January 22, 2015

Ignore All The Outside Noise: She's All That (1999)

Shes All That.jpgDo you remember high school? Some of us have good memories, some of us have bad memories, and some of us have both good and bad memories of that time in our lives that undeniably lead us to be the people we are today.

What most of us may have not realized back then is that a big part of the whole high school experience, and subsequently life after that, is mostly shaped by our ability to stay true to ourselves while playing the game of social politics. This means that we have to learn how to tune out all the outside noise around us (i.e. peer pressure). You know, stop listening to all the "peanut gallery" or "negative Nancy's" and just do what is best for us; which obviously is incredibly difficult to do, but nonetheless essential to survival in high school and after. The movie She's All That (1999) is a great reminder of that very important life lesson.

In the movie She's All That (1999), popular high school senior Zachary "Zack" Siler (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and art recluse Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) end up forging an unlikely bond as a result of a bet that Zack makes with his friend/rival Dean Sampson, Jr. (Paul Walker). In order to win the bet, Zack had to turn Laney into a desirable high school prom queen; which proved to be quite a task given that his ex-girlfriend Taylor Vaughan (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) was determined to get the crown herself. Taylor, however, proved to be the least of Zack's problems as with each passing day that he spent more and more time with Laney, he began to develop feelings for her. Although he initially he allowed the "peanut gallery" around him to influence whether or not to be with Laney, ultimately he learned to tune out all the outside noise and follow his heart.

In the beginning of the movie, both Zack and Laney were struggling with their images. Though Laney put on airs about not being satisfied that she was not part of the "in crowd," we soon find out that when given the opportunity, she willingly ventures into that world when given the chance. Zack's struggle was a bit different. Zack was the big man on campus, and while he wasn't a jerk like his friend/enemy Dean, he apparently had issues with all the pressure that came along with living up to other people's expectations. However, once Dean challenged Zack to a bet to make a prom queen out of Laney, Zack's true nature was revealed and eventually he allowed it to shine above all other facades; including finally doing away with his relationship of convenience with Taylor.

In the end, Zack was able to come to terms with making his own decisions aside from all the outside noise and Laney was able to venture out of her existing role as the artistic recluse without concern if she would be accepted or not. For both Zack and Laney, and true to real life, when you're ready to be who you want to be and you're confident in that decision, people will generally support your decision; and the people who don't, well, you just have to learn to ignore or tune them out and all the other outside noise. Otherwise, you'll continue to live for others and nobody wins when you take that route.

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