When I think back to my most formative years in regards to hyperactive hormones and doubting everything on earth, I think wow, my late 20s were something else. I also think about the plethora of teen movies I got to experience as a tween back in the glorious late ‘90s. There was a handful that came about as a teen, and we’ll talk about one of those this week with Tyler Brooke, the host of ‘Geek Talk with Tyler,’ but first back to the late ‘90s and those teen movie hunks to pay homage to the guy with the boy next door looks who also happened to play one of the coolest guys at a fictional Southern California high school, Freddie Prinze Jr.
When you look at what Freddie Prinze Jr. did back in the day, it’s actually not much compared to some of his peers but what he did made a huge impact and proved quality always outshines quantity. While Freddie Prinze Jr. rocked my adolescence in ‘She’s All That,’ he was actually in a couple of scarier films before that with the ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ series. Well, two movies don’t exactly equate to a series…Side note – with all these reboots, I think it’s time to finally give us a third and final chapter to this one, right?
Those were movies that felt not scary enough so I was more than down to check them out. Freddie Prinze Jr. only captured my attention a bit more than his co-star Ryan Phillippe because he outlasted him. Then not too long after, came the movie that solidified this ‘Tiger Beat’ heartthrob in my middle school heart, and that was the aforementioned ‘She’s All That.’ As a smart girl who desperately needed glasses but would not get them until the following year who loved a pair of overalls, I felt like the lowest form of Laney Boggs. Like there was absolutely no way a magical makeover was going to cure the hot mess express I was rolling with, but Freddie Prinze Jr.’s Zack Siler made me believe in that miracle for like .2 seconds.
Aside from the delusion Zack Siler awoke in me and I’m sure other honor roll students with eyesight issues, what I (and I’m sure my fellow nerds) admired about this Freddie Prinze Jr. character was how sincere he came across. The way he took the time to get to know her little brother, how he managed to shed that popular stereotype. He had more to him than just the surface, as did Laney and while that lesson was highly apparent – it wasn’t a lesson I could fully wrap my head around as a 12-year-old with so many self-esteem issues, one would need to get an annual subscription to keep up.
Freddie Prinze Jr. was one of the key players on the Mount Rushmore of late ‘90s celebrities that people my age would watch in anything. That includes ‘Boys and Girls’ and ‘Summer Catch.’ And while I eventually grew up and out of that phase, I’ll never forget watching Freddie Prinze Jr. with hearts in my eyes once upon a time.