Blu-ray review: ’10 Things I Hate About You’ and three things I liked about it

rl_10thingsGood heavens. Ten years already since 10 Things I Hate About You came onto the scene with barely a whisper. Whoa, before you categorically denounce me for using the word “whisper” in conjunction with this movie, let me explain myself. You see, 10 Things I Hate About You was released at the same time as The Matrix in 1999. In fact, when 10 Things debuted at No. 2 behind the blockbuster Wachowski sci-fi flick, you could pretty much guess where I was since we all know I’m as manly as it gets (*cough*). Unfortunately, I never failed to discover the movie in theaters.

Being a then-19-year-old American male means I couldn’t openly like romantic comedies in front of the lads. Doing so risks being blackballed…or black-and-blue balled…or kicked in the balls if I were to be caught expressing any interest in watching Heath Ledger or Julia Stiles. Such a sad, sad sack I once was. (You know, I was the only one in my group dating any girls. I should have been the one handing out black-and-blue balls…but I digress (slowly)).

During a late-night date after the movie’s home release, my girlfriend popped in the DVD and we finally watched 10 Things I Hate About You. I was fully prepared to hate it because, again, I’m a teenage boy who was the cock of the walk, the manly-man-chest-beater-who-crushed-squirrels-with-cars-and-backhanded-hos-while-donkey-punching-other-manly-men. Damn right.

I liked the movie; in fact, dare I say it, I actually liked it a lot. The film became one of my guilty teen favorites alongside Can’t Hardly Wait. Was it cheesy? Sure, sometimes I suppose but the performances from the then barely known actors was exciting. Ledger was great (and I’m not saying that because he’s no longer with us in some vacant lionizing, I mean it), Stiles was terrific and a young, still on TV’s 3rd Rock From the Sun, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (Sidebar your Honor? If you haven’t seen Gordon-Levitt in Brick or the recent (500) Days of Summer, do so right-[expletive] now.)

Though the film has been on DVD (VHS, too!) for over a decade, now was a good opportunity to rehash some memories on a re-release of a 10th Anniversary edition on Blu-ray. Why? Because ABC Family has a new series based on the film, which is based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. If there’s anything I’m a proponent for, it’s the subliminal Shakespearean education of our spoiled American youth.


Presented in 1.85:1 with a 1080p resolution, the movie looks very sharp, but it’s really nothing special. The blacks are deep and the transfer appears crisp. There is nothing to distract you from Ledger running around on the stands during The Scene.

The English track is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Again, nothing terribly or overly exciting here. The dialogue isn’t suppressed by all the melodrama. For our French and Spanish speaking friends, there’s a Dolby Digital 5.1 track for you. If you’re deaf, you get an English SDH, unleaded English, Spanish, French and, you guessed it, Portuguese(?).

Sorry Koreans and Greenlandians.

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary with the film’s writers Karen Lutz and Kirsten Smith. For kicks, we also have Andrew Keegan, David Krumholtz, Larisa Oleynik and Susan May Pratt.
  • 10 Things I Love About 10 Things I Hate About You 10 Years Later: This annoyingly titled featurette shows all the cool literary references in the film along with music spots and snippets of the young actors. Also included are interview segments with director Gil Junger, the writers and “never-before-scene” footage. It’s pretty interesting and worth a look.
  • I Want You To Want Me: The 10 Things I Hate About You Screen Tests: Another featurette that contains screen tests for Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Larisa Oleynik and Susan May Pratt. Sadly no Joseph Gordon-Levitt.