Why Teen Content Matters (Coming From a Teen that Feels the Massive Loss of It)
With the recent release of the newest version of Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), there has been a lot of mixed results on the film. Some say that the story is mediocre, while others may call it the best Spider-Man, yet. These opinions are fine, either way, however the lack of focus on the importance of a movie like Spider-Man: Homecoming is insulting to the ever lacking teen film and television franchise, which is practically non-existent. Film content for teens is an industry that is vastly empty in the modern age of 2017. Where the 80’s had classics like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) or Sixteen Candles (1984), the 90’s had hits like Clueless (1995) and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), and the 2000s had Mean Girls (2004); this decade, a few years shy of nearly being over, is severely lacking on such classics as these. Why has the revenue of teen content been drastically dragged down, lately?
Teen content matters because it helps teens connect with the real world, and defines and teaches a generation.
In a world that is overrun by technology and the ability to easily connect, lives on social media have become a stage. Where teenagers, of today, are exposed to different cultures and social classes (as they want to be seen). This doesn’t necessarily help teens to relate, than understand differences between others’ lives and theirs. Because of this, movies and television should bask in the opportunity to create pieces that teens can relate to. A movie about a struggling 20-something that one day becomes a secret agent and fights international crime, sounds promising as a story, but it leaves out a huge margin of the movie-going audience. However, a movie about a 15-year-old kid that becomes a superhero, and is striving to succeed in his personal life, and vigilante life, is a much more relatable story to a stress-ridden teenager in 2017. Spider-Man: Homecoming, as a prime example of teen film success, fills the immense chasm of realistic and relatable adolescent pictures. Something that movies like The Edge of Seventeen (2016), which adult audience members preferred more than the teenagers whose heads were unscathed when the movie flew by, didn’t accomplish. Also, most teen movies don’t hit the mark because they seem to be more focused on the stereotype of modern teenagers and the nostalgia of previous teens that they get confused on who they actually want to watch their show.
Furthermore, teen movies of the past have been successful because of their ability to produce accurate representations of life. Whether it’s a movie from the 80’s or 90’s, young adults today can relate to the same situations as young adults in the past. Possibly allowing them to better connect with their parents as well. Continuing this, the current world relies heavily on movies to grasp the lifestyles of the past. Who’s to know what teenagers in 2040 will believe of their parents and elders with the lack of relatable productions lining their doorstep. Why should teens of the 80’s or 90’s be blessed with “packaged nostalgia”, while the teens today only rely on the memories of the life before their time.
Not only do successful movies, such as these, offer highlights in the future, but they also help teens to learn from them. If it’s in an insignificant way: such as the lead going to school and being optimistic about their day. Or, in a triumphant action: such as saving the people you love. They both have the potential to leave a lasting impact on the minds and pop culture of the youth, who are going to be the future leaders of this world.
However, with the popular release of Riverdale (2017-), as CW show based on the lives of comic book teens: Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, the teen industry has taken a bigger leap in the last year. Also, let’s not forget the smash-hit Netflix Series, 13 Reasons Why, which touches the topic of teen suicide and bullying. Although this may seem as if it is a giant step forward, it still doesn’t fill the empty slot. While these two shows present themselves as teen content, the utter lack of understanding of the ‘2017 teen psyche” is what doesn’t classify these mysteries as Adolescent Classics, specifically. However thrilling and suspenseful shows like Riverdale (2017-) may be, the 30-something writers’ imitation of modern slang and stereotypes is the shining disappointment. Shows like Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why are made for teens and adults, not saying that adults shouldn’t enjoy teen dramas, but a successful coming-of-age story, which is the epitome of a teen film, should hit adults in the nostalgia and the teenagers in the reality. This makes films like, Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), the perfect embodiment of teen life in 2017. Not all teenagers have superpowers, but most can relate to struggling with having a date to homecoming, trouble finding the headlights on a car, and referencing modern pop-culture.
In Conclusion, the room for modern teen films is very spacious, and many who have tried to move in have been quickly evicted. Teen movies and television are very important and are terribly missed. These movies offer connection and definition to adolescents. Please turn focus back to teens, who will eventually grow up and won’t have any “boxes of nostalgia” to fall back on.