What "is" the proper way to tell stories dealing with youth??
We often criticize Hollywood for its' sexualization of our youth. Indeed, it goes deeper than what we see on screen with actors and actresses often coming forward with harrowing tales of doing drugs and having sex behind the scenes of all those smiley sitcoms and "family friendly" holiday mischief movies that serve as our escapism. (Oh,and Epstein didn't kill himself! Just saying!) However, I've given this a lot of thought. If I was to put my life story on film it would be very fucked up. Even if it was about me when I was a kid there were things I saw and participated in that I would not call "proper" by the strictest of moral standards or "normal". My mom committed suicide with my dad's handgun. My dad grew marijuana on an inconspicuous acre of his land whilst selling reefer bags to the locals. My oldest brother was an alcoholic. My second oldest brother did acid and stole cars just for kicks. My first girlfriend at 12 years old was being sexually abused by her father who encouraged her to also partake in incest with her brother. Later on a bunch of friends and I saw a "porno snuff video" where this cute brunette was forced into a gang bang whilst snorting coke then when she could no longer "perform" they took turns beating her with baseball bats until a funeral procession followed. (I assume this was all theatrics and fake as hell but as a kid it looked all too "real" to me.) Beyond that a lot of teenage girls I had crushes on were dating 20-30 year old guys as if that was the most normal thing in the world. (Maybe out in the boonies it really was!) Aka, life really does not seem to care about shielding us from the worst shit imaginable so what are we to do? Keep it to ourselves? Shine a light on it thru creative means or thru a really messed up self deprecating documentary? I'm trapped because I do not think the life of a child or teen actor/actress is remotely "healthy" but yet we have stories involving young people that teach us important lessons. Be that as it may, not all those stories are happy or meant for general audiences to view them. As someone who upholds free speech I believe that such stories should be shared but perhaps we should limit on "how" they are delivered to the audience. I mean Cuties still would have been "shit" as a comic book,one shot animation, or a book but at least no "real children" would have been involved in its' creation. At that point I would not have given a fuck so long as said material also carried a proper "advisory warning" slapped somewhere on the cover. What grinds most of our gears is we saw real children in real time doing provocative sexual acts whilst knowing they received the instructions to do so by the director. It didn't help matters that one of the head honchos in the Sun-dance Film Festival was charged with child molestation himself. Again,all this embarrassment and chaos could have been avoided just by using a story-telling medium that didn't involve actual child performers. Ironically enough other movies with kids flew by the radar. I have to wonder what Jodelle Ferland's mindset was like whilst being a lead in Silenthill,Kingdom Hospital,Case 39, and Tide-land. Was she mature enough even as a kid to come away unaffected by the dark imagery and mature themes related to these titles? What about the 12 year old girl in The Exorcist wherein one of the scenes had her masturbating with a holy cross? Was that a "stunt double" or the actress herself? What about the young cast in IT or Stranger Things? The list is endless. I hate going here because I am a horror fan that enjoyed these movies. I like the thrill of being terrified and there's nothing scarier than an evil that targets innocent children or even takes on the appearance of a child. Then again, had these properties stayed in book and videogame formats I would not have enjoyed them less! I don't need "real children" being recklessly endangered to amuse me. My imagination can do all the work! Then we come to the grey fog in the road,the proverbial elephant in the room. Aka, there are certain movies that have come under fire for portraying teenagers with a realistically unsavory lens. Aka movies like The Craft,Porky's,American Pie, or Kick Ass do have teens talking about sex,making out,and shouting expletive cuss-words every 5 or so minutes. While I understand "why" parents might be concerned this is in fact what teenagers do. Sure,maybe I'm "out of touch" with what it is like to be a teen today but I can tell ya, in "my day" I was looking thru nudey mags,listening to Trent Reznor scream "I wanna fuck you like an animal",and wanting to bang "everything" that looked remotely female. I was just very lucky I was so impossibly socially awkward by then I did not end up becoming a teen dad after banging a few of the chicks on the bus that had weird crushes on me! If you are a parent or even a protective older sibling you have to accept the above. Teens are a whole other animal compared to rambunctious yet innocent little kids. Does that mean it is any better to exploit teen actors/actresses then it is to exploit kid actors/actresses? Of course not and Hollywood already is reaping what it has sown. "But" I think writers and artists should be able to express honest stories about being young and growing up. We should not censor real life issues just because they may make others "uncomfortable" or because the cruel reality of certain situations are difficult to swallow. Overall I applaud the push to dox pedophiles and sexual criminals yet I see how it could go just as bad in the opposite direction. Aka, when we exchange one group of authoritarian thought police for another group of authoritarian thought police. The only difference being "why" they want to limit and stifle our freedom expression. (Even with the end results being exactly the same) #pedowood #hollywood #comingofage #Cuties #teens