"Teenagers seem to occupy a time warp of eternally unchanging preoccupations" (Ebert, 1981). I suppose we'll see this month. I'm finished with Porky's after tonight (and I so wanted to watch Porky's II: The Next Day and Porky's Revenge in my downtime this past week but I just didn't have time). Choosing four films to represent teenage, high school themes was difficult. Narrowing it down--like I did with action films--to the 1980s helped. On the one hand, that reduced my choices to about eight films (a much easier number to reduce further). On the other hand, it also stuck me back in my childhood in looking back at these films. I've got nostalgia for these movies, just as Porky's has nostalgia for the fifties. It's a simpler time, a more innocent time, when the world was ending and sex was on the big screen but I was constantly told how it was bad and I shouldn't even think about it.
Now, I don't think that I actually saw the first Porky's in the theater, but I had seen it and the second one before the third one was out in 1985. This next week's film I did not see in the theater either. For years, I only saw it on television so a certain... scene was not something in my head when adolescence came. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let us stay in Angel Beach for now. Or Pasadena, perhaps--where I went to high school, where I was in elementary school when I saw Porky's Revenge in the theater. That movie doesn't just start with Pee Wee's morning wood but shows us the dream that leads to it (even though, research demonstrates (and Beavis and Butt-Head would concur) that morning erections don't really come from sexual dreams). That is something a nine-year-old moviegoer remembers.
And, for the record, any attempt by my mother to cover my eyes just made me pay closer attention.
And, in retrospect, that was mostly just fine. Even movies like Porky's--so focused on sex--are pretty damn innocent compared to, say the thriller Scream for Help, which introduced ten year old me to the idea that sex did not have to be missionary... or did I already know that? I may have known it, but I think that might have been the first film in which I saw it...
And, it's an interesting thing to think about. What did I know and when did I know it? I certainly wasn't learning it at the Christian private school I attended. At least not in any classroom. And, there was no "talk" with either of my parents. There was a single sex ed video in high school, but it was more about puberty and the fact that girls could now get pregnant than any details about sex. Of course, by then, I'd seen plenty of sex on the big screen or on cable. Sure, by the standards of the church I grew up attending, it was sinful, but what did I care?
I was a lot like Calvin here:
If it was "bad" for me, I sought it out. To be fair, when it came to movie content, I sought out anything and everything. Movies were always a thing for me. When a new movie theater opened in Old Town in 1986, I just had to go see a movie there--seriously, the United Artists Marketplace opened December 4 and I went to see Heartbreak Ridge there that very weekend. Yes, 10-year-old me was the instigator for seeing a Clint Eastwood-starring military movie with my dad. I wouldn't be making lists of movies I was seeing for another decade or so, but I was definitely already making an effort to see a lot of movies.
A few years later--my senior year in high school--I worked a lot of Saturday nights as a parking attendant. I would get home around 11pm and then I would walk to Blockbuster Video and rent 3-4 movies and would usually stay up all night watching them. And, in case you are new to this blog, lately I watch at least one movie a day. So, me and film are very close. We've spent a lot of time together.
In this blog, I once said, "I've got plenty of memories wrapped up in movies, so much so I could probably frame my autobiography around them someday like Nick Hornby framed Fever Pitch" around his experience with football games. On the one hand, I could totally do that. On the other hand, I kind of already so, here, in this blog.
Anyway, high school continues tomorrow. (Plus, in class tomorrow night, I will be referencing some of the stuff I wrote about Moulin Ridge! a few weeks back.) As Porky's collapses, I leave Porky's behind. I leave Angel Beach for Ridgemont.