Beyond Clueless takes an in-depth look at the heart and soul of teen films. What they are, what they mean, and what we may not even be grasping that which is right in front of us. Director/writer Charlie Lyne watched over 200 films to find a common thread between them all.
Like any documentary trying to dissect an entire genre, people can read into things how they wish to. Sometimes they nail it right on the head and sometimes it feels as though they are reaching a bit to make their point. The films that Charlie focused on were all mainly from the '90s and early 2000s. These were basically the teen films I grew up on, so it was about an hour and a half of nostalgia washing over me, so no complaints on that front.
The movie showed how all teen films basically fall into formulaic traps. You had the popular kid trying to break out of his mold but is ultimately pulled back into his "reality" or how the only way that a geeky girl can become popular is to embrace the cool kids and become popular herself by shedding that which makes her unique. Sometimes a teen movie is about sexual repression and how we are such a repressed society, whether it is about our own exploration or about coming out of the closet or just having sex in general. Some movies they used hit the topic right on the head. They used Jeepers Creepers as an expression of repressed homosexuality, which when seen again made me go "wow"¦ did not see that the first time", but there were other movies that they used like Eurotrip or Idle Hands that made me think they were kind of reaching.
Fairuza Balk narrated the film, which is a nice shout out to her seeing as she also starred in the film that started the whole documentary, The Craft. A few of the films used in the documentary were The Craft, Mean Girls, Idle Hands, Jeepers Creepers, Boys and Girls, Varsity Blues, EuroTrip, She's All That, The Faculty, and Can't Hardly Wait.
For the most part, the film does a great job at what it set out to achieve, but it sometimes dragged on just a bit to where I didn't regret seeing it, because it was much better than other docs I saw at SXSW, but it could have been a lot better. I would recommend watching it, but this is one-time-only film.