Sunday, May 4, 2008

Something About Teens

I am, quite openly, not much of a movie fan. I've never had the same quality of experience while watching a movie as I've had while reading. I endure most movies, but I cannot abide romantic comedy of any sort. Ever. So last night, after a really scattered week, I wanted to spend time with my two boys."Let's rent that movie, Something About Dan," they suggested. They had previewed a scene where Dan gets a couple of tickets, they said as I winced, and I should be open to new experiences. I shouldn't pre-judge. My own words coming back to me. A browsing Blockbuster customer told us the movied had gotten excellent reviews. The boys smiled smugly.
So fine.
A third into the movie, as the Disneyesque tribe of family gathered and played board games, ate amicably at a Viking-sized table, and openly discussed their emotions, my oldest son started laughing. "There's like nothing wrong with these people," he said, "all they do is get angry then frolic. It's a fury and frolic movie."
Thinking I had missed this genre, I asked him to explain.
"Watch. They get mad, then they go and put on a talent show or hop around on the lawn. No family is like this. No one gets drunk or stays mad or is really fat and weird. I never met a family like this. It's like a family made up by camp counselors."
"I think it's a lake house," I pointed out, "they all gather there."
"Right. And everyone gets along the whole time. No one messes up," my middle guy added.
"I think he likes his brother's girlfriend," I pointed out, "that's the conflict."
"So? That's the whole conflict cause like nothing else is going on. Right about right now, I'd like to see a bear come along or someone take out a gun and do something crazy," my oldest guy said, "you know he's going to get together with that girl in the end because nothing happens in this movie like it happens in real life."
"So what? Did you want him to kill his brother or something?" I asked. "Maybe take the grandma hostage?"
"Nah," Philip, my middle guy said, "just like mess him up or fight or insult him. And how come all of those kids get along so well? They do what the adults say almost every time. And they're all dorks."
"Yes," I said eagerly, "that's not at all like you two. They're so wonderfully obedient."
They both laughed. "Pull this crap," they agreed, "put something on that's realistic."
We ended up watching the last hour of To Kill A Mockingbird, the old black and white version where Tom Robinson's undeniable innocence falls victim to racism. The boys had no comments while watching this except to say it was pretty good.
Pretty good.
Perhaps that's the lure of YA literature: the audience has such a low b.s. threshhold that romantic comedy would never be a possible genre...

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