For all those whose sexual awakening came in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, this one is for you.
When you think about male movie stars of that era that starred in almost every teenage dream, no name should come up as often as the one and only Freddie Prinze Jr. Think about it. She's All That. I Know What You Did Last Summer. Summer Catch. Freddie was that era and he dominated those teen movies. Between 1997 and 2003, if there was a movie about a girl falling in love, Freddie was probably somewhere on the cast list.
And since it's his 40th birthday today, we thought it was only right to prepare an ode to the ultimate dream hunk of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Because we don't think we'll ever stop pretending we are walking down the staircase to Freddie while Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me" plays softly in the background.
While Freddie had acting gigs before the late '90s (and long after), that's where our hormonal journey officially starts. 1997, to be precise.
I Know What You Did Last Summer may have been a horror movie that was grossly overshadowed by the buzz around Scream, which had come out the year before, but there was nothing scary about the eye candy. You could lust after Ryan Phillippe, the cocky blonde jock. Or you could lust after Freddie, who played sweet, devoted Ray.
Obviously they couldn't kill him off in the first one; they had to bring him back for the 1998 sequel, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. More like, I Still Know That Freddie Is Delicious to Look At.
And these movies are where he met his future wife, fellow '90s/2000s icon Sarah Michelle Gellar.
It's fitting that the end of the century brought with it the most iconic movie of the century. 1999's She's All That, a true cinematic masterpiece. A handsome jock falls for the "unattractive" artsy outcast, and not only does he find love…he finds himself. Life-changing stuff.
And haven't we all wanted someone to look at us the way Zach looks at Laney in this moment?
Oh, to be the one who catches Freddie's ball. We had big dreams back then, you guys.
Hey, did you know that Freddie followed the perfection of She's All That with a movie called Wing Commander? It also starred Matthew Lillard, who was basically the go-to actor to play the goofy best friend in every movie of that era. The trailer is all kinds of ridiculous nonsense, but that's what you get when you make movies based on video games. (Yep, looking right at you, Super Mario Bros.)
But don't worry! Freddie came rip-roaring into the new millennium with another romantic comedy, Down to You. This one had Julia Stiles, who will probably get her own ‘90s/2000s ode from us down the line. Check out how Freddie looks at her while she passionately describes some art:
"You make me feel alive." What a line! Coming from you, Freddie, we'd fall for it every single time.
Then came Boys and Girls, which was forgettable except of course for Freddie's perfect face. His character was supposed to be bad with women. Yeah, right.
OK. Now it's time to talk about one of the most underrated comedies of our generation: Head Over Heels. Look at how Freddie's face first appears onscreen:
S-W-O-O-N. Seriously. Go watch this movie as soon as you're done reading this article. We promise you won't regret it. And if you do, at least you got to look at Freddie for 90 minutes.
Well, look at that! Underrated Head Over Heels was followed by another underrated gem, 2001's Summer Catch.
Jessica Biel, Matthew Lillard (again) and obviously, good ol' Freddie. He's often not wearing clothes in this film so we give it a 10/10.
Finally, the era of "Fine Freddie" wrapped up with two Scooby-Doo movies, which proved that cartoon characters on the big screen can be very hot, if done the right way.
And Freddie (playing Fred) did it the right way.
Oh, and this is what he looks like now, in case you needed proof that some men only get finer with age:
Happy Birthday, Freddie! You will forever be cemented in our minds as the cause of our sexual awakening in the late '90s and early 2000s. Oh, and also every day since then.