The YA Genre, Its Not Just for Young Adults

Jennifer Connelly as Josie McClellan in Career Opportunities

Jennifer Connelly as Josie McClellan in Career Opportunities

Yesterday I went to see the movie Southpaw, after that movie was over I saw that Mission Impossible was starting in about 30 minutes and decided that I wanted to see the opening scene with Tom Cruise hanging off the jet in IMAX and then I would go home.

I had already seen the movie and thought it was OK. Basically if you love any of the Mission Impossible movies, you will probably love this one. I am not a fan of the franchise but I have seen them all and despite finding them silly there is always at least one very entertaining moment, usually Tom Cruise doing some crazy stunt and, well, there is always at least one sexy woman in the movies. I am a straight guy, I love me a sexy woman.

So, I had some time to burn so I went and saw the end of the movie Paper Towns. Another movie I had already seen but I welcomed the chance to look at the pretty young women in this movie again.

I must admit, I have a soft spot for what is now called the YA, young adult, genre and I grew up on the great 80’s teen comedies, yes, John Hughes (RIP) was a teen comedy god. Sure, part of it is that I will soon be eligible for my DOM, dirty old man, membership, and I like looking at beautiful young women but the more important reason is that I live vicariously through these movies as I did not experience any of what you see in these movies.

While other kids were partying, dating, losing their virginity, making friends that last forever, or at least friends you never forget, going to proms, experiencing graduation and just being a young adult during middle and high school, I was having to be an adult.

Basically I went straight from 10 years old to manhood and missed all that fun stuff. Sure, I went to school but my off hours, when not studying, was dealing with serious issues such as family members in hospitals and nursing homes, deaths and funerals, basically lots and lots of emotional devastation. I survived.

I now and have always loved watching movies about teens and young adults, Pretty in Pink, Superbad, Ghost World, Risky Business, The Spectacular Now, Pump Up the Volume, Napoleon Dynamite, Meatballs, River’s Edge, The Virgin Suicides, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Heathers, Clueless, My Bodyguard, 10 Things I Hate About You, Juno, Rebel Without a Cause, American Graffiti, Boyz n the Hood, Election, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Lucas, Peggy Sue Got Married, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Dead Poets Society, American Pie, Hoosiers, Back to the Future, Bring It On, Kids, Brick, Fame, Can’t Hardly Wait, Sixteen Candles, Porky’s, Lean on Me, Stand and Deliver, The Outsiders, Weird Science, Never Been Kissed, Dope, The Lost Boys, Footloose, Class, The Last American Virgin, All the Right Moves, Valley Girl, Better Off Dead, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Tomboy, School Ties, Angus, The Craft, Cruel Intentions, Splendor in the Grass, Grease, Carrie, Donnie Darko and many more I now forget, I watch them all and they all break my heart in some fashion.

My favorite is Say Anything…with Almost Famous a close second, and yes, both were written and directed by Cameron Crowe who will always be my bromance soul mate I probably never meet.

The character I most wanted to be, Ferris Bueller as played by Matthew Broderick, of course, but the character I most connect with is Lloyd Dobler as played by John Cusack in Say Anything… and, of course, I grew up to be Mike Damone as played by Robert Romanus in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. “Scalper? You call me a scalper? I perform a service, my friends. The service costs money. Now do you want the tickets or not?”

How about the girls? Jennifer Connelly as Josie McClellan in Career Opportunities is probably the sexiest character while I will give Cybill Shepherd as Jacy Farrow in The Last Picture Show second place.

As for the more romantic crushes, there are so many, Molly Ringwald as Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles, Emma Watson as Sam in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Heather Graham as Mercedes Lane, great name, in License to Drive, Meredith Salenger as Lainie Diamond in Dream a Little Dream, Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith in Just One of the Guys, Amanda Peterson (RIP) as Cindy Mancini in Can’t Buy Me Love, Elisabeth Shue as Chris in Adventures in Babysitting, Kate Hudson as Penny Lane in Almost Famous and though I really want to say Ally Sheedy as Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club is my favorite, I really do love the weird loner girls, I have to go with an upset choice, Mary Stuart Masterson as Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful. I also love the sensitive sexy little tomboys, they always break my heart.

So what about the ladies in Paper Towns? Yes, Cara Delevingne as Margo is a sexy girl and a former Victoria’s Secret model but the young lady that stole my heart in this movie was Halston Sage as Lacey. You have to love the popular girl who turns out to be so sweet and has more depth than you would have ever expected.

What more can I say? Well, I guess a Matthew McConaughey as David Wooderson quote from Dazed and Confused sums it all up very nicely, “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

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R.I.P. Emma

An old friend of mine died today. We were not close. She was only in my life for a few years and that was over twenty years ago. We did not keep in touch and to be honest I was really not a very good friend to her.

We met through common friends and hung out as a group for the most part. Our bond, for lack of a better word, was that she had a big crush on me. It was not something she ever directly expressed to me but for our common friends it was a constant source of conversation and amusement.

At that time I was young and stupid (age has made me just a little less stupid) and though I knew she was a special person, someone that could have been such a wonderful friend, maybe for a lifetime, because I was not attracted to her romantically I did nothing to maintain our friendship.

As I have done with most people in my life, I simply let the friendship expire without any attempt to renew.

So why am I sitting here crying like a baby as I type this?

I wish that I could say it is because I have lost someone I loved but that would be a lie. I never gave myself the chance to truly be her friend, to love her as a friend, to let her love me as a friend.

My emotional connection to her is not one of love but a reminder of lost potential, of a life, my life, so often wasted.

I cry because her death holds a mirror up to my life, a life that so far has avoided, deflected, sidestepped and rejected love like it was some kind of poison and my very life depended on not coming in contact with it.

I cry because though I accept I have done this for emotional survival reasons I also realize this so-called survival