Friday, June 18, 2010

'Dem Teens

Teen movies I saw in the theatre (As a teen, of course)

Can't Hardly Wait
She's All That
American Pie
American Pie 2
The New Guy
10 Things I Hate About You

I remember liking them all, much the way I remember liking McDonalds before I developed better taste buds. The ones aimed at girls were about popularity and its relationship with dating opportunities. The ones aimed at boys were about getting laid at parties. The ones that were unisex had male leads and were about both. And this is the same crap that was available in the '80s, only with different fashion, music and slang.

16 Candles
Weird Science
Pretty in Pink
Some Kind of Wonderful

They're all just rehashes, right? Uncool girl saved from uncoolness by attractive cool boy who has an epiphany that the uncool girl is actually hot deep down inside? The less attractive girl is finally really noticed? The nerdy guy gets the girl and the last laugh and wins in the end? The popular girl decides to go for the less cool guy. The end!

And I'm pretty sure the same old nonsense is being re-done for the millennials. Is that what we call the '00s? Who knows. Anyway.

Know what I think teens need more of? The Breakfast Club. But not a remake, but other topics than dating, getting drunk and laid. Stuff about self identity, real conversations, things that would be relevant to the target audience. Only not played by people in their 20s.

Just worked on a teen movie that covers all the basic shtick: cool girl gets dumped, ditsy popular girls and their cool boyfriends, nerds liking sci-fi, alcohol being the key to coolness, getting laid at parties and crushes coming to fruition.

I've been wondering, are teenagers really vapid and flakey? Or is it just life imitating art? I remember the images I grew up with of what teenagers are supposed to be and do. I thought, if that's what it is, then that's what I want. Maybe if we expected more and presented more, then young people would be more.

Yesterday I watched a show about the Andes, where a 3-year-old could expertly peel potatoes with a sharp knife. I've long thought kids were too coddled these days, and I'm not suggesting every parent should teach their children knife skills, but certainly if children are capable of more than we allow them to learn, then definitely teenagers are capable of more depth than they show en mass. Am I right?

But our world in this hemisphere is doling out crap for them to consume, and it seems only crap. And a little bit of escapist drivel is a good time and harmlessly enjoyable, when in good balance with other things, like matters of higher thinking and reflection and honest insight. But where are those things to be found? Really, I have no idea.


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