Thursday, October 28, 2010

Teen Wolf

I took a sick day. This may not seem remarkable to you, but this very rarely happens. I have on occasion taken a half day after coming in and getting some work done, but last week it was necessary to take an entire day. We were spending the weekend at a cabin with friends that have a small child, and I wanted to be healthy enough to go and not infect the "wee one" (I know, I'm a saint).

This resulted in my watching Sick Day Movies. I still don't sleep much when I am sick, so I was able to watch a lot of movies. I watched some of my normal sick day "go to films" like Superbad and The Big Lebowski (Apatow and the Coens are a standard), but then I went to my Netflix Instant Cue.

My Netflix Instant Cue is loaded with high brow arty crap that wouldn't play in the sticks. There are German films set in the post war era, Fredrico Fellini surrealism, independent documentaries (there is one there I can't wait to watch on the font I'm not kidding), independent films that don't have Joseph Gordon Leavitt or Ellen Page in them and other movies that my mind would need to have less congestion surrounding it to be able to enjoy. So, I watched Teen Wolf.

Teen Wolf might be the greatest film ever, if we are judging solely on how a society would react to a strange phenomenon (Werner Herzog should be taking notes from Rob Daniel; the guy who directed Teen Wolf, Beethoven's 2nd and Home Alone 4 ) For those of you born under a rock or after 1988, Teen Wolf is the story of teenager Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) who is on a terrible high school basketball team (The Beavers), who along with having the normal problems associated with puberty is also a werewolf. What makes this movie so grand is not the plot, but the realism the film casts on this conceit. In nearly every story the werewolf is seen as an outcast loner and is thus shunned by his peers. However, Teen Wolf the werewolf is nearly universally accepted. He has to do little more than score a single basket to be universally loved. This is what would actually happen to high school student if he was suddenly turned into a canine that could dunk. Being a teenager was all about being able to separate yourself from the pack and finding your own identity. Some people could do this easily by being rich, pretty, talented, tall or funny. Others had to struggle to find their niche in the adolescent ecosystem. Being a wolfman automatically makes you unique and special in the way that all teenagers are seeking.

In Teen Wolf Scott Howard is not a nerd who gains uber acceptance through magic; Scott Howard was a perfectly average teenager, readily accepted by most of his peers. His only real snub comes from the stuck up Pamela Wells (Lorie Griffith) and her boyfriend who goes to another school and appears to be 28 years old. It is not the ultimate rise to popularity from the depths of loserdom, but a bump in notoriety. Pamela Wells doesn't fall for him, but she is intrigued enough to play fetch with him in a dressing room. Scott ultimately realizes that he has to find out the time of person he wants to be, and not let one aspect become who he is.

This is what we all have to do. The person we seek out to be at 17 is not likely to be the same person we are at 23. In high school our personalities were still developing and not fully formed. I was known for being political, I still am, but I don't think its the overriding characteristic of my personality. Its why I enjoy some people now more than I enjoyed them in high school. The singular overriding characteristic has given way to a complex web of personality (in most cases, some people are as bland as they ever were/ and bore me even on Facebook). Scott Howard's wolf is still a part of him, but he moves toward becoming a more complete person.

Other Things that Make Teen Wolf Great
-Chubs, that fat guy plays basketball.
-Stiles'(Jerry Levine) t-shirts and his attempt to channel Judd Nelson and Ferris Bueller simultaneously.
-This might be on the short of list of 80's Films Geared Towards Men.
-Spiderman stole the line "with great power comes great responsibility from this movie." Harold Howard says it to Scott.
-It is just nice to see a werewolf that surfs on top of van instead of listening to Dashboard Confessional and being moody.
-The party scene really makes me lament how tame we were in high school.
-Also, this film shows genetics as the cause of Werewolfism and not a contagious disease. This has to be the more likely cause of Werewolfism.
-How much of this was inspired by an excess of cold medication?