Movie Reviews, Sort of | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Movie Reviews, Sort of

"Daria: Is it Fall Yet?"

Movie Reviews:

Yeah, I watched something with Daria Morgendorffer in it. The movie starts from where the fourth season ended. The last two episodes of the season are included in the special features section of the DVD to catch you up.

In the movie, Daria has fallen for her best friend Jane's ex-boyfriend, Tom Sloane. Ms. Morgendorffer is partially responsible for the demise of that relationship. She has to cope with slightly fracturing the friendship with her only friend while also battling the pains of another boring summer. Hence the name, "Is it Fall Yet?" In typical fashion, Daria offers sarcastic quips and witty, subversive lines directed at the philistines who terrorize her angst-ridden life. Read for more.

What is interesting about the movie and the show in general, is the sardonic humor which is no longer found on any MTV Network program. In the '90's, MTV played host to several shows that took pot-shots at the mainstream; Beavis and Butt-Head, The State, The Ben Stiller Show (briefly), etc. The MTV we know now is completely different in its approach to appealing to teenagers. In the days of Daria, "alternative" was the way to be cool. Don't wear GAP, don't listen to pop-radio, and don't trust anyone over 30.

Begrudgingly switch the channel to MTV now, and you'll find pseudo-dating shows and so-called reality television, stuffed with brand name-wearing 20-somethings listening to the flavor of the week on their iPods. The stars of these shows are suburbanites rebelling not against the establishment, but rather, those against the establishment. Instead, they nudge the viewer into buying into typical consumer practices such as wearing the latest trends and begging your parents for more money to buy the latest trends. Shows like "My Super Sweet Sixteen," "NEXT," "The Hills," etc., are examples of programs that exhibit the type of attitudes that were lampooned on early '90's MTV programming.
During this period, it was common to see personalities such as Janeane Garofalo; alternative, intellectual types, seemingly uninterested in appealing to any broad viewership. It was "cool to be uncool." Being yourself was at the forefront of this movement, this generation of thought.
Now, you find types like Paris Hilton, urging you to be cool by converging into what the mainstream tells you is cool.
Daria Morgendorffer constantly battled against featherbrained jocks and cheerleaders, the type of characters now worshiped on any given MTV show. Her parents were seemingly out-of-touch, whereas parents are now considered and treated like "grown-up friends" or visibly absent from a typical MTV show.

Whether you prefer the old MTV or the new MTV, it doesn't really matter. The network is in itself is, in my opinion, evil by nature. The old MTV poked-fun at itself, a major multi-national conglomerate; criticizing the mainstream for being manipulative, superficial, and out-of-touch with American teens. The new MTV abandons the comical aspect of being a now, global conglomerate, and instead, strictly manipulates its audiences through tepid programming ushering in teen stars that are otherwise, out-of-touch with American teenagers.

This leads to the realization that this is not a "teen" network, offering us kids an alternative to "boring and lame" 24/7 news networks, but rather, a network run by boring and lame 50-somethings concerned with profit margins and future growth. Tomorrow, if some market analyst discovers that kids are genuinely interested with slave labor and human-rights violations in Burma, by the weekend, a production crew with be flying first-class to Yangon to film "True Life: I'm a Slave in My Own Country."
If next week, the same analyst figures out that kids are interested in vacationing in Asia, the same production crew will travel some more and begin filming, "True Life: Vacationing in Burma is Awesome."

"The Wizard"

Fred Savage plays virtually the same character as in "The Wonder Years," a coming-of-age adolescent who thinks he knows more than his parents. His mentally-disturbed brother is in an institution and he feels the need to bust him out. After the successful escape, they go on a cross-country tour towards California. Along the way, they stop by a bus station hoping to buy a ticket. Unfortunately, they do not have enough funds to purchase one. While Savage is attempting to talk his way into a discount ticket, his odd little brother is whooping an arcade game. Savage realizes his brother's potential and comes up with a plan to video game-shark others at arcade games to earn money while hitchhiking to California. Read the rest at IMDb.

The interesting aspect of the movie is the independence of these young kids. In the 80's, several movies showcased young children independently achieving their goals. In movies such as "The Goonies," "Flight of the Navigator," "Stand by Me," etc., without the influence of parents, the main stars act on their own, no matter how inconceivable their ambitions may seem. This was inspiring to me as a child.

However, movies such as these rarely exist in this day in age. Though Harry Potter defeats antagonists in every one of the films/books, it is usually with the assistance of adults. Other top-grossing PG-rated films of our time are predominately animated, and do not lend to an independent state of mind. They are fantastical and involve mythical creatures or anthropomorphic animals. Maybe kids no longer react to stories of children venturing out on their own, seeking to prevail against all odds, but that is a disturbing take on kids of today, who would rather live out their fantasies through video gaming consoles, instead of walking outside and building a fort or taking a hike through the woods. Why take an adventure when you can live vicariously through one on your XBOX?

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