Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Fight, Lie, and Cry Your Way to Popularity

I'm behind on my blogging but have a good excuse. I've been taking the video storytelling course taught by Amanda Wada at the Syracuse Downtown Writer's Center, one of my favorite places in Syracuse. I have spent hours and hours writing a story, collecting photos and learning the rudiments of film editing on iMovie.

With Amanda's knowledgable guidance, I created my first movie. It's just over two minutes long and is about my family restaurant. Here's the link, but keep in mind I'm a beginner and anything that seems at all professional I owe to the iMovie theme templates.  http://youtu.be/lbh-jPlg2MY. While I put this together, I thought about how my photos, my essay and music worked together to create theme. One theme of my movie, and why I chose that topic, is how we recreate in our adult lives what we experience in our childhoods.

That brings me to the point of this post. Movie themes is what author Nikki Roddy considers, the author of How to Fight, Lie, and Cry Your Way to Popularity (And a Prom Date): Lousy Life Lessons From 50 Teen Movies.

In an entertaining and funny way, Roddy asks what teen movies teach us about life. This is from the intro:

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). 

Hollywood does take conflict to a feverish pitch! Themes are not spelled out for us in books or in movies. Movies, like books, have meaning through the minds of the viewer or reader.

What Roddy's book does, besides entertain, is perhaps encourage kids (and parents) to think beyond the obvious in a movie, to entertain the intellect as well as the emotions. For instance, all the fifty movies cited in the book might make us question what teens search for in friendship and romantic relationships. To get what they want, what are they willing to sacrifice? Are they even aware of sacrifices? And what do girls risk as opposed to boys?

Since kids watch so many movies, why not encourage questions after the closing titles?

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