Teen Movies. There are a heck of a lot of them out these days, aren't there? And just when I thought "Not Another Teen Movie" heralded the end of the latest spate of them, I was very, very wrong.
As long as there are teenagers who believe media targeted at them is shiny and brand new and wholly original to the universe as it enters their experience, a dozen or so of these flicks are getting cranked out a year. And the funny thing is, the critics spend a lot of time justifying these movies instead of simply writing them off. But the review always has the haunting quality of a 16 year old girl whose parent simply don't understand her...
The review of the teen movie always goes something like:
Being a teenager is hard. Every high school is the same. There are cliques. The cafeteria blah blah blah. We all hated it, right? Right? This movie is about a girl who is sad because she is not popular in the cafeteria. Something magical happens to make her popular but then she does not like herself. This thing tests her identity about who she wants to be, and she decides to be who she was at the beginning of the movie and the bitchy girls get their comeuppance. This movie wasn't very good, but it had a few funny jokes. Breakfast Club is good. In spite of all the shit I put on other, better movies, I liked this movie. The End.
You know what?
If you really thought that life would be great if you ditched your friends, it means you're an idiot and kind of a horrible person. Seriously. You don't deserve the fairy tale story where you learn to accept your friends. You were probably a jerk then and, more than likely, you're a jerk now.
And, kids... High school is easy. High schoolers don't really work and they live the dream lives of the characters on Friends where you pretty much pal around with your buddies all day, and then go pal around with your buddies some more, and nobody is ever at work or worrying about a mortgage or anything. This is why my favorite high school movie may well be "American Beauty".
Of course, I came into my high school as a sophomore, so maybe I missed the day freshman year we were given "A TV Viewer's Guide to Your High School". And thanks to TV and movies, I remember thinking high school was going to be this horrible place where I was going to have to win ski competitions and dance-offs to impress girls. Really, the worst thing about high school is that you have to go see a lady in the principals' office when you are "tardy", even if it's because you dared to use the bathroom between classes.
I suspect movies and TV are written by people who always secretly wanted to be IN some crowd they thought would make boring high school more interesting, instead of watching these other folks from afar like the characters always do on these shows. Which pretty much means two things to me:
1) the writers may have dedicated their whole lives to feeling superior to Jessica Schwartz once and for all, and their whole professional life is some sad revenge fantasy
2) The critics need the same visceral indication and are still getting it from these movies at age 40
With movie after movie coming out like this, clearly it's reaching the intended audience (whether the decision is to go with the hot, rich prince, or whether to go back to hanging out with your admittedly lame friends you had in Act 1).
My high school movie would be painful and boring to watch as the great drama unfolded as my dad and I debated whether mowing the lawn early or late on Saturday was a better idea. Or the drama of the bad haircut. Or the story of the time the pump took a really long time at the Chevron. Or the saga of the really bad pair of Bugle Boys. Or the time I jumped off my roof into the pool. If we wanted to get really exciting, we could investigate the mystery of why we never had any damn soda in the house unless guests came to visit. Hollywood, I am ready to sell any of these ideas.