Saturday, February 10, 2007



"Teen movies used to be about growing pains, bunking off school and prom night. Now it's mental illness, apocalypse and suicide." -Skye Sherwin on how a genre got dangerous.

"The teen movie, as we know it, appears to exist only in a haze of Gen X nostalgia for the mid-1980s powerhouse that was John Hughes and his acolytes. But the American teen movie never really squeaked its last gasp. The forthcoming "Brick", for example, is a leftfield, low-budget indie film that defies expectation. First-time writer-director Rian Johnson's novel offering melds high-school movie with deadpan noir, creating a dark, surreal world where a 16-year-old gumshoe goes in search of his missing ex-girlfriend.

[...] Between then and now, however, a swathe of independent films has proved there is a market for a different kind of American teen movie in a world where youth sells and age buys.
Films such as "Election",
"The Virgin Suicides",
"Donnie Darko",
"George Washington",
"Ghost World",
"All the Real Girls",
"Napoleon Dynamite",
and "Mysterious Skin" are just some of the high points. [...]
"Back in the day - in the mythologised 1980s of break dancing,
Molly Ringwald, bangles and Coca-Cola-can engagement rings - the teen movie was a clearly defined set of conventions.[...]
"The much chewed-over suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994 marked an end of the purity of rebel teen spirit. The second is the Columbine high-school shootings in 1999. The defining tone of subsequent teen movies for grown-ups is summed up in a single word: angst. There has been mental illness and apocalypse (Donnie Darko), suicide pacts (The Virgin Suicides), paedophilia (Mysterious Skin) and a whole lot of dead bodies (George Washington, Mean Creek). Rian Johnson sums it up nicely:
"Life is just high school with more money, right?"

"Because Brick is a classic Film Noir. But with a high-school twist. And some David Lynch quotes thrown in. [...] It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, it has a chemistry and charm all its own, and an impact that spells classic. In that sense the comparison to Donnie Darko is justified." Source:

"Our antihero, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt),
tries to get to the bottom of a narcotics underworld that has swallowed up his ex-girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin).
He never stopped loving this druggie even after she left him cold.
[...] The triumph of Johnson's coiling plot and bleakly funny look, and Gordon-Levitt's crisp, shaded performance, is that you buy Brendan's asphalt-playground alienation and romantic anguish. The writer-director supplies the actor with words and actions that weather Brendan beyond his years. Gordon-Levitt gives them a depth charge. When you see Brendan and Emily breaking up in a flashback, he looks young and unformed. Pain, not time, has aged him." Source:

"Laura (Nora Zehetner) -
film noir’s most memorable icon, the femme fatale."

"In the So-Cal teenage wasteland of a seamy high school, a girl (Emile de Ravin of Lost) goes missing and presumed dead. Her ex-boyfriend Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) cannot help her, but can't let it go, can't help but descend into the shadows in pursuit of the unattainable young woman (those shadows are especially deep and foreboding, thanks to cinematographer Steve Yedlin).

A private dick led by a woman: it's Philip Marlowe all over again."


specialcracker said...

Reading this makes me want to watch those old noir gems, like "The Big Sleep". I like most of "teenage world" movies, but "Ghost World" (with Steve Buscemi) is a riot!

gr77 said...

i really need to see "Ghost World" as soon as possible!!

Kendra said...

I guarantee, gr77, you'll like "Ghost World", its approach to the outcast characters makes it one of the most insightful and witty stories ever!