Wing Commander, Just as I Remember It

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(The movie Wing Commander turned 20 years old this year. Incredible comedian and friend Sarah Kennedy joins us today to provide her thoughts on seeing it in the theater. -Ed.)

Ah, memories. They can be hazy and hard to trust, but some of them — some of the lucky ones — stay trapped in your brain as crystal clear as the day the experience happened right before your eyes. 

In 1999, I was living it up in one of the best cinematic years of my generation. I feel like I was at the movie theater every weekend that year, with extra trips to our “dollar movie” theater tacked on during the summer. I saw everything marketed to my exact demographic: She’s All That (3 times), 10 Things I Hate About You (6 times), American Pie (once, and I had to sneak in), among others.

My friends and I saw so many movies we even got invited to an advanced screening of the film Never Been Kissed — which was to be a FREE DOUBLE FEATURE with the Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard space vehicle, Wing Commander.   

Not from Wing Commander

The movie stars Drew Barrymore as a grown-up pretending to be a high schooler who is then creeped on by her adult teacher, a pre-Alias Michael Vartan. I am of course talking about Never Been Kissed. Remember that one? It was definitely parodied in Not Another Teen Movie which is by far the barometer for the cultural impact of any teen movie from the time. I already told you above that Wing Commander starred future Scooby-Doo‘s live-action Fred and Shaggy: Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard. There is no Drew Barrymore in Wing Commander. Definitely something that could’ve been added to improve Wing Commander

Probably not the source material for Never Been Kissed

Also, Wing Commander was based on a video game, but as far as I can tell, there wasn’t a video game of Never Been Kissed. (I checked. Sarah is correct. -Ed.)

Another cool thing about the movie was that it introduced bright but fleeting star, Leelee Sobieski, to the big screen. She was a real mini-Helen Hunt made just for my age group! I loved her in the movie, which again is the romantic comedy, Never Been Kissed, and not the sci-fi whateveryoucallit, Wing Commander. Leelee Sobieski is not in Wing Commander. Yet another knock against Wing Commander.

Also not Wing Commander

David Arquette is in Never Been Kissed and not in Wing Commander. He plays Drew Barrymore’s goofy brother — a role he perfected in the Scream franchise. The casting is weird and definitely seems like it would’ve been played better by Matthew Lillard if only he hadn’t been so busy filming Wing Commander at the time.

Memories. Like I said, they can be hazy and hard to trust, but some of them –some of the lucky ones — stay trapped in your brain as crystal clear as the day the experience happened right before your eyes. I genuinely have no memories of Wing Commander. My friends and I walked out after Never Been Kissed because we knew Wing Commander was gonna suck real bad. Instead, we went to catch the rest of 10 Things I Hate About You playing in the screening room around the corner. That movie, much like Never Been Kissed, totally rules!

Still not Wing Commander

Sarah Kennedy is a remarkably talented Albuquerque, NM based stand up comedian. You should follow her on Twitter and check out Sarah and Hattie Hayes’s podcast Taydar. Do it!


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