I’ve finished a first draft of my coming-of-age high school script and, in trying to avoid cliches, have often reflected on the best of the genre. By my reckoning, there is a pantheon of five films, all of which have characters, story and dialogue that ring true.
5. Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)4. Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993)3. American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973)2. Rushmore (Wes Anderson, 1998)1. Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007)Interestingly enough, except for Superbad, these films were directed early in each filmmaker’s careers, all of whom went on to be nominated for Oscars. We’ll see what Mottola does next.
I remember my second year at university. All of my friends wanted to go down to the field and initiate the freshmen, cover them with whipped cream and blue dye, make them do stupid things, just humiliate them and get them horribly drunk. I looked at these people – my friends, good friends – and they were practically foaming at the mouth, intimidating these kids.I don’t know. It was like rape.
Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)
These kids were only a year younger than us, just a year, but we had had it done to us, and so it was our turn. It was our turn to be bullies. That’s what we were trained to do. We called it a rite of passage or some bullshit about growing up, but it was just rape. And it doesn’t stop there. It’s in everything we do, in school, at work, buying groceries, getting on a plane, walking in the street.
Occupy Wall Street
We learn to accept it. We learn to give it back. Worse than that, we learn to derive pleasure from giving it back. We feel justified in giving it back.That’s why I don’t have faith in us. We’re more infantile than when we were kids.