Over two and a half decades since it premiered, Clueless hasn’t lost any of its original charm. It helped launch the careers of more than one star who’d make a big name for themselves in the coming years – including Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy, and Donal Faison. Overall, it’s one of the best coming-of-age comedies in the stream that came out in the years around it.
The acting and plot are both on point, but what made the movie truly memorable was its almost endless quotability – more than one piece of which entered 90s slang and then stuck around like they had always been there.
10 “Ugh, As If!”
Cher’s iconic phrase – both a brush-off and an expression of disgust all wrapped up in one convenient package – is one of the most memorable phrases from the movie, and one that promptly worked its way into the lexicon of early 90s teenagers.
Alicia Silverstone’s expression of disgust completely sells it here. Director Amy Heckerling has explained its origins in the years since the movie premiered: she had heard the gay community (presumably in the thriving scene in LA) using it and thought it was a great multipurpose phrase.
“Whatever” became so synonymous with the movie that not only has a special edition been released under the title Clueless: The Whatever Edition, think pieces and retrospectives are still including it in the title over two decades later.
In the mid-90s after the movie came out, it became such a big part of speech among the younger crowd that it seemed almost impossible to have a conversation without it popping up. It was, like “As if” – it was short, to the point, and had an unmistakable meaning that made it perfect to use when you didn’t think that what you were replying to deserved a longer response.
8 “Oh, That Was Way Harsh, Tai”
Cher is having a conversation with Tai, trying her best to convince her that Josh just isn’t the right guy for her. She tries to tell her they won’t mesh well, and it doesn’t go over well.
Tai, still being Tai and not really having become just like Cher and Dionne, despite their efforts, immediately loses patience with Cher and the whole conversation, telling her that’s she’s a virgin who can’t drive, resulting in Cher responding with the quote. It’s not uncommon to hear people who were teenagers during Clueless’s early years still use “way harsh,” even now.
7 “Do You Prefer Fashion Victim or Ensemble-y Challenged?”
Amber is Cher’s main nemesis, having the same general set of aspirations – they both want to be the prettiest, most fashionable, and most popular girls at school.
Unlike Cher, Amber is mean and stuck up, and seems to be a genuinely unpleasant person. One can’t help but get a little warm feeling inside when she tries to burn Cher for her outfit, only for Cher to come back with this gem.
6 “OK, So He Is Kind of a Baldwin”
The 90s were a different time. Cher is stressing about her feelings for Josh – Tai’s interest in him, how he doesn’t look or act like anyone she would normally be into, and how he needs someone that isn’t like her. Then she remembers how hot he is and comes out with this line.
In case it isn’t clear, she’s referring to the famous acting family: Alec, Daniel, William, and Stephen. All of whom were much younger and conventionally attractive when the movie was made.
5 “Oh My God, I Am Totally Buggin'”
Wind blowing through her hair in the backseat of Dionne’s car while Murray tries to teach her how to drive, Cher is going on and on about the disappointing end to her date with Christian. She thinks it’s all her fault – what went wrong? Was it her hair? She knows it’s all her fault, somehow. Murray asks who she’s talking about and laughs when she tells him. It turns out that Christian is well known for not playing for a team that would be interested in going very far with Cher.
Cher denies this initially, but can’t keep it up in the face of the evidence Murray provides. The fact that she somehow managed to miss out on what everyone else knew makes her, as she says, totally bug out.
4 “Searching For A Boy In School Is As Useless As Searching For Meaning In A Pauly Shore Movie”
Cher is, as she is with so many things, unimpressed with the quality of the guys she finds in school. She doesn’t understand what they think they’re doing – she complains about the way they dress, how they slap a hat on, everything about them, and questions why anyone would think the girls they go to school with would be interested in them if they go around looking like that.
She can’t be proven wrong – even if they were popular in the 90s, did Pauly Shore ever make a movie with a deeper meaning?
3 “Wasn’t My Mom A Total Betty?”
… aays Cher about her mom, who according to her, died during “a routine liposuction” when she was young. And it appears to be true – there’s an enormous painting of her in the house, and unless the artist painted a lie, she is pretty attractive.
It’s up to individual opinion whether she’s as attractive as Cher claims her to be – comparing her to famous mid-century pinup girl and actress Betty Grable.
2 “No, She’s A Full-On Monet”
Tai, still not fully used to the way things work, asks Cher if she thinks Amber is pretty, instead of just insulting her herself from the get-go.
Cher responds with this line, and when Tai questions what it means, she says it’s like a Monet painting: “From far away, it’s okay, but up close it’s a big old mess.” Christian, who by this point in the movie now is out of the closet, is nearby and Cher asks his opinion. It’s simply “Hagsville.”
1 “I Had Two Mochaccinos. I Feel Like Ralphing.”
This one just screams 90s. No one has called them mochaccinos since long before just about every town had a coffee shop in it. “Ralphing” might still be more in use than the first word, but it still isn’t nearly as common as it was in the 90s.
It’s a perfect place to drop a line like this in the movie, though – during the same conversation when Tai is talking about how much she likes Josh. She can’t keep the sick look off of her face, and it adds a lighthearted moment for the audience.
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