Share via Email No Merchandising. No Book Cover Usage. Blackboard Jungle Billed as "a brass-knuckle punch in its startling revelation of teenage savages" and based on the book of the same name by Evan Hunter — aka crime writer Ed McBain — who drew on his own experiences as a teacher in the Bronx — Blackboard Jungle ushered in the age of the teenage delinquent.
In London, Brooks's film attracted crowds of Teddy Boys, who slashed cinema seats, danced in the aisles and actually started a riot. The reason for such shocking behaviour wasn't so much the film's content, which today garners a more sober 12 rating, but because of the use of Bill Haley and the Comets' early rock'n'roll hit Rock Around the Clock, which played over the opening credits. Today, it is the least shocking aspect of a film that touches on knife crime, drug use and even rape within the state school system, but back then it was a touchstone for disaffected youth, never mind the fact that Haley was a journeying white musician in his 30s and the song was already a year old.
Nearly 60s years later it still packs a punch, with Glenn Ford's Richard Dadier so called mainly to allow the jive-talking students to call him "Daddy-O" struggling to control his pupils at the fictional North Manual high school.
Others try and fail, like the pitiful Mr Edwards whose prized 78s are smashed by his class in a symbolic and still upsetting act of rebellion, but hope exists in the form of African-American Gregory Miller, who finally responds to Dadier's patrician authority. Nevertheless, for all its postwar morality, Vic Morrow's surly Artie West is the film's real antihero, leather-jacketed and blank, the logical heir to Marlon Brando's Wild One of just two years earlier. Superbad With The Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up certified hits, the Judd Apatow express was already rolling at full speed by the time Superbad, a comedy aimed at a younger demographic, appeared on cinema screens.
Co-scripted by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg who named the main characters after themselves , and produced by Apatow, this a raucous party movie best enjoyed with a crowd. The picture is dominated by three plucky young actors who were not then the stars they are now.
Evan and Seth will no longer see one another when the former departs for prestigious Dartmouth while the latter attends a state college; Seth's resentment simmers away throughout the action, though for now he has his sights set on sex. If he provides the booze for a party being held by the object of his affection, then he reckons he'll get to sleep with her. This is where the drippy Fogell comes in: With its melancholy undertones and hour time-frame, the movie occupies similar ground to American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused, but is distinguished by a post-Porky's sensibility that simultaneously satirises and celebrates pre-PC smuttiness.
Much of the humour arises from the inexperienced heroes' chauvinistic assessments of sex. Adults are hardly more sophisticated. A cop played by Rogen admits that police work is nothing like the forensics-heavy procedure CSI had led him to expect. In fact there's barely a mention of school.
Not that many wisecracks either, come to think of it. Instead, Larry Clark's raw, bracing drama reminds us just how safe and artificial most teen movies are.
It was a sharp slap to the chops of a complacent society who thought they'd done all the rebelling in the s, and was accordingly denounced by protesters and politicians. But just like The Wild One or Rebel Without a Cause, the movie exposed a terrible gulf between teen and adult generations. The latter demographic barely even figures in the story. While they're out working, their offspring are getting drunk, getting stoned, partying, fighting, stealing, and having lots more sex than they ever did — albeit clumsily, unsafely and with people they don't particularly like.
Worse than all of those headline danger signs, though, is the general lack of concern or compassion the characters display, particularly Leo Fitzpatrick's chillingly uncouth anti-hero Telly, with his heartless quest to "de-virginise" younger girls and his sloppily articulated boasts about his successes. With the spectre of Aids stalking the shadows, a happy ending is a distant prospect.
But there's nothing particularly sensationalist about the way Kids tracked these teen lives. The treatment is more like a documentary: That's the thing Kids never got credit for at the time: It's a work of fiction, but the performances are so inconspicuously natural, they don't really register as "acting" — despite the fact many of the players went on to respectable careers, including Fitzpatrick, Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson and Korine himself.
All in all, testament to a job done a little too well. For Editorial Use Only. That is, take the bare bones of a literary classic and dress it in high-school threads.
Even if the film is no Clueless, it's still quite the bobby-dazzler. The transplanting of Shakespeare to a latter-day US teen setting is the least successful part of it: This sets in motion a scheme hatched by the younger sibling's suitors whereby a cool loner, Patrick Heath Ledger , is paid to charm the uncharmable Kat.
But that's a small detail. What we respond to in 10 Things are the visual and verbal high-jinks, the jaunty pace and the charismatic performances: Stiles and the late Ledger may have become known for more intense films, but it's arguable that neither ever enjoyed themselves more on screen than they do here. If anyone hits a dry patch, there is always language itself to contemplate.
When the pace flags, we can still count on pick-me-ups like Ledger's marvellous karaoke showstopper which he performs with the zeal of an early Steve Martin routine. Ronald Grant Archive Heathers arrived in the late 80s and promptly killed the John Hughes teen movie stone dead.
That's not to say that Hollywood stopped making them, but Michael Lehmann's jet-black comedy — superbly scripted by Daniel Waters — offered a macabre take on the teenage experience that resonated so much more with moviegoers, who identified less with Hughes' sympathetic vision of high school as a melting pot and more with Heathers' view of it as a jungle, run along crude and arbitrary lines of popularity. It's this that is perhaps the film's most enduring legacy.
The Heathers of the title are the film's in-crowd, three girls of wealth and taste who have cast their discerning eye at Veronica Winona Ryder , who, as the film begins, is starting to tire of them.
