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Unformatted text preview: 4-6-06Hope and the Teen Movie GenerationIntroductionIts a typical Saturday night in the seventh grade and my friends face the same problem every weekthey dont know what to do. We already went to the mall this weekend, thats saved for Friday nights, and there isnt a school dance. The solution? Lets go to the movies! But what are we going to see? Theres a new Freddy Prinze Junior movie out! But we saw that last Saturday. No, its a new FPJ movie, last weeks movie is already old. But we already know whats going to happen: 1. boy finds girl 2. boy cant get girl because he is a loser and 3. boy somehow gets girl. If you throw in a few tasteless jokes aimed directly at our age group, we have the plot of the typical teenie-bopper movie ok, lets go!!When I was trying to figure out what movie to write about for this question about comedy and its underlying social agenda, I was quite stumped. Whats the point of Caddyshack besides making me want to laugh? Then it hit me: from grades sixth through eight I had seen just about every teenie-bopper movie that was made. Of course I did, they were aimed at our audience, so why not take the hit. Its either that or listening to Goth music and getting a head start on smoking pot. So I found a comedy genre that I could work with, but a latent social agenda? Why did my friends and I go every week to see some sappy, moderately humorous movie with a plot we already knew? We didnt have girlfriends we could swap-spit with, so what drew us to that screen every week. Then it hit me like puberty hit Macaulay Culkin: hope. Teen movies gave us middle-schoolers hope. Belton states that Comedy celebrates change (180), and refers to Freud when he says that [comedies] provide those who laugh at them with a necessary, therapeutic release from the serious worries and cares that oppress the average human being (170). But what worries did we have when we were in middle school? We werent worried about college applications, income taxes, or our living wills; what we worried about was what others thought of us. And the plot-thin movies that we saw relentlessly in our younger years gave us hope that we were not losers and that we could beat the jock and go out with the hottest girl in school just like they did on screen. I wont go as far to say that teenie-bopper movies were our zeitgeist, but they were the closest thing to it. While shallow to most critics, movies like Cant Hardly Wait, and Ten Things I Hate About You have an underlying social agenda that celebrates the change in teenagers from losers with dreams, to young adults who realize those dreamsthey are multi-tasking movies that give teenagers aches in their sides from laughter, and hope for a brighter and less awkward future....
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- Spring '06
- The Taming of the Shrew