Here's to all the nostalgic adults and their unrealistic teenage dreams
Most movies and shows about teenagers suck. Adults write teenage years the way they remember them. This often causes memories to be misrepresented as the best and worst moments, leaving out the blurry middle ground. The times that are just average are often left out or distorted to create greater appeal. They are usually filled with other plot points to mask how truly uncomfortable it can be to be a teenager. The tokenism thrown in the otherwise average moments in Moxie led to the creation of a bland movie. Awkward, uncomfortable, and slightly bored is what audience members are overwhelmed with after watching Moxie. It is simply impossible to compare the film with other coming-of-age masterpieces such as Ladybird, Eighth Grade, Me, Ear1l, and the Dying Girl, and American Vandal (a Netflix Original and my all-time favorite series).
The best coming-of-age movies are so good because they are rated R, adding an aspect of authenticity. Most movies about teens are marketed to a younger audience. So inevitably, they have to be rated PG-13. The issue with this is that most teens lead a rated R life. In all honesty, many parents would likely be upset if teenagers were accurately portrayed in media.
Some movies are able to showcase proper experiences; however, many miss the mark and go slightly too far in the opposite direction, leading to shows such as Euphoria on HBO and Grand Army on Netflix. These shows are far more entertaining for teenagers than their childish counterparts, but neither side of the spectrum showcases true reality.
A teenager likely spends most of their time in classes, doing homework, studying, and playing sports but that would not make for an interesting film. They have to balance entertaining and accurate which is why police in crime flicks spend almost no time doing desk work. Moxie brings up the same emotions for me as Grey’s Anatomy brings up for my mother, a doctor. She yells at the television as all of the monitors in the operating room start flashing and making noises as the patient is dropping. In turn, I yell at the TV when I have to watch the adults fantasizing about their rebellious teenage past.
Not to mention that the memories of a 30-to-60-year-old will not be able to translate into today’s digital age. This is the biggest pet peeve for many teens today. Truly, the scene of Hunter wishing Ginny a happy Friday in the new Netflix series Ginny and Georgia will haunt watchers forever. Adults just don’t know how the technology works.
It is frustrating that we will always have to remind our mothers what their login information is, or that we will not be able to show our dads a picture on our phone without them beginning to swipe through our whole camera roll, but one day we will be the annoying parent not knowing how to work out our child’s hologram. Personal experience can be a barrier for many creatives. However, it doesn’t have to be. I would guess that there are more than 10 teenagers in the world and at least 3 would be willing to help give a perspective on how life works nowadays. Thomas Harris is not a serial killer, but he is able to write Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs through research. He worked with David Rivers, a retired sergeant with the Miami-Dade Police Department’s homicide bureau, to create one of the most famous villains in history. “Everything has happened. Nothing’s made up. You don’t have to make anything up in this world,” says Harris. Moxie’s writers and director could have implemented proper research allowing for this film to become what I had hoped it would be.
It is sad to watch this digression of quality in films. While there are still amazing films and TV shows, they are not the majority that has been highlighted by major streaming services. I Am Not Okay With This was an amazing series on Netflix that was canceled due to the pandemic. I am frustrated that mediocre series are taking the spot of complex and beautiful media. Really, do we need another season of Riverdale?