By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn July 25, 2008 at 3:01AM
Perhaps a double-bill of the Duplass brothers' Baghead and Nanette Burstein's American Teen? Then some afterparty fun: Figure out which movie provides a more accurate representation of America's white youth culture. Answer: Depends on your own experience. (Stephen Holden just doesn't get it.)
I spoke with Mark and Jay Duplass for indieWIRE, and it's pretty clear that a lot of their film comes from real life experience. Burstein, meanwhile, told me that American Teen was inspired by Seventeen, which doesn't sit well with everybody (see the comments following piece).
When you get down to it, Baghead and American Teen are essentially horror films -- visceral realizations of the emotional fragility of burgeoning mindsets. It's not a pretty sight, even when the filmmakers get you to laugh.
Speaking of which -- this has been an interesting week for The Dark Knight, on macro and micro levels. It made bank, and there was backlash, and backlash to the backlash, on the critical front.
I think Dark Knight is a decent movie -- as I wrote in my review of the film -- a sharply entertaining, strongly paced crime drama. In total, a very masculine experience. However, compare it to...I don't know...Baghead, which is all about the way certain tones can manipulate your experiences, and it's clear that Christopher Nolan et al have made a pretty conventional blockbuster inflated with importance by the unstoppable pump of studio marketing. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the illusion. What was Memento if not a conventional film noir with fancy wrapping paper?
Oh, what the hell. Make it a triple bill weekend.