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Book Review: As If!: The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew by Jen Chaney

On July 19th, Clueless will turn 20. Over the weekend, I finished reading As If!: The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew by Jen Chaney

Acclaimed pop culture journalist Jen Chaney shares an oral history of the cult classic film Clueless in the ultimate written resource about one of the most influential, revered, and enduring movies of the 1990s—in celebration of its twentieth anniversary. Will we ever get tired of watching Cher navigate Beverly Hills high school and discover true love in the movie Clueless? As if! Written by Amy Heckerling and starring Alicia Silverstone, Clueless is an enduring comedy classic that remains one of the most streamed movies on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes even twenty years after its release. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless is an everlasting pop culture staple.

In the first book of its kind, Jen Chaney has compiled an oral history of the making of this iconic film using recollections and insights collected from key cast and crew members involved in the making of this endlessly quotable, ahead-of-its-time production. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Emma influenced Heckerling to write the script, how the stars were cast into each of their roles, what was involved in creating the costumes, sets, and soundtrack, and much more.

This wonderful twentieth anniversary commemoration includes never-before-seen photos, original call sheets, casting notes, and production diary extracts. With supplemental critical insights by the author and other notable movie experts about why Clueless continues to impact pop culture, As If! will leave fans new and old totally buggin’ as they understand why this beloved film is timeless.

Some of the highlights from the book are:
-When Emma Met Cher
In this section they talk about Austen adaptations, specially in 1995 and how Clueless stood out among the other films.  Some of those interviewed for this section are

  • Dr. Inger S.B. Brodey, professor of comparative literature at UNC-Chapel Hill and the co-organizer of UNC's annual Jane Austen Summer Program
  • Dr. Devony Looser, professor of English at Arizona State University and former member of JASNA board of directors
  • Dr. Juliette Wells, associate professor of English at Maryland's Goucher College and current member of the JASNA board of directors.

I really liked the inclusion of these women, who are not only Austen fans but also scholars.

-Casting Clueless
This section was great because they talked about all the names that were thrown around or actors who auditioned for the rolls. It would have been a much different movie if the cast wasn't the cast we know (and love).

-The Fashion and Beauty of Clueless
The fashion is basically a character in the movie. I was a bit too young to fully embrace the fashion influenced by the movie, (not to mention it's not all my style) but I do remember that I had a few things that could have been influenced by Tai's style.

There is also a section that breaks down the Classic Clueless scenes,  and the third section of the book talks about the impact of the movie.  It also discusses how it reaches all generations. Not to mention that soundtrack which was one of the first CDs I owned and I still listen to the soundtrack all the time It talks to the cast who are all still related to the movie and how Paul Rudd seems to have never aged since 1995.

The book comes out today (July 7) and if you are a Clueless fan I highly suggest picking it up and enjoying the flashback.

I received an ebook review copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I can't believe it's been 20 years! Man that makes me feel old. lol


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