Every Amy Heckerling Movie Ranked
A graduate of the American Film Institute and New York University, Amy Heckerling is notable for being able to deliver both commercially and critically successful films throughout her relatively short career (in her 30 years as a director, she’s only made nine films). Unbelievably, she’s one of only a few women to direct multiple box-office hits. For this reason, Heckerling is notably outspoken about the imbalance in the industry between male and female directors. As the woman behind the camera for so many classics of the 80s and 90s, Heckerling is undoubtedly a bona fide icon. Her filmography is filled with endlessly quotable hits, but for some reason her name isn’t a household one like John Hughes’s seems to be. With the amount of love her movies receive decades after their releases, there’s no denying that she deserves a lot more appreciation than she’s received so far.
Perhaps Heckerling’s most iconic film, 1995’s Clueless is easily the strongest piece of work we’ve seen from the director so far. Both written and directed by her, the movie is a singularly unique vision unlike anything else she’s released so far. It’s not only one of the best teen movies of all time, but it’s one of the strongest works to come out of the 90s. Plus, it’s a great vehicle for Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Another colossal hit from Heckerling, Fast Times at Ridgemont High remains one of the most instantly recognizable high school movies to date. It’s nothing short of impressive that Heckerling managed to drop not one but two huge cult teen classics. All kinds of movie stars came from this movie — Sean Penn and Jennifer Jason Leigh for starters — but it also managed to guarantee Heckerling a job in the industry for life.
It’s hard to make a flop when you’ve got Michael Keaton as the leading man in your film. Johnny Dangerously is a classic example of this. Heckerling’s goofy comedy from 1984 proves to be just as funny all these decades later, spoofing crime movies from the 30s and 40s perfectly while also packing a special punch of its own.
Look Who’s Talking
The concept is an odd one, but it’s nonetheless a cult classic in its own right: Look Who’s Talking tracks the early life of a wisecracking newborn (voiced by Bruce Willis) as his mom, a big city accountant, maneuvers the dating pool. It spawned a few sequels (one of which appears later on this list), but nothing beats the original here. It’s light and breezy and actually pretty creative.
There’s a pretty good chance that Heckerling’s 2012 comedy Vamps might’ve been overlooked. If it had been released just ten years earlier, there’s no doubt it would’ve been much more well-received than it was back in the early 2010s. Starring Krysten Ritter and Alicia Silverstone, the latter pulling off a reunion with her Clueless director, There are plenty of laughs and plenty of heart too.
National Lampoon’s European Vacation
A lesser-known Vacation film, Heckerling’s European Vacation sees the Griswolds heading overseas after Clark wins a trip on a game show. As always, his family seems reluctant to go — and for a good reason. Chaos ensues, and Heckerling’s touch adds a nice little flair to what is otherwise pretty standard Vacation fare.
I Could Never Be Your Woman
Released in 2007 (and featuring early performances from Paul Rudd and Saoirse Ronan, years before they’d reach their current levels of popularity and notoriety), Heckerling’s I Could Never Be Your Woman is nothing more or less than an adequate way to spend an hour and forty minutes or so. There’s nothing necessarily atrocious about it, but there’s a lot keeping it from reaching its full potential. It’s worth it to see that a young Rudd and even younger Ronan still had just as much talent then as they do now, though.
Let this fill you in on everything you need to know about Loser: the song “Teenage Dirtbag,” performed by Wheatus and featured throughout the film, has received a higher spot in the pop culture pantheon than the movie itself. Starring Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari, Heckerling’s comedy never manages to reach the heights of her other (more successful) films.
Look Who’s Talking Too
A follow-up to a movie that didn’t necessarily need one, Look Who’s Talking Too is a less-than-perfect sequel that never succeeds at living up to the first film. It’s got much of the same cast, but none of the same wit or energy that audiences seemed to like about the original. Oh well, though — we don’t think anyone is too torn up about this film coming in last. It was never going to rank among Heckerling’s greatest hits.
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