Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Vampires Suck" v. "The Breakfast Club"

By Angela Smith

"The Breakfast Club", along with other films by John Hughes made in the 1980's gave a valuable reminder and insight to the frustrations, perils, and coming-of-age struggles of teenage life. There have been very few films that have better represented what it is like to be a "misfit" youth among conformists and elitists. And, it is John Hughes who likely saved the lives of thousands of teens in the 80's by giving them a reflection not wholly encompassed by other forms of entertainment.

Recently, I had the misfortune of watching "Vampires Suck". It is a parody of the "Twilight" films. "Twilight" appeals to some "misfit" youth of today and should not be disparaged by such an anti-youth film as "Vampires Suck".

"Vampires Suck" is anti-youth and rather disgusting. It exploits teen sexuality. It creates inappropriate sexual innuendos between a father and daughter. And, the attack on the "new" or "weird" girl as being dull, boring, but, "hot", is insulting to women and girls of all ages. Being an individual (or "different") is something that should be encouraged. Individuality should be encouraged. But, the "Vampires Suck" storyline solely works to make youth and individuality look stupid. The movie supports anti-youth propaganda that results in children being demonized and placed in programs. And, the teen girls in the film are brutal, but, this appears to be the accepted norm in the film. This is also distressing as a viewer and a woman who survived "mean girls" in my youth. It seems only stupid, mean girls would like the film. Meaning, girls/women who hate girls that are smarter or have more depth of character than they do and who target those who are "different" with ridicule, insults, and abuse.

It is very disappointing that Hollywood is putting out anti-youth propaganda of this nature. And, it would be great to see more films depicting children and teens from a humane and honest perspective.

"Weird Science", "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club", "Some Kind of Wonderful", and a number of other great teen movies from the 80s are classics because they speak to an eternal truth about the struggles and tribulations of coming-of-age youth. They also depict various socio-economic and conformity v. non-conformity struggles that occur at all levels of society. And, it is such films that will stand the test of time and continue to comfort youth in generations to come.

"Vampires Suck" truly sucks. And, it is definitely for those with no brains and no heart. Sexually disturbed individuals with "daddy issues" may sadistically like the story-line and/or enjoy the sick sexualization of teens or the viciousness of the "mean girls" in the film. However, well-adjusted people who remember their awkward first kiss or "first time" will know that the humor is false and not representative of a youthful spirit. And, individuals who were targets of bullying by conformist "mean girls" or their male equivalents do not need films such as "Vampires Suck" encouraging such maltreatment or making light of such ridiculing and cruelty.

"Pretty In Pink" is another John Hughes film that deserves mention. It respectfully and honestly addresses the issues that face a "misfit" teenage girl who faces her fears, stands up to those that bully her, and proudly attends her "prom" even though the majority rejected her. That is a story that strengthens and comforts both young men and young women who face cruel bullying by those who would seek to conform or condemn those who do not.

In the end, teenagers are human beings that are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. They have raging hormones and ever-changing demands, expectations, desires, and responsibilities. If we can all remember being a teenager and what it was like, our children will fare much better than we did. And, if any "grown up" needs a reminder, please check out the films of John Hughes. If you look at a film like "Vampires Suck" to understand youth of today, it will only reinforce your misunderstanding and dislike for them. Please, look at comedies that are made with love, compassion, and the artfulness of a "slice of life" that will help you relate to youth. Do not fall victim to films that falsely depict youth as stupid, hyper-sexed, mean-spirited, or otherwise unlovable. Show your "teen spirit" and put a little love in your heart.

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