After having seen Project X I looked back on the various high school / teen movies and thought if they are a projection of what teens are like at time the movie came out. Most of them are comedies but they do reflect the troubles teens have at school. Am I cool? A jock, a nerd, a geek etc etc. I never looked at teens movies like this , but looking back, most have the same theme. It also shows that teens and their problems have not changed much, but because of technology things can spin out of control faster.
The movie “Can’t Buy Me Love” from 1987 is about a guy who wants to be popular, and pay’s the most popular girl in school to date him in order to become popular. since she has the influence to make it happen (and it does), the psychology behind it is fascinating. In the end the experiment backfired due to the main character becoming somewhat arrogant, but it shows good insights of how a group functions.
The Breakfast Club is one, if not, the best teen movie ever to have been made. A group of students have detention on a Saturday and have to write an essay on who they think they are. The groups consists of the various types os students which roam the school halls. All belonging to the different groups within the school it shows who people react to old “friends” but have become part of the different groups with the high school society: Claire not having noticed Brain for a long time even though the were “friends” before high school. But there’s a underlying layer in this one, parents. The expectations parents have of their kids. All the kids in the Breakfast Club can’t live up to the exepectations of their parents, they all have to be winners. Pretty in Pink. Is also about wanting to be with the popular guy ( played by Andrew McCarthy). But this time the difference between the classes was more obvious. Poor girl loving a rich kid. Both of these film are is some perspective reflection of what was going in the 80′s (ression).
The tendency to be one of the popular kids at school is so strong that some will go a long way in achieving popularty. Project X is a great example of this. A pbirthday party becoming the most epic in the history of high school students.
“Costa: [Thomas and Costa are on the roof. The crowd below is chanting Thomas' name] Are you hearing this? This is your fucking Party man!
Thomas: You’re right dude. I needed this”.
American Pie (1999) set a new expample in the genre. From students being rough with each other en bullying to more sex and drinking. In the 1980′s this never was such a big issue. I mean talk of sex was there but not like the way American Pie portraited it. This ( to me) is a change in the gerne and therefore if it can be a reflection of how kids of the the 90′s and the beginning of the new millenium changed. The world became “faster” because of the internet, IM-ing and mobile phones. They grew faster than kids from the 70′and 80′s. Another great high school wich I need to mention is Varsity Blues (James van der Beek, Ali Larter). I love this film and its soundtrack. Teens drinking, sex, and football, but less of a comedy as American Pie is(again the issue of winners is being raised). Euro Trip, Ten Things I hate about you, She’s all that. All of hem depicting the kids of that time. For a while there was nothing new ( kids didn’t change that must in what they did). The American Pie series got more sequels but they didn’t deliver (more of the same).
In 2011, some 10 years after the American Pie there is Project X. Still with the same young troubled minds of how to become popular, of being a winner and not meeting up to the expectation of your parents.
Dad: Let’s be realistic here. This is Thomas we’re talking about. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Mom: What is that supposed to mean?
Dad: I’m just saying that he’s not that type of kid, you know. He’s got a couple friends, they’re gonna hang out, but they’re not gonna do anything. He’s a sweet kid, but he’s a loser.
Besides it being a great movie, it shows how teens are these days and how social media is influencing their lives thanks to smartphones etc. They are in constant connection with their friends.
From the Breakfast Club to Project X, if these movies are indeed a reflection of the time, a lot has changed. To end this acticle with a great quote:
Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete….and a basket case…a princess… and a criminal… Does that answer your question?… Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.