Saturday, January 21, 2012

Movies that Put Life into Perspective: Mean Girls Edition

Last night I went with my friends to see a Midnight showing of the 2004 film Mean Girls at the Coolidge Corner Theater.  I have to say even though I own the film on DVD, watching the film on the big screen was an amazing feeling.  I did not see Mean Girls in theaters, but this was a chance for me to make up for that mistake.

While watching the film I thought about two things, well three. The first two had to deal with the quality of the film.  Tina Fey is a great writer, and I would love to see her write more films.  The dialogue is sharp and witty, and this is one of the most quotable films of the 2000s.  Rachel McAdams is brilliant as the evil teenage bully Regina George.  If this film were not part of that traditional high school/young adult genre her performance would been taken more seriously and she could/should have contended for the Best Supporting Actress category at film award shows that year.  This movie also made me think about my own high school experience, and if we actually ever escape the damaging world of high school when we grow up?

My high school experience was pretty different from Cady Herron.  I went to an all boy's military Christian high school in upstate New York.  The only similarities that existed between my high school and the one in the film were that the boys gossiped just as much as the girls in the film did, and there were a lot of bullies who thought they were hot shit.  The guys who were big men on campus were not known as the plastics though.  My high school had a lot of close minded individuals who felt as though they winners just because they played a sport, it was all boys high school, of course "masculinity" took over.

Sometimes I looks back on my high schools days and wish I had a more typical public school education.  I probably would have come out earlier, and been more comfortable with myself.  I think about this issue all of the time.  When I was in high school coming out was still pretty taboo, sure Ellen had come out, and there was Will and Grace, but there were still a lot of teenagers in the closet at the time, so I do not know if a different high school would have changed anything.  I also met some great friends in high school who were there for me, and still are no matter what.  I value my non traditional high school in some aspects.  I actually met a guy there who was my first, ironically.

I often leave the world of high school behind.  At the end of Mean Girls, like in any film, things are tied up in nice little bow.  Cady learns her lesson, Regina becomes a jock, and people start to realize that although they may have differences, they can work through them and accept people who are different.  I wish this happened more.  I think sometimes forget to leave the petty days of high school behind, and many people bring this to college (if they attend), and sometimes while in college they grow, but many people still do not learn.  The same happens when people go to work, they bring petty high school baggage with them.

This is a great film, and provides a lot of great context that made me think about my own high school experience.  I have a lot of conflicting emotions about high school, mainly because of gay identity.  There was nothing there for, and there is still nothing there for people who have questioned their orientation.  While I realize the school is Christian, the Christian thing to do would be to reach out and help people who are struggling.

I digress. Mean Girls, is one clever film, that has become a must watch film about high school. I love this film, it's just fetch, but I guess I should stop trying to make fetch happen.

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