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Posts Tagged ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’

Nearly sixty years after its original release Nicholas Ray’s seminal tean drama Rebel Without A Cause has been given a limited rerelease in cinemas. Made around a decade after the term teenager was coined, James Dean’s Jim Stark probably cinemas most notable adolescent. The template set by that character has endured ever since. From John Bender and Gardner Barnes to Cady Heron and Bliss Cavendar all the notable teenage and young adult charters from cinema have been outsiders in one acceptance within a group.Rebel Without a Cause

This trend is most evident in the glut of children’s and young adult novels that have been adapted into movies in recent years. In the modern cinematic world, being a little socially awkward isn’t enough. While the 80’s may have been the era of the teen movie, today’s films deal with the same angst, but it often disguised with a thin veil of fantasy and the fantastic. Initially not knowing his magical origins and not totally understanding his destiny until the end, Harry Potter (2001-2011) never quite fitted in the Muggle world or magicians world. The same is true of Clary in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), Lena Duchannes in Beautiful Creatures (2013), Ender Wiggin in Ender’s Game (2013) and “John Smith” aka number 4 in I am Number Four (2011).I AM NUMBER FOUR

Twilight (2008 – 2012) is an interesting addition to the theme. Edward Cullen is an outsider because he is a vampire, he is an outsider within vampire’s because he is a “vegetarian”, but he is already accepted by his family. Jacob Black doesn’t know he is an outsider until he becomes a wolf. Bella Swan is an outsider, simply by being a typicle teenager. This disparate group find their place by their acceptance of each other. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012-2015) is somewhat different, she is human and only extraordinary by her actions, but they are actions caused by the dystopian world in which she lives. So as strange as it sounds, The Hunger Games is closer in this respect to the teen movies of the 80’s than many of the supernatural movies of recent years.The Hunger Games

But this leads neatly onto the latest pretender Beatrice “Tris” Prior in Divergent (2014). Born into a society that where people are divided into factions divined from peoples personalities: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (truthful), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave). When tested Tris is discovered to Divergent, someone who has attributes of multiple factions. This is considered to be a danger to society, a clearly flawed society making her an instrument or catalyst for change. Not satisfied with just finding her place in society, she has a part in shaping it. Following so closely on from The Hunger Games is this the new direction for the genre?Tris Prior

Have writers lost their imagination and need to create a dystopian world for our outcasts to inhabit because they have run out of ideas to make their ideas interesting? Or have we seen it all before and are too cine-literate to be interested in the mundane of real life? I think there is some truth in this, but with well drawn characters and a good script, everyday life can be just as interesting as the spectacular, take: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Igby Goes Down (2002), Easy A (2010) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), all films that could all sit alongside the films of John Hughes. A perfect example of this, is Jennifer’s Body (2009), while I am a fan of and constant defender of the movie, despite the inclusion of supernatural, it isn’t as good as writer Diablo Cody’s previous film Juno (2007) but they both perfectly explore the anxieties and ideas I am talking about.Juno

I could be reading too much into this but ultimately I think the success of films like Rebel Without A Cause, The Breakfast Club and Divergent is that they have all tapped into a fundamental paradox of human nature. As a society we are desperate to fit in but we also want to stand out from the crowd.

For those who are wondering, I am not sure of the origin of the quote "I want to be a nonconformist. Just like everybody else" but first saw it attributed to the street artist Banksy.

 

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A little late as I have been too busy watching movies to write about them. A busy and varied month that features two movies sure to make it to my top ten of the year.

Untouchable: Clichéd, predictable and sentimental, all these things are true, but it is also honest, endearing, touching and very funny. The acting is also first rate.

Looper: Better than the film the trailer would portrayed but not as good as some reviews would have you believe.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Angst filled coming of age drama elevated by the performances of a great young cast.

Liberal Arts: The mixture of a precocious nineteen year old girl and an a 30 something man going through early onset midlife crisis make for an interesting if lightweight movie. Once again Elizabeth Olsen shines.

On the Road: A faithful adaptation of a near un-filmable book. It works on many levels, particularly the great young cast and the stunning photography but it fails to capture the spirit of the source novel.

Taken 2: A Sequel that is a cynical attempt to cash in on an average but profitable movie.

Ruby Sparks: A high concept but quirky romantic comedy that manages to hit all the right notes. Zoe Kazan has proved herself as good a screenwriter as she is as an actress.

Frankenweenie: Tim Burton’s stop motion animated comedy-horror is a return to form for a director who previously appeared to be losing his way. Not only is it a touching drama but also a fun nod to classic horror movies.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild: Stunningly shot fantasy that at its best may be metaphor for the environment and the way we treat it. It is however an esoteric mess of a film that while good, I fail to recognise the greatness others see in it.

Skyfall: I wasn’t sure if Sam Mendes would be the right director for Bond, there was no need to worry, he has crafted what isn’t just a great Bond film, it’s a great film.

I have also seen previews of Rust and Bone and Argo that will be in contention for the November movie of the month. And, The Shining A special Halloween screening of Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror showing in the longer American cut that is longer than versions I have previously seen. It is as great as ever.

Sometimes I deliberate for ages and change my mind over the movie of the month, as much as I loved some of the movies this month, there was only one real contender, the Movie of the Month is:

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