Monday, September 30, 2013

Teen Movies

You just don't see many teenagers in movies. In the normal movies, the ones by and for adults, we don't exist. At most, we'll get a cardboard character whose job is to Be Rebellious at the beginning and Be Reformed by the credits. But sometimes you'll get a movie with multiple teen characters. With real characteristics and motivations. The teen movie.
Here's wikipedia's list of teen movies from the last four years. I added a few they forgot, let me know if you can think of more.

Easy A-2010
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World-2010
The Virginity Hit-2010
I Am Number Four-2011
Turn Me On, Dammit!-2011
Little Birds-2011
Project X-2012
American Reunion-2012
21 Jump Street-2012
The Hunger Games-2012
Pitch Perfect-2012
The Perks of Being a Wallflower-2012
The First Time-2012
Ginger & Rosa-2012
Struck by Lightning-2013
Warm Bodies-2013
Beautiful Creatures-2013
Spring Breakers-2013
The Bling Ring-2013
The To Do List-2013
21 and Over-2013
The Philosophers-2013
The Way, Way Back-2013
The Spectacular Now-2013
Sea of Monsters-2013
City of Bones-2013
That Girl in Pinafore-2013

34 total. I'm surprised at how many I haven't heard of. 34 seems like a pretty good number until you realize just how many movies are made each year. The list includes indie and international films. A huge chunk of the original movies (the ones that weren't remakes or based on books) seem to be about sex. No, really. That's the entire plot. A girl loses her virginity. A boy throws a wild party and sleeps with a hot girl. A girl earns a reputation as the school's bad girl. 
No wonder teenagers get such a bad rap. 

You know, some of these movies managed to tell a good story without injecting sex scenes. They resort to tricks like "plot" and "character development". And they manage to stay below an R rating, which means we can actually watch them.

I'm sixteen. So far as I know, all of my friends are virgins. We don't spend Friday nights drinking and partying. When we throw a "party", it amounts to three people hanging out in someone's basement with Doritos and a board game. But that only happens once a month, if we're lucky. Most nights I cuddle up with my chemistry book. Maybe the movie industry thinks they've got some kind of gritty realism going on here. I don't see it.
Just look at those titles. The Virginity Hit. Turn Me On, Dammit. And 21 and Over? Really? How does that qualify as a teen show? I know most movies can't bother to find teenage actors. But if you're going to make a teen movie, at least make the character young. Oh, but then you'd have to cut out a few sex scenes. Silly child protection laws.
Yes, there are teenagers who are sexually active. Yes, some of us throw wild parties that draw the cops like moths to a flame. But some of us prefer to stay home and watch a good movie.
When we can find one.

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