‘Clueless’ Turns 25: Movie Trivia That’ll Make You Say “As If!”

The iconic teen film Clueless hit theaters 25 years ago this week (we’re that old? As if!) So, naturally, the only way to celebrate is by sharing 25 pieces of trivia regarding the movie which has stood the test of time (I still want Cher’s closet). Also, this is an easy way to show my favorite Halloween costume of all time (see the bottom of the article). Check out the following bits of trivia and be sure to stream Clueless on Netflix!

  1. Alicia Silverstone (Cher) actually did not know how to correctly pronounce “Haitians” in the classroom scene. Director Amy Heckerling told the crew not to correct her because she liked it so much and wanted it to be in the film.
  2. Cher’s “Haitians” speech in debate class was initially a full minute longer; it was used in its entirety as the first half of an original theatrical trailer. It was cut for the final film but featured additional comparisons to her garden party, including a rant on “mismatched chairs which was totally icky.”
  3. Plot, characters, themes, and values are all based on Jane Austen’s novel “Emma”. Amy Heckerling was asked by Paramount to write a film for teenagers, and she instantly remembered the novel she read as a teenager.
  4. Although with many obvious modernizations and adaptations having been made, Clueless actually does still dovetail pretty closely to the original plot and central set of characters found in Austen’s novel “Emma.” In terms of the cast, for instance, Cher is Emma, Josh is Mr Knightley, Tai is Harriet Smith, Elton is Mr. Elton, Travis is Robert Martin, Christian is a loose and much more sympathetic version of Frank Churchill, and Dionne could feasibly be Mrs. Weston (although it is also possible, given that Cher attempts to matchmake the two of them, that Mr. Hall and Miss Geist could also be Mr. and Mrs. Weston, who, likewise, Emma claims to have matched).
  5. Alicia Silverstone had created a buzz with her appearances in two popular Aerosmith music videos and did not have to audition for her role in the film.
  6. Cher’s teacher comments on her report card are as follows: English Composition – excellent composition & vocabulary, Debate – unprepared & undisciplined, Bio I – wouldn’t dissect a frog, Phys Ed – must learn responsibility, World History – must try harder to pay attention to current events, Geometry – nice shapes.
  7. The high school where the students attend is “Bronson Alcott High School.” Bronson Alcott was a nineteenth-century Transcendentalist writer, best known for starting an ultimately unsuccessful Utopian community called “Fruitlands,” and for being the father of “Little Women” author Louisa May Alcott. At one time, Amy Heckerling dated Bronson Pinchot, whose middle name is “Alcott,” after the author. “Bronson Alcott” is also the name of the prep school in Nat Hentoff’s 1976 novel “This School is Driving Me Crazy,” where the protagonist’s father is headmaster.
  8. Included among the American Film Institute’s 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
  9. Cher’s last name is given as Horowitz, but shown on her report card as Hamilton. This may be an in-joke, as director Amy Heckerling’s previously directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) featured a character named Stacey Hamilton.
  10. Stacey Dash was the oldest cast member among those who played students. She was 29 and portrayed a character almost half her age.
  11. Director Cameo (Amy Heckerling): makes a cameo as Miss Geist’s maid of honor at the wedding scene. She is also in the bouquet-catching scene and is the source of most of the struggling.
  12. When Christian first appears at the class, Cher has new hopes for high school boys. However, as the shot pans from her gaze to him in the doorway, just over his left shoulder on the wall in the classroom is a cutout headline from the newspaper which reads, “On the Road to Nowhere.”
  13. Clueless was ranked at #7 on Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Best High School Movies (2006).
  14. During the film, there are fifty-three different kinds of tartan/plaid used, seven of which are worn by Cher, and twelve by other major characters.
  15. The part of Mr. Hall was based on real Beverly Hills High debate teacher Herb Hall, a friend of director Amy Heckerling. As a favor, the real Herb Hall was given the part of the school Principal.
  16. According to “As If!” a book by Jen Chaney celebrating the twentieth anniversary of this film, though many people think the costuming budget must have been high for the film, it was actually quite modest for a big blockbuster film. Costume designer Mona May wanted the girls to look like mall rats, not models, so her 63 outfit changes only cost $200,000. The biggest costume expense was the plaid Jean Paul Gaultier outfit Alicia Silverstone wears in the opening scenes, an outfit that she got to keep, along with all her outfits from the film which, as she told Entertainment Weekly magazine, she gave away to charity.
  17. While filming, Paul Rudd was mugged and had his backpack stolen, which held his script for the movie. The film also includes a mugging scene.
  18. Paul Rudd auditioned for the roles of Murray, Christian and Elton. Rudd assumed that the character of Murray was a white teenager trying to act like a rapper.
  19. During the game of “Suck and Blow,” the cast was unable to sustain the breath to make a real credit card pass from mouth to mouth; a prop card made of cardboard was substituted that still did not work. Holes were drilled into it to make it easier, and when this failed also, the whole cast’s lips were heavily coated in chapstick to force the card to stick.
  20. The baseball hat that Josh (Paul Rudd) wears is a KU hat for University of Kansas. He is a KU alumnus where he majored in theater and was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. Rudd is from Kansas and graduated from Shawnee Mission West High School.
  21. According to the script for Clueless, the restaurant scenes were supposed to take place at California Pizza Kitchen, but when the CEOs of that franchise read the breadstick/penis jokes in the script, they would not allow filming to take place in their restaurants.
  22. The little convertible car which Christian drives to Cher’s house is a 1954 Nash Metropolitan.
  23. Cher’s address is listed as 901 Drury Ln Beverly Hills, 90212.
  24. Many cast members would go on to collaborate in the future (Alicia Silverstone and Jeremy Sisto in Suburgatory, and Brittany Murphy and Breckin Meyer on King of the Hill. Silverstone and director Heckerling would collaborate years later on a vampire comedy, Vamps).
  25. The films that Christian watches on video with Cher, Some Like It Hot (1959) and Spartacus (1960), provide clues to his sexual orientation. The first movie deals with cross-dressing men (who are escaping from a mob hit). The second includes the famous scene where a Roman master (Laurence Olivier) tries to seduce his male servant (Tony Curtis). Both these movies also include Tony Curtis.
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Left to right: Me, Julia, and Aliyah rocking Clueless costumes for Halloween 2014.

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