I Saw A Film!
In the vein of bildungsroman (been wanting to use that term for a while!) we have here a story of some youths on the verge of adulthood, considering the moral and psychological paths of choices, poor and otherwise, leading to some sort of growth. Right? Well, much of the tale is focused on a pair of bored young louts tooling about in a VW squareback with a mighty, custom, heavy-metal paint job. Our fellows in this tale, a shaggy red-head named Joe, and his frustrated raven-haired crony called Hubbs, are basically typical teens with license to drive desperate for an experience, especially one of a sexual nature with the ladies. Without much to do they turn on one another and bitch and moan about the lack of amenities and the desperation of their cheap position. After all, every time they head out the purpose is the same, and each time the result is failing.
There’s a rumor going about that there’re some northern chicks in the area looking to party. They’re over near the old Fabian house–good to know! Our boys wheedle their way in, they’ve got a lovely 2/3 of a gallon of Schnapps and with that are shown into heaven. Of course, the ladies aren’t really doing anything either, despite the clunking promise of a party. Both the fellows and the ladies are outfitted with their own fantasies of what they should be up to, but no one is really doing body shots off hotties anywhere. It’s a sort of terrible bit of misinformation that’s convinced us that whatever it is we’re doing (eating peanut butter out of the jar in our underwear, while watching anime, possibly), the good stuff is going on out there . . .
Our young Joe has found himself a bit sweet on the slightly plainer girl, instead of the little “fox” who is keen to get the fellows to ogle and worship her, this alone will suffice as maturing in our tale. Hubbs manages to get his paws on the lovely kid, while Joe actually manages to connect with Jill (played by China Kantner the real life daughter of the Jefferson Airplane/Starship Slick and Kantner!) through his love of Blue Oyster Cult. The story goes that he was touched by a laser at the BOC show, and after that started seeing a giant eyeball (we’ll be given a bit of it later), and that this has somehow rather changed his personality and overall outlook on his goals and understanding of the world. The bit with the actual Blue Oyster Cult and Joe going through the moment of being hit with the light-show laser is amusing. However, I’m sorry to say that most of the jokes are of the slapping the nuts and vomiting behind the sofa variety.
I’d like to say that this is what it’s like being 17 in America for most of the kids lucky enough to afford a car and some consumables, but in reality my teen years, while also desperate for experience and loaded with the terror of what’s now called FOMO (fear of missing out), was mostly about working terrible jobs for the grown louts who owned the businesses I devoted myself to for basically no actual gain but, about enough money to get the job the next week. I won’t discuss the results of the Reaganonomics and our Newt Gingrich preaching a trickle down effect for us, but suffice it to say I mostly live exactly the same way, except I owe a lot of money for the expensive education I thought it would be brilliant to get. And so it goes, the commerce of our positions mean that most of us don’t really “grow up” we basically just struggle to maintain this lifestyle! Worse is that the jokes don’t get much better. It is Truth that our amenities seem to keep improving, but since we spend our time watching people have experiences instead of going for our own hikes, we’re kind of fooling ourselves right into adulthood, and perhaps this kind of endless lying to ourselves is important for our well being. I won’t say more about that.
The funniest part of the film is when the hottie’s pop shows up and squarely kicks the crap out of the party-desperate teenagers still hanging about his property with head-butts and ferocity. The inter-generation disgust is always part of the story. What have these kids got to complain about after all? They have everything they need to somehow succeed, we’re all told. Granted for our now mostly long gone Great Depression ancestors our lives are Disney World all day. But then they were happy just to have enough of an income to be able to take care of the baby, that was experience enough! PLUS, well, don’t the fellows have a perfectly good Blue Oyster Cult tape?
Years ago, while reading my way through some between wars literature (Henry Miller, Hemingway, Capek, Remarque) a theme of making do with the resources at hand seemed to permeate the texts. I think of it frequently when I’m chewing on some inexpensive food: Keep your tastes managed around some slumming experiences, you’ll be able to enjoy more!
This is running free on Prime and not quite as good as Dazed and Confused, or Detroit Rock City . . . though music and aimlessness through moral and psychological growth . . . or the opposite, appear to be the point. There’s probably a reason why a fellow in Britain can sell all his belongings and buy a chugging narrow-boat, ply the rather mundane canals of the country and be a hit! We’ve all given up on our desperate search for the experiences. Here’s to reviving that 17 year old’s need for experiences.