Is Clint too old to enjoy a teen comedy?
Someone had the nerve to ask me the other day if “I could relate to Superbad, being that high school was so long ago” for me. Nah fella, could you explain it to me? Why did they want alcohol? What was the attraction with the girls? What was with the three of them and the jocks, why didn’t they get along?
Sheesh. It’s as if I’d never made a fake I.D; I never tried to buy booze before the legal age; I never got a ride in a cop car – - – of course I did! And for the record, high school might have been thirteen or fourteen years ago for me, but it doesn’t feel that long ago. I still remember the best parties; my favourite teachers; that assignment I wish I’d done better at; the exams I fucked up, and the school-yard fights I had like they were yesterday. It feels like only moments ago that the Year 12’s were asked to vacate the premises on our last day because we’d done enough damage to the school. Still miffed.
The reason “Superbad” – and films like it; maybe even “American Pie” to an extent – work for all ages is – well, they’re incredibly funny but also – that they transport us back in time. I don’t care how old you are… you’ll still be able to relate to high school. High school hasn’t changed that much. Its still the same – you’ve got all the different cliques, you’ve got the underage drinking parties, and you’ve got boys battling for whoever’s wearing loose rainbow Brite panties that week (Or in my case – just for the young fucks – “Gidget Bloomers”).
There’s a reason why films like “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles” are timeless – and that’s because school-life doesn’t really change that much. In fifty years time, it’ll still be – for the most part – the same experience for everyone (though, I will admit some people hated school whereas I thought it was a blast – sans near expulsion a couple of times for drinking in the classroom) and the kids then will still be encountering the same problems, feelings and emotions that we did.
I guess you could say I was in the popular crowd at highschool, so didn’t cop any of the shit that the characters in “Superbad” do, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel for them – and god, I still remember the treatment that some of the clowns at school used to give the so-called ‘nerds’. It’s an unnecessary timeless tradition. I remember giving it to a couple myself, and to this day, still feel bad about it – - -I’m nearly at a “My Name is Earl” list stage.
But I digress…
Even if I’d graduated in 1973, and not 1993, would it have mattered? Would I have still understood the film’s themes and the main character’s plights? Of course I would’ve! I was nowhere near school-age when “Dazed and Confused” was set – and I still got that; I’m also pretty confident I know what’s going on in “American Graffiti”. I attended the complete opposite to a snooty private school, where the dress attire wasn’t a tie and blazer but an Ice-T T-Shirt and Stussy Pants, and I even got “School Ties” and “Dead Poet’s Society” – shock fuckin’ horror!
So yes my virginal comrades, I can relate to your “new-age high school comedy” and I love it. Granted, anyone under the age of fifteen probably thinks it’s the first film of its kind… because they’ve never heard of “The Breakfast Club” (“What? The guy from the Mighty Ducks wrestles?”) or “Pretty in Pink” (“Eww, the guy from Two and a Half Men was the sidekick? Like, totally spew, man!”)… but that’s OK, in time they’ll understand it’s more of a homage (albeit a crude one) to the films old fucks like me grew up watching. And when they’re 32, they’ll still get a chuckle out of it and be able to relate to it.
You don’t have to be the same age as the characters in a film, or be in the same profession or mindset as them, to be able to relate to a film… you really don’t.
I’d been popped (and condolences to the many 40-something fans of the web that no doubt hadn’t) by the time “The-40-Year-Old Virgin” came out; I’d never screwed a girl with an ice-pick under her bed (only a butcher’s knife – true story) and yet I still enjoyed “Basic Instinct”; I’ve never worn my undies outside my pants and I thought the “Superman” movies rocked; and had never been assigned to write a story on a serial killer and still enjoyed “Zodiac”.
Here’s a list of some of my favourite movies – - let’s see how closely my life mirrors the lead character/s in them.
“St Elmo’s Fire” – well, I have college friends, and yes some of us have gone our separate ways. No, none of them had husky voices and none play the Sax.
“The Hunt for Red October” – I don’t anyone that’s worked for the C.I.A, and nobody’s ever tried to recruit me for anything but their long-distance phone plan. I do know a guy who does shitty imitations of a Russian guy though, does that count?
“Mulholland Drive” – I’ve never kept my olds in a box; I’ve never had a lesbian affair; I’ve never wanted to become a big Hollywood film star; and I’ve never even driven down Mulholland in a limo. Yet, I like it. What’s going on there?
“The Empire Strikes Back” – My mother-in-law’s a hairy bitch, but I’ve never known anyone like Chewbacca. As for Darth Vader, I didn’t hang with his types either. Never been to Space, either.
“Planes, Trains & Automobiles” – Never had a fat guy cuff my balls… but yes, I do have friends that don’t have families and are alone for Christmas and I have been stuck on long trips with annoying characters.
“Say Anything” – I have held my boom-box over my head, but never to play music for a girl; usually it’s to piss of the neighbours. And no, My Dad’s not in jail for tax fraud. Frickin’ love this movie though.
“Young Guns” – I’ve never had to protect Terry O’Quinn from evil cowboys, but if he needed assistance, I’d surely put my hand up to help… so I could flog his Emmy.
“American Psycho” – I’ve never been anal over a business card and I’ve never killed anyone for kicks…. But yeah, I do like Huey Lewis and the News. I even once saw Phil Collins in concert at Madison Square Gardens in New York.
“The Player” – I’ve never run a studio; never taken a spa with a topless Cynthia Stevenson (only Nikki Blonsky); and Vincent D’Ornofio has never stalked me (that was the other dude from “Law and Order”, Sam Waterson)… but yes, I do know what it’s like to get a bunch of shitty scripts sent to me day in-day out, and I do know quite a few Hollywood wannabes.
“Die Hard” – I hardly ever even wear a singlet! And I’ve never even been inside the FOX building!
So there. See. I can relate to so many things in each of those movies. And there my favourites. If I only liked movies that I had a personal link to… because someone in them is my age, or they do the same things as me, then I guess you’d expect “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, “Permanent Midnight”, “Hush” and “Home for the Holidays” to be on my favourite list. They’re not. Not because they’re not good films, should of those are very good, but just because I didn’t go for them – there was nothing really in them for me. With “Superbad” there was. I don’t think you’ll find one person on the planet who doesn’t relate to at least three or four things in that film. I can understand why youngsters might think that a 32-year-old who spends most of his time working; nursing babies to sleep; drinking coffee and watching quiz shows after dark might have trouble relating to a teenage-comedy but you’ll see, the backdrop might change… but the lead character doesn’t.
Bottom line : You know what? I really shouldn’t have even bothered responding to this dude’s question of whether I could relate to “Superbad” or night because that weekend, he tells me, he’s really looking forward to going to see “BRATZ”. I think that says it all. Hope mum’s got some clean sheets out for you this weekend… you’re going need it you sticky looking dude – after that screening.
OK, another fresh batch of scones to make for the mother’s club…. Better warm up the oven.
(A scientist who seems to be able to sum up the world – or a movie – in just a few words, whilst the rest of us feel a page review isn’t even sufficient).
“Noooo, its Ooooold!” – Mrs Morris’s response to being told it’s time she watched the classic, “Deliverance”