Every Generation Can Relate: Teen Movies

Every Generation Can Relate: Teen Movies

Since the 1950s, teenagers have been a major aspect of many Hollywood productions - because the stories are often timeless.

The teen drama/comedy is a staple of American entertainment. Bands play to teenage audiences, movies are made about relatable (or as relateable as people who were teenagers thirty years ago can write) teen lives, Hot Topic relies on the 13-17 market to stay afloat. However, there is a lot more room to move around in the genre than there is in most. Science fiction usually leans into interglatctic war, Westerns are usually just Gunsmoke or A Fistful of Dollars, whereas the teen genre can range from raunchy comedy such as American Pie to deeper, meaningful dramas like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And with one such film getting a ton of early Oscar buzz and breaking the positive review record on Rotten Tomatoes, it's time we looked at what the teen movie genre can do beyond sell tickets to high school students.

The first successful teen film was the James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause. The film was considered provocative for the time, though by today's standards is pretty tame. This came out in the 1950s, which was a decade best known as “the birth of the teenager” where sock hops and Archie-like times were had by all. Rock and roll was beginning, and rebellion was being shown on the big screen. Over the next few decades, more movies looked at teenagers and their lives, but were often stylized with other genres to appeal to a wider audience such as West Side Story and A Clockwork Orange, the latter of which was banned in Britain due to the film's violence. In 1972, George Lucas (the same one who made Star Wars) released his love letter to late 50s/early 60s teen life, American Graffiti. This was an instant hit, helping inspire the creation of the show Happy Days, which was set in the same time period and also starred Ron Howard, who would go on to work with Lucas again on Willow, and with Lucasfilm on the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. American Graffiti continues to make several “Top 1970s Movies” lists, and is also studied in many film schools. Thanks to the film and the ensuing television program, there was a renewed interest in the teen market, but it would take over a decade to hit it's heyday.

The master of the teen movie genre was the late John Hughes, best known for his 1980s work with the “Brat Pack.” Starting his career with National Lampoon, Hughes had a fondness for his teen years, often writing about them in articles for National Lampoon's flagship magazine (some stories would be adapted into the Vacation series, the majority of which were written by Hughes). At the time, the risque teen comedy was a big deal in Hollywood, Porky's and Fast Times at Ridgemont High were the most recent successful films about teens. Instead of making a movie like those, he opted to focus on middle class America, and went on to write and direct Sixteen Candles – bringing his name to the top. The film was followed by a string of hits, some more comedic than others. His magnum opus, however, is undoubtedly The Breakfast Club, telling the story of five different teenagers together in Saturday detention “for whatever it was we did wrong.” To this day, the story of “the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal” is still being discussed and parodied and inspiring other films. Thanks to John Hughes, several actors have made their carreers, such as Matthew Broderick, Emilio Estevez, and Molly Ringwald. Hughes made such a name for himself, that unproduced John Hughes scripts are a hot topic, considering his string of failures following Home Alone.

In the modern era, the genre has returned after a small break. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a big success in the independent circuit, and coincidentally, was at one point, a John Hughes project before his death in 2009. This is a much more serious take on the genre, dealing with topics such as depression and the always saddening experience of having friends years ahead of you in school. Since then, we've seen films like Edge of Seventeen and television programs like Stranger Things. This year, Lady Bird was released, and quickly became one of the most talked about movies of the year. The film covers the final year of high school for a girl who goes by the name “given to [her] by [her” of “Lady Bird.” The film broke the previous record of most positive reviews of a movie on Rotten Tomatoes, beating out Toy Story 2 (this is individual reviews, not most positive reviews ever, which doesn't mean it's a better film than say, The Godfather). Lady Bird is gaining quite a bit of Oscar traction, a rarity for a movie about high schoolers – and in some critic awards, it has already brought home the gold. Also this year, Spider-Man: Homecoming combined the staples of 80s teen comedy/dramas with the superhero genre, right down to the final battle taking place on the night of the Homecoming dance. Much like The Breakfast Club, modern teen films show teenagers not as just troublemaking kids with cars, rather as three-dimensional characters that can easily be related to.

Teen movies are nothing new, nor are ones that are considered amazing movies in general. However, this is a very different playing field than it used to be. With more freedom to make the movie you want to make, and more distribution models such as Netflix and even Vimeo, a younger generation of filmmakers can work in a genre that they easily can relate to. From writing about their own experiences to making up timeless stories, the formative years of one's life will always make for good entertainment. We all have those teen movies we remember and know word for word, because somewhere, we find ourselves in the stories. There is so much that can be done with this genre of film, even up to the fantastic. That cannot be said about many others. Lady Bird may win big this year, and join the ranks of other classic films telling the story of young people growing up into the real world.

Cover Image Credit: A24

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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