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Top 5 Essential Elements in a Teen Movie

05/21/04 | by Sara [mail] | Categories: miscellaneous

The inspiration...
Danny's sister Jenny and I saw Mean Girls last Saturday, and I was inspired. Tina Fey wrote the screenplay and acts as a strange math teacher; Tim Meadows is the principal. This is my favorite quote, spoken by Tim Meadow's character. "I have a nephew named Anferny, and I know how much he hates it when I call him Anthony. Almost as much as I hate the fact that my sister named him Anferny." Okay, enough about this movie. Just go and see it, okay?

Now for this week's list...
5. The lame school dance
The popular cheerleader types are always in charge of the festivities, and annoy everyone else with their pro-dance rhetoric. The alterna-kids are equally against, but end up going anyway.

4. The geek/freak hook-up
These characters (the geek and the freak) have had their own plot lines throughout the movie, and may or may not cross paths with each other. But, by the end, we know they will end up together and live happily ever after. (Or at least until 7th period.)

3. The awesomely bad, totally unnecessary cover song
Why mess with a good thing? Because teen movies are targeted at one of the most fickle and clueless people groups on the planet--teen girls. Unfortunately, this group is often compeletely clueless about music, meaning that if the movie requires a certain song, it must be remade in order to sound 'trendy'. (Read: crappy.)

2. The food fight/other element of revenge
Usually occurs between the alterna-kids and the popular ones and involves some sort of gross-out theme.

1. The major life lesson
This goes without saying. Of course we all watch teen movies to learn how to function in real life. Who doesn't need advice about being yourself. Watch any movie in this category and you will see what I mean.

*I must say I am very impressed with the outpouring of comments on my 'Top 5 Worst Worship Songs' entry. It's great to know I'm not the only jerk.*


1 comment

First, am I the only 30-something (late 30-something) reading the Blog Cabin? Just curious.

At any rate, let me run this list through my growing-up-in-the-80s filter and see what happens. I will be using the classic teen movie of the time, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which I have seen multiple times.

#5. Lame school dance. check. This takes place at the end of the film. Only this dance isn’t really lame. Everyone is there having a good time, cool kids, freaks, geeks and teachers alike. Earlier in the film there is a very funny scene of a pep rally where the cheerleaders are trying to fire up an obviously bored student body. This fulfills the requirement of cheerleader types annoying everyone else.

#4. freek/geek hook up. check. After much sexual activity and frustration, the geek and the slutty girl with a heart of gold hook-up. We are lead to believe that they will live happily every after. We are even told at the end of the film that after dating for several months, they still haven’t done it (gasp!).

#3. The awesomely bad, totally unnecessary cover song. check (maybe). I don’t believe that this film was aimed at teen girls, that was John Hughes’s gig in the 80s. So I believe the sound track to Fast Times was pretty good. At the dance at the end, however, the band does do a cover of Wooly Bully (Sam the Sham and the Pharohs). Sean Penn as the stoner Spicole joins in. Not sure what this does for teen girls.

2. The food fight/other element of revenge. hmmmm. It seems that a recuring theme in Sara’s list is geek vs. cool kids. There were 80’s movies that dealt with this issue in a serious way–the Revenge of the Nerds series for example. But Fast Times was about everyone at Ridgemont going through the crazy teenage experience together. This movie isn’t about revenge (much), it’s about forgiveness.

1. The major life lesson. Oh yeah, check, check, and check. To name a few that are cram packed into this classic: Friends are friends forever, family is very important (well, siblings anyway, as this movie has a noticeable absence of parents), don’t sleep around–too much, use birth controll when you do, don’t drive while stoned, and always lock the bathroom door.

There are other teen movie “essentials” of course (sex, drugs, rock and roll, for example), but I think Sara’s is a pretty good list.

By the way, don’t go see Fast Times, it’s a trashy movie with little redeaming social value despite the life lessons discussed above. (Although I still crack up when thinking about Spicole.)

[Visitor]05/24/04 @ 09:03

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