Every once in a while, we will be inevitably thrown by news of a young actor's death. It happens, but thankfully, not all the time. This month, however, just one shocking week apart, we lost two -- Heath Ledger and Brad Renfro. I don't want to weigh this down with discussions of their death, any pain they might have been dealing with, or the loved ones who mourn them. Instead, let's focus on the footprints they made in the world of film. I could cite the serious achievements of both -- Ledger's Brokeback Mountain or Renfro's Apt Pupil -- but we've had enough pain over the last 10 days. Instead, I want to focus on something happier. Tonight, in memory of two talented actors taken too soon, I give you: 10 Things I Hate About You and Ghost World.


10 Things I Hate About You



Sure, I have a soft spot for The Taming of the Shrew, but with or without Shakespeare's classic play, 10 Things I Hate About You hit the right spots and helped catapult Heath Ledger into stardom. He starred as Patrick Verona, a supposed bad boy who turns out to be the coolest guy in school...well, after he comes to his senses and realizes that a bribe isn't the way to a girl's heart. Nevertheless, he breaks through Kat Stratford's (Julia Stiles) tough exterior and steals her heart while her fluffy sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) tries to figure out if she wants Joey (Andrew Keegan) or Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

While all play their parts well, it was Heath who made the most impact. He made the hokey stuff seem less goofy, and he knew how to portray the cocky, irresistible sparks of the original Petruchio. He made paintball sexy, and over-the-top musical numbers seem devilish instead of desperate. Even Roger Ebert was charmed by Heath's performance.

Patrick Verona serenades Kat Stratford.

Poetry for Patrick.

Bloopers!

I wanted to stick with Heath bits, but I can't resist the flick's beginning, with Allison Janney's sexy writing.


Ghost World



Where 10 Things is pop candy with little bit of snark and sass provided by Julia Stiles, Ghost World is pretty much all sass. After delighting in some fantastical high school romance, this is the post-grad bitter sarcasm. Thora Birch stars as Enid, a girl seemingly disappointed with all walks of life. Luckily, she has her best friend, Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), wary pal Josh (Brad Renfro), and kinda-love-interest Seymour (Steve Buscemi). She tries to make up failed credits in her summer art class, and maintain her friendships while secretly panicking over the changes to her life.

Renfro's Josh receives the girl's boredom-induced torment. They tease him at work, and leave risque notes on his door. His role was small, but it was fun, and Renfro did a great job at balancing his annoyance with Enid's tormenting, and appreciation of the girls' company, or rather, his interest in having any company at all. Along with Scarlett, he brought a sense of normalcy to the film, which served as a nice balance to the quirk. It was a year of laughs for the actor. Aside from Ghost World, he also starred in Daniel Waters' Happy Campers.

There aren't many Renfro clips from the film out there, but that's just more reason to pop it in the DVD player.

Josh serves the flamboyant topless guy.

The Making of Ghost World Part 1, and Part 2. (Renfro is interviewed in the second part.)

Gumnaam clip -- that super-catchy Indian music video, in all of its glory.