Last night I found myself watching Empire Records. It made me feel really old because I am the age of the actors in it and they look a lot older now. By my natural deduction skills, I am assuming I also look older than I did fifteen years ago.
This movie made me think: where have all the teenage angst movies gone? Where are the films where the adults are always wrong except for one cool one that no one is even remotely related to? It seems teenagers now have super powers or are having problems with girls at school rather than their parents. Teenagers are supposed to bond with each other over the imbecility of their parents. Now, the characters not only have stupid parents, but they also don’t get along with half the kids at school. Yes, there are cliques, but for two hours, you are supposed to overcome those cliques during detention, at the school prom, or while paying $2 to look at pink-polka-dotted underwear. You are supposed to overcome the social norms and lift a boom box over your head while “In Your Eyes” plays. Maybe that is the problem. You can’t bond the same way over an ipod like you could over a boom box. Ipods are too small and you have to buy accessories in order to “blast it.”
I guess it is a sign of the times that teenagers are no longer fighting with idiotic parents but fighting with themselves. In a lot of teen movies, the parents aren’t even there anymore. Why is that? Where is the father who reads the teenage slang books to talk to his son better but the whole time missing how he is trying to commit suicide because Beth broke up with him to date someone who can ski K-12? (I still want to marry John Cusack by the way. If anyone ever finds out that he is going to Sundance, let me know.)
So now I am depressed for the future of my children. I would show them all the movies I grew up with, but since I was a teenager, someone went back through those movies and filled them with sexual innuendo that I have no memory of catching the first time I watched them. So now what can I do? The movies today have such horrible messages in them. I mean, Twilight is all about how a girl is so wrapped up in a boy that she will do anything for him, even giving up who she is for him. What message does that show my daughter? Luckily, I can show Katherine Grease instead. That’s just a sweet musical without any double meaning to any of the songs.
But I miss teen angst. You sit in the theater and rock on with the cast by the end when they have given it “to the man” usually by throwing a huge party. I really miss that. You’d go home and when your parents act so unfair to you, you remember the movie and realize that you are not alone. Some old, lonely guy in a coffee shop is writing about your angst and understands you. Teens today don’t have that. Instead they have Starbucks.