Sunday, April 15, 2007

Not Another Teen Movie…

I’ve never been the kinda girl to like the color pink. It just wasn’t my nature. I hated everything the color pink stood for… frills, make-up, and the whole shebang. But yet, there I sat—23 years old on a Saturday night-- engrossed in one of the eighties most legendary movies: Pretty in Pink. Damn that John Hughes and his ability to suck you back into your teen world, even when you think you are long past the days of getting shoved into your locker after band class. If only forgetting the high school drama was as easy as it seems. I mean, you graduate, you go away to college, get a job, and find out that the real world is just like high school, only with a much bigger class size. The places and names may have changed, but the people are still the same. The brain, the athlete, the basketcase, the princess, the criminal…Sounding familiar yet?...

Mr. Hughes had a knack for relating to the teen experience like no other, and didn’t pretend life was all roses either. Don’t get me wrong, most teen movies of the 80’s had some serious bubble gum endings (with the exception of Heather’s of course)… but he wasn’t afraid to tackle issues that kids dealt with on an everyday basis… drugs, sex, family dilemmas, and of course… love. Now, I am not talking Romeo and Juliet over the top theatrics love, but more like your typical romantic comedy love. Anyone who knows anything about romantic comedies knows there’s always the “meet cute.” You know what I am talking about. It’s that humorous moment of awkwardness between the two main characters who are the stories’ potential love interests. Separately, these two couldn’t be anymore different (different class, different personality, and different beliefs)… but when they are thrust into each others lives by hopeless romantic screen writers… well..That’s the movies for you. Sure, the meeting is totally contrived, and almost anyone with any common sense can already predict the film’s outcome, but it doesn’t stop us from watching the rest of it now.. does it?.. Of course not.

So the story goes: Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Something (usually meddling family, friends, or the boy doing something stupid) messes things up. Boy leaves girl. Boy breaks girl’s heart.

The rest of the story is a little ad lib, but for the most part, it usually ends the same way. Real life however isn’t that simple. Real life… is downright complicated and messy. It’s not every day that two seemingly completely opposite people from completely different worlds meet one another. Life’s just not that ironic. And if those people do meet, the odds of them forming any kind of actual relationship are slim to none, especially if either of them is socially preoccupied.

Sometimes human beings have a tendency to react like sheep… and high school was no different. No one thinks anything for themselves, no one does anything for themselves… they simply follow the herd, and do what the herd dictates is expected of them. The one that doesn’t… well, they’re blacklisted as the martyr or the outcast. They give off signals that they don't want to belong, and the appointed important people will make sure that they don't. But what if they are just trying to stand out from the pack.. to be an individual.. to be noticed?.. What’s so wrong about being different, and having your own views?... Nothing - unless you fall in love with a member of the herd.

Suddenly, a once light-spirited girl-- one that didn’t care what the rest of the world thought about her as long as she knew who she was, and was understood by those around her-- is now judged by standards she had long disregarded. As I sat on the couch and watched this plot unfold, I could see the fireworks coming a mile away… maybe because of events I have experienced in my own life at one point or another.

Poor Andy! Falls in love with one of the popular boys, but she isn’t good enough for his friends or family… so they can’t be together. What complete horse-rubbish! Blane’s expression and explanation (or lack there of)… “This has nothing to do with you”… seriously irked my tater. I threw a piece of popcorn at the screen, which my bubble butt of a cat gladly chased to the floor.

Even as an eighties movie, this concept still seems like such garbage to me. I can’t fathom loving someone that didn’t think I was good enough to be seen with them, that wasn’t proud of who I was, and who acted ashamed of me… based on what everyone else told him about “girls like THAT.” What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? If two people are absolutely perfect for each other, then what the hell else matters?.. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Sometimes, you just have to be a mature enough person to think for yourself. Not everyone is going to like the decisions you make in life… but who says they have to?.. In the end, it has to be about what you want. Maybe people ought to spend a little more time trying to do something with themselves and a little less time trying to impress others. You can spend the rest of your life trying to live the life they want you to, or you can find your own path that fulfills you. Life is too short and unpredictable to not be sweet. So don’t just exist.. live!!