The arrival of bad boy JD Christian Slater, channelling Jack Nicholson offers Veronica the chance she need to break out of this constricting caste, and the two become a kind of situationist Bonny and Clyde. However, when the pranking turns to murder — their enemies are despatched in fake suicides, seemingly prompting a schoolwide interest in all things Sylvia Plath — Veronica realises that JD goofball act is simply a mask, and that he is building up to something much, much bigger. Daring for its time in the depth of its black comedy — two grotesque, sexist jocks are killed and a note left to suggest a doomed gay love pact — Heathers mostly earned its cult kudos from such cracking one-liners as: Do I look like Mother Teresa?
Kobal It's a brave director who attempts to make an avant-garde teen movie. And mature viewers could find plenty to sneer at in Francis Ford Coppola's stylised saga, with its pretentious but gorgeous high-contrast black-and-white, its random billowing clouds of steam, its pulpy plot and its sledgehammer symbolism Siamese fighting fish — is that, like, a metaphor?
But the thing is, it worked. It's a movie that makes an indelible impression, less for what it says than how it says it. Rumble Fish gave s viewers a dose of classic postwar Americana: It sounds corny but Mickey Rourke , it must be said, is way cool here. You can see why his younger brother Matt Dillon worships him: Rourke's Motorcyle Boy is dreamily magnetic, with his barely audible mumble and his barely concealed vulnerability. Watching him made you feel way cool, too.
Coppola covered similar teen ground, with a similar cast, in his other SE Hinton adaptation, The Outsiders, but there he aped the Technicolor s; here, he was closer to s film noir, by way of the French New Wave. But Rumble Fish's style is more than mere pastiche. Few directors have been that experimental with the teen genre since. Coppola took pains to create a hermetic world all of its own: Instead we get time-lapse clouds and clocks, a percussive Stewart Copeland score, bursts of colour, a bizarre, levitating dream sequence.
Coppola even enlisted the San Francisco Ballet to choreograph the fight scenes. That very abstraction is part of the reason Rumble Fish has aged so well.
The cast hasn't done badly either, packed as it is with still-familiar faces: On its release, much was made of its pro-life overtones, but in reality Juno's situation is something of a macguffin, a premise that allows a smart, savvy year-old to look at the world and its future.
Set in Minnesota but shot in Vancouver, in Reitman's native Canada, Juno begins with its heroine realising she is going to have a baby, the result of a fumble with her weedy best friend Paulie Bleeker Michael Cera, at his very weediest. Rather than terminate it, Juno decides to offer the child for adoption, settling on the Lorings Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner , a cool-seeming couple who seem to be on her wavelength — he especially, sharing her love of indie rock and horror movies although her tastes are pretty precocious even by modern standards.
The ending is twee and well signposted, but what's refreshing about Juno is that there is no takedown of its intelligent lead. By the end she is certainly older and wiser, but what Juno learns most to do is brace for disappointment: The use of still-obscure indie rock may have hampered its chances as a mainstream hit, but now that only adds to its lo-fi charm, and in a sense, it is probably fitting, since Juno isn't really aimed at everyone, just those who grew up thinking they knew it all and learned the hard way that, even if they were to know it all, nobody likes a smart-arse.
This is the most empathetic of his films, but also the most outrageously s-tastic. A universal heart-tugger and a retro style bible. It's an age-old story — poor Cinderella meets rich Prince Charming, and they angst over each other all the way up to the climactic ball, sorry, prom — but the full spectrum of adolescent anxiety is here: Hughes takes all of this seriously, and he takes time to build his characters.
We know where Molly Ringwald's Andie is coming from. We've seen her home, and how embarrassed she is about it, we've hung out in her bedroom, we've seen the state of her single dad a poignant Harry Dean Stanton. That's not to take away from Ringwald's wonderfully natural performance. Her mix of front and fragility is effortlessly persuasive. Whether she's applying her lipstick or calling out Andrew McCarthy's snobbery, we're with her all the way.
And John Cryer's Duckie is that strangest of male characters — the lovable, clownish nice guy who doesn't get the girl, even though he's better company, and better dressed. The ending notoriously altered to test-screening demands feels a bit of a cop-out, though you could read it as a bittersweet commentary on romance versus pragmatism.
If the story doesn't get you with Pretty In Pink, the styling will. The movie is worth watching for the costume changes alone, particular Ringwald's boss, Annie Potts, who flits daily from fetish-punk to s beehive, Madonna-esque material girl to Debbie Harry New Wave.
The heavy art direction now makes the film look like a deliberate time capsule, crammed with as many fashions, posters, records, and interior textiles as they thought they could get away with. And not forgetting that soundtrack: Has any teen movie had a better one?
Dazed and Confused This movie is, like, awsome, dude Though, to confuse matters, Richard Linklater's day-and-night-in-the-life teen comedy is actually set in at the end of summer term in Austin, Texas, where high-school students are forced to improvise a night of drunken abandon after their party plans are thwarted.
But there is a rueful aspect to this welts-and-all portrait of the joys and cruelties of adolescence. One extended slow-motion sequence, based on Linklater's own experiences, shows younger pupils such as the greenhorn hero, Mitch Wiley Wiggins , being captured by older lads and beaten soundly on the hide with bats. The girls, forced to imitate sizzling bacon as they are doused with ketchup and mustard, don't escape the humiliating initiation rites.
That prickliness lends Dazed and Confused an ambivalent flavour. Linklater, working with Universal after his indie debut Slacker, had to overcome untold obstacles placed in his path by the studio; these were detailed in a brilliantly indiscreet diary published in the Austin Chronicle.
Cut it, cut it, trim, squeeze… Everyone at Universal is scared shitless of losing their jobs because they've cranked nothing but one big-budget turkey after another for about the last year. From the thrilling soundtrack to a before-they-were-famous supporting cast Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck , Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich to Linklater's unmistakable compassion for his characters, everything clicks.