About the Author
Nikki Roddy is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. She writes on culture, fashion, and music for various publications including SOMA magazine, About-Face.org, and Bandega.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Teen movies are awesome. Where else can we see the nerdy girl wind up with the hot school president, the arrogant jerk accidentally fall in love with the girl he’s been lying to, or the underdog beat up the school jock and then attain top dog status? We love teen movies because they make us laugh and cry. They give us the opportunity to cheer on our favorite characters as they make their ways through the vicious battlefield of high school. But in the end, what are these movies really teaching us about life? Let’s look at the classic film Grease. Sandy finally finds true love with Danny, but not until she ditches her good-girl clothes and gets a slutty makeover. Um, OK. In Twilight, Edward woos Bella by telling her he wants to suck all of the blood out of her. That’s romantic? In Carrie, we learn that teen angst can lead a girl to setting her whole school on fire on prom night (and then killing her mother). And in Lucas, the main character achieves popularity status by throwing himself under a dog pile at a football game. Dazed and Confused isn’t much better—Sabrina, a freshman girl, becomes popular only after senior girls force her to lie on the ground covered in condiments and flop around like frying bacon. This stuff is funny, sure, but it’s not the kind of behavior you want to base your life on. You don’t need to look trampy to get a guy to like you, true love doesn’t have to be death defying, and it is not worth sacrificing your life or pride to be popular. Right? There’s more to life than fighting, crying, and lying your way to popularity and a prom date. Just maybe not in the movies. SIXTEEN CANDLES
1984 It’s Sam’s 16th birthday and her family doesn’t even notice because they’re too busy planning her sister’s wedding. On top of that, she can’t seem to get Jake Ryan, the hottest senior guy in school, to notice her. Jake’s girlfriend, Caroline, has a ridiculously hot body and Sam has a tragic lack of curves. Then, on her birthday, Sam accidentally drops a "sex quiz" in the school hallway. Jake finds it, and sees that his name is written in response to the question asking who Sam wants to "do it" with. Suddenly, Jake is intrigued. As the day goes on, Jake tries to figure out more about Sam, which includes having a heart-to-heart with a geeky freshman named Ted who’s in love with Sam. The next day, which happens to be Sam’s sister’s wedding day, Jake breaks up with Caroline and shows up in front of the church, ready to pick Sam up and make out. Later that night, he even brings her a belated birthday cake. After Jake finds Sam’s sex quiz, he: a. Brags to his friend about how Sam is "always looking at" him. b. Threatens to kick Ted’s ass if he finds out that Ted lied to him about Sam’s affections. c. Hands his drunk and practically unconscious girlfriend over to Ted, so that Ted could mess around with her. d. Dumps his girlfriend, using her "hookup" with Ted as an excuse.
Answer: All of the above. Does Jake seem like kind of a creep to anyone else? Sound bite Jake [leaning over Sam’s birthday cake]: Happy birthday, Samantha. Make a wish. Samantha: It already came true. LIFE LESSON To snag your dream guy, just let him know you want to "do it" with him.