I find it annoying when a perfectly good book blog wanders off the path and starts talking about films. And yet. While I was watching Easy A I realized exactly what’s driven me away from Contemporary Romance as a genre. When I was young, I adored them. I subscribed to several different lines. I’d say for the genre my ratio was in it’s favor 2:1, maybe 3:1. Along the line I’ve drifted away from it, now I read perhaps 1:60 possibly less.
When I was young CR’s (I can call them that, right? We’ve been together long enough for a nickname?) frequently seemed to be written by my grandmother. That was fine. I was reading them as a stranger in a strange land, trying to understand relationships and adulthood. Now, when they are written to my way of thinking but the heroine is 22, it rings false. On the other hand, if I can’t identify with the heroine at all (Looking at you, Megan Hart. Backatcha Victoria Dahl!) I realize it’s not them, it’s me, and I move on. There is a burden on the CR that I don’t place on the HR. I have to believe in the CR in a way I don’t require of HR.
Which brings us to why Easy A is taking up space in a blog about my books. There is no way Easy A is the teen movie it was pitched to me as. No way, no how, nu-uh. This is a movie aimed firmly at 28 to 38 that’s hoping to sweep in some strays on either side of that demographic. Precious little about this film says high schooler to me. Almost everything about this film says adult looking back. It’s funny, it’s a good time (awwwkward…) but it’s not a teen flick.
- None of the parents suck. Think about that. Have you ever seen a teen film where the parents did not play into the plot? These parents are all present, loving, and Mary Sues. These are the parents we would like to think we are as we kick off our driving mocs and pour another glass of that fabulous chablis. Funny, attractive, individualistic and beloved. Right.
- The authority figures are sympathetic. Even the ones that do the most harm to our heroine, Olive, have problems of their own that Olive not only understands, but sympathizes with. Adulthood! So hard.
- Her younger brother has three lines. Straight up, Easy A has some serious race issues. It’s Mighty White in Oliveland. But we’re going to leave that alone and focus on (ok, no we’re not. One black character is shown with his long blonde white girl, her adopted brother is used for two race based jokes, the Indian is cheap and mocked as possibly Hispanic, and there’s an older gay lover. That’s it. for a comedy set in California. Say WHAT?) Right – so her brother sits there like a Cosby kid, has maybe three lines, and is not up in his teenage sister’s business in any way whatsoever. Look, I have a younger brother. I know that’s not how it works.
- Cursing gets you kicked out of school. I’ll just let that revelation lie there. Yea.
- Olive is obsessed with 80’s teen films and music. I don’t know how to break it to John Cusack, but I think he has a much smaller fan base than Robert Pattinson among ladies of the high school. The 80’s teen films are iconic – to people who grew up in the 1980s. Easy Rider is iconic – to people that grew up in the 1960’s. I didn’t know a single girl in school who dreamed of Peter Fonda or Dennis Hopper asking them to be his bitch. Olive, man, she sees them as the pinnacle of culture.
- Religious Fervor is mocked. Every character of faith in this film is a buffoon. There is no room for sincerity, even misguided sincerity. They’re killjoys, they’re jesus freaks, they’re zombies for God. Teens today are coming out of Jonas Brother hysteria, taking off their purity rings. This isn’t how they view the Thumpers. That’s my peeps.