Flash forward to the prom. Ah… don’t ya just LOVE 80’s fashion trends. The poofy sleeves, big hair… and Dear God!!!... Look at those bangs. What WAS she thinking???..

Now the prom scene is totally predictable, yet completely unavoidable when writing a teen movie. I mean, what high school experience would be complete without a prom??? So… You’re pretty much obligated to have one. Pretty in Pink was no exception. There’s the “Do-I-Go??” or “Don’t-I-Go??” Scene, where Molly Ringwald’s character decides whether to spend her Saturday night on her couch with popcorn, her cat, and a chick flick (::cough, cough::)… or to go to the prom… and face her destiny. She of course goes with the latter.

The rest I guess you could say is history. Boy sees girl. Boy realizes he has been a “daft prick,” and has that moment of enlightenment where he realizes his true feelings regardless of what the rest of society thinks. Boy has learned to think for himself.

“You said you couldn't be with someone who didn't believe in you. Well I believed in you. I just didn't believe in me. I love you. Always.”

Atta boy Blane!... Thank you John Hughes for giving us hopeless romantics a reason to believe, even when life keeps shoving us into lockers. Maybe there will come a day when real life and love doesn’t seem so high school.

As the end credits rolled, I looked over at the clock. Hmm.. only ten o’clock.

“What do you think Vegas?”… I say to my cat, who stares back at me blankly like she could care less… (I told you she’s a b@#$!)

“My thoughts exactly.”

It’s early… Now if you’ll excuse me.. I still have an overly frilly pink prom dress to make.


Lozo said...

"I can’t fathom loving someone that didn’t think I was good enough to be seen with them."

not to state the obvious, but have you seen you? of course you can't fathom that. you're jenn sterger. you'll never have that problem.

not that there is anything wrong that. but for people who don't look like you, and look like, say for instance, me, plots like that seem plausible.

Gildorg said...

That movie and of course, "Sixteen Candles" and "Breakfast Club" were a couple of my ex-wife’s favorites. Of course, Life is much messier. For better of for worse.

There is another 80s movie that has a wonderful quote. I won't tell you the title, as perhaps when you have another lazy Saturday night, it will bring you some enjoyment. It follows:

"How peaceful life would be without love, Adso. How Safe. How tranquil. And how dull."

You know, I have enjoyed watching your fame and how you have evolved. The common opinion of many men; would be that you are a shallow, absolutely gorgeous young woman, who parties non-stop and whose life is endless amounts of FUN! The MANY, MANY pictures of you (for the most part) show you at various social functions surrounded by people basking in your presence. Funny, how the reality is so different from the image. Who would think that THE Jenn Sterger is at home curled up on her couch with her b.....(um) grumpy cat on a Saturday night.

"That is the funny part of falling in love with a dream girl; they have a way of becoming real on you." (Guess the movie...?) (Not an 80s one…)

Jon said...

At least in some sense, we are who we were and we always will be. As long as we balance that with an eye toward the future and a sincere and awareness of the present, we are as we are meant to be. It is such fun to reminise. I remember vividly people many, many times telling me when I was growing up (as if I am not still growing up) that the 80's had no distinct culture of its own (although they would rarely say it quite like that). And now to look back it is so obvious to me that the 80's has quite a distinct character and there is a certain joy and warmth in looking back, watching those 'I Love the 80's' shows on VH1, or indulging in teh endless musical and theatrical classics that were produced then. In a way, the common theme of the genuine art of that day was teh struggle of the few to retain their depth and identity in a culture which seemed intent on flattening life into a pancake of same-ness. Thanks for another great blog entry, Jenn.
I wish you peace.


ANON1 said...

Most girls would kill to have the same beautiful body and face they had in highschool.