Tuesday, February 21, 2012


1959 Francois Truffaut

This is the original movie about delinquent youth. Before Animal House, before Ferris Bueler's Day Off there was a little film by the Cahiers Du Cinema film critic, Francois Truffaut. Inspired by his own turbulent boyhood on the streets of Paris, The 400 Blows follows Antoine Doinel, played by Jean-Pierre Leaud through various misadventures that get him into increasingly hot water, first with his parents, teachers, and ultimately, the police. Underage drinking, smoking and theft are some of the misdemeanors enacted by Antoine and his best friend Rene. All these adventures flow in a natural rhythm in one of the first films of the New Wave of French cinema. This movie is refreshingly honest and effortlessly brilliant. It is a movie about the sacredness of the human spirit. The message: resist conditioning at ALL COSTS!

1988 Daniel Waters

Winona Ryder had just done Beetlejuice and wanted something interesting to do next. She fell in love with Veronica and the crazy world she inhabited. Her agent warned her not to do the film, fearing it would be too controversial. But she took the part anyway and the rest is history. Veronica is a girl who feels at odds with the environment she belongs to. Veronica hates her friends. Veronica hates her clueless parents. Veronica hates her school. But there's one thing Veronica does not hate, and that is new kid on the block, JD, played by Christian Slater. He's mysterious, wry and cynical. He represents everything that her surroundings do not. Together they target the demons of the status quo, as they see it. At first it's all fun and games, but soon Veronica realizes she is in love with a psychopath. The cartoonish characterizations in the Heathersverse are painted in very broad satirical strokes. It's expressionistic. Nightmarish.
This is my high school fantasy. I admit, I was one of those angry loners who would love nothing more than to see the whole goddamned edifice blown up, especially towards the end of senior year, when I'd about had it with everything. I'd go home and blast Antichrist Superstar in my room and gradually come back to normal. I'm a coward and am sufficiently socialized to never consider violence against others. But nevertheless, Marilyn Manson kept me from wanting to blow up and shoot all my classmates. Other people are not so lucky. Other people have easy access to guns and are learning to make explosives as kids. Other people do unleash their rage on their classmates. What I love about this movie is that, years before Bowling for Columbine, it deals honestly with the plague of bullying in high school and the toxic environment many kids are living in every day. It's not preachy, though, and that's the best part. In the end Veroinica needs to face up to the monster she has helped to create. It's quite a ride and it is a viciously hilarious youth culture satire.

1971 Stanley Kubrick

Alex is just your average teenage boy. He loves Beethoven and his pet snake. He loves milk in the evening. Milk Plus, that is. He's got his own little gang of druges and they like to go out and have themselves a good old time. After milk dispensed from porcelain teats, they are good and ready for a little of the old ULTRAVIOLENCE as well as a little of the old IN OUT. He sleeps in and ditches school so he can go to the record store and pick up chicks to have marathon threesome sessions. Perfectly normal. Sometimes you gotta steal a car and go for a joyride with your fellow druges. Sometimes it leads you to a house out in the country and you assault the innocent residents, just 'cause you're bored. When you see something you like, you take it. This classic film, inspired by the great book by Anthony Burgess, is one that once seen cannot be unseen. The violence is the most stylized and operatic you will ever see outside of a Takashi Mikae movie and Malcom McDowell as Alex is magnetic, terrifying, fascinating and yes, sympathetic.
When his friends turn on him he gets put away, he decides to volunteer himself for a new revolutionary behavioral modification treatment. The outcome is tragic. The message powerful. This is still one of the most compelling studies of the human animal in all its brutal glory; RAW, REAL and DEADLY.

1970 Freddie Francis

There are many stories about naughty little boys and girls. Girly puts them all to shame. Sonny and Girly are brother and sister. They live with Mumsy and Nanny in their beautiful estate in the British countryside. They are rich, they are bored, they are spoiled. When these two come across a potential new plaything, at the park, the meddlesome girlfriend of the new toy must me done away with. When they bring the unfortunate man home, strange games and twisted sexual manipulations drive this surreal horror romp down a very dark rabbit hole. This movie's level of antisocial weirdness is truly unparalleled. This dark family drama is also a social parable about the idle and incestuous rich. This movie is definitely shocking, and it is extremely original. I recommend this dark fable of extreme naughtiness to the most jaded of delinquent movie lovers.

Least Favorite


By all accounts I should love this movie. It's got Rose McGowan who's a hottie. It's got youth mayhem on a pretty grand scale. It's got crazy sex stuff. But I was unimpressed. Color me flaccid, bummed and bored. On the surface it's all teenage angst, rebellion and rage. But under the layers of cool visuals and some great gore effects, its got a sickly and negative energy that I find to be ANTI-LIFE ANTI-FUN ANTI-LOVE and ANTI-YOUTH.


Hopelessness, angst and decay. All worthy subjects, I guess. Somehow, what this movie was aiming for and what it was never came together for me. The aimless kids of post-hurricane Xenia, Ohio have nothing to live for and while away their days sniffing glue and painting their nails. There are probably many towns like this in America. I was looking for more of a message. Watching this movie felt like watching a bunch of baby ducklings getting diarrhea poured all over them and then impaled on long spikes while they scream pitifully. I felt like I was getting my soul sucked out through a straw in the angst center of my brain. If you feel like a slow soul death sounds fun, this is the movie for you.