This year is the anniversary year of so many films I love. Was it the content/quality of the films or was it the age that I was - fifteen, the year of searching and trying on selves? I had a piece published in the Age yesterday about Pretty in Pink. When I pitched it, I was hoping to find some real actual modern day teenagers to watch it with, to see if it held up, but I was a bit late to that (although - hey, interesting focus group idea!). In the end in typical solipsism I wrote about what it meant to ME. It had been a while since I'd seen it, but I wasn't bored at all. Something I thought about - from a structure perspective is how Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald's characters only get three encounters on which to build their crush - it's more than a bit ridiculous in the end where he whispers "I love you ... always" into her hair, but reminded me how in teenage terms a moment can be an eternity. Anyway, it starts like this:
"Love is awful."
"Love is complicated."
"Love is a bitch, Duck."
If Pretty in Pink taught me anything in 1986 it was that love was all those things, but it was also a reason to get out of bed in the morning – the hope of it, anyway. Nothing was going to happen at school, but there was always the commute: maybe I'd bump into my dream guy in the food court. We'd share donut holes and talk about the Smiths. At 15 I was so far from romantic love that I practically have a violin soundtrack to my memory stream. That was me on the train with the acne and ankle socks staking out porcelain-skinned private school boys, or shabby punks thumbing Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.
Teenage romantics have to get it where they can. One of my Year 10 texts was Wuthering Heights, but that was too sophisticated for me. I didn't really understand Cathy crying, "Nelly, I am Heathcliff"; I was taking my cues from teen movies. Hollywood seemed to have moved on from the story-less breast-fests of Porky's and Animal House, and John Hughes was in ascendance ...