reminded me of Clueless, for its funky outfits and imprudent dialogue that was also shamelessly hilarious. While Amy Heckerling‘s brilliant film is often tagged with the “cult following” label, its cult status has lessened since its release on VHS, becoming one of the ultimate landmarks of the 1990s popular culture. T-shirts are sold regularly through e-commerce and stores like Urban Outfitters. It’s constantly showing on cable networks like MTV, streams online, and last year Iggy Azalea remade its classic scenes in her “Fancy” music video for the Vine generation. Clueless has been adopted as an American new classic. But Romy and Michele remains under the radar. And it shouldn’t be because Oscar winner Mira Sorvino and Friends star Lisa Kudrow had seamless chemistry as the aloof but sensitive inseparable friends from Tucson, Arizona.
I first saw RAMHSR maybe no more than two years after its 1997 theatrical release. I also liked it because comedienne Janeane Garofalo co-starred in it. Her star rose in the ’90s through her work with Ben Stiller, 1994’s Reality Bites, and ’96’s romantic comedy The Truth About Cats and Dogs. She was a highlight as Heather Mooney (one of the outcasts of Sagebrush High School.)
In re-watching it this time around, in 2015, it’s got to be no coincidence that my sudden infatuation with Romy and Michele is because my own high school reunion is marked for this year. I graduated 2005. Just like that…it seems like the end of high school and whole era of my life was so long ago. I was neither here or there with high school however. I prefer to remember 2005 as Kanye, Gwen Stefani, and Kelly Clarkson. I just knew it was a period of my life I would have to complete to get on to the next chapters I actually gave a damn about. Looking back, I might’ve preferred to have been home-schooled, but I had some great teachers in 11th and 12th grade that I remain grateful for having their genuine intellect and kindness in my life. Plus, I amused myself in living vicariously though everyone else’s trial and embarrassing errors with sex, drugs, alcohol and abortion. From that first school day in September 2001, I chose the wallflower lifestyle on the spot, saving my mistakes and first pangs of heartbreak for the college years. No one hated me. No one was checking for me. When I gave people the time of day and vice versa, we were nice to each other. But I again could’ve cared less about finding my niche. I was just there.
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