When Sapphire, Cornflower and myself started this blog we decided our focus would be boys, books and bygone times. For the most part I think we’ve stayed within our prescribed limits. However, today, I am going to break one. As a group we decided “bygone times,” for purposes of this blog would consist of books, events, pop-culture etc from pre-1960. The reason being, we were born in the 1980s, and really, the 1960s etc are not all that far away from our lifetimes, and by extent, today. Therefore, that can’t be considered bygone times? Can it? While I mostly think we made a good choice, I’ve recently questioned our reasoning. While cataloging books in the library of my new job, I was thinking, oh, “1992, that’s not that old. We’ll keep it.” Then it hit me. The years between today and 1992 is almost a whole person who can drink*. This revelation was only furthered when flipping through channels this evening I caught the last half of Grease. Then Footloose** (the original, with Kevin Bacon). And in all honesty these two movies seem to take place lifetimes ago.
Perhaps it’s because they are movie musicals. Or maybe because there is a certain amount of innocence to them. Certainly, Grease is a little dirty. To the point that my mom turned the TV off during “Summer Lovin’” when I was 6-ish when we rented it because she forgot how mature it actually is and my violin teacher marked out sections of lyrics that came along with the sheet music. Even with all these clues to Grease’s overt raunchiness it didn’t hit me until I saw the movie on the big screen with Cornflower, with singalong lyrics. Wow. Yet, I still think of Grease as a good family film. Perhaps it’s the catchy tunes. Or maybe it’s because there is no nudity or steamy scenes (besides Rizzo and Kenickie necking in the backseat of the car, but really, that’s just funny). I think the biggest factor, however, are the lady’s costumes. Sure, part of that can be accounted for the story’s time period, but Cha-Cha sure looks like a skank, and I think the female characters wholesome appearance makes me think of the movie in a more positive light.
Even Dirty Dancing with its sex scene*** seems more innocent than so many of the teen movies that are out today. It makes me sad that the newer generations of teens don’t have movies like Grease, Footloose, any of the Brat Pack movies (The Breakfast Club is my favorite), or even the mid 90s movies like 10 Things I Hate ABout You**** and She’s All That. It makes me sad that the up and coming generations of teens only have movies like Superbad to look forward to.
Maybe I’m a crotchety old lady who always thinks that the new generation is going to hell, but I do fear for our young minds.Think about it, the little kids today are more over sexed than I was by the time I was in middle school. My 5-year-old second cousin is already informing me that she loves Justin Beiber and he’s so cute. I can’t help but wonder how she’ll act as a middle and high schooler. And that, my friends is a scary thought. Interestingly, I don’t think of the original Footloose as being bad, but I do think that the remake is overly sexualized. Maybe it has to do with today’s accepted form of dancing? I honestly don’t know.
If you take away my obvious inclination for movie musicals (Grease, Footloose, Dirty Dancing (and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights), 10 Things I Hate ABout You, etc) I think the only movies in recent years, that I’ve seen, that encapsulates the smart humor and real feelings of teens, is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Play List and Charlie Bartlett. Coincidentally, Kat Dennings, star of the sex humor dependent show, 2 Broke Girls, stars in both films. Hmmm.
What are your favorite teen films? I am I being overly critical here and only taking years of popularity as proof as acceptability?
* Friends reference, anyone?
** Oh, SJP you were so much cuter before you got super, scary, skinny (see Sex and the City 2)
*** When Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights came out I distinctly remember a friend of mine saying, “They better have sex. They did in the first movie.”
**** RIP Heath Ledger. I also remember my 8th grade civics teacher getting mad at the girls who continually tore out pictures of him from his People, Newsweek, and newspaper subscriptions that he had for “current events” work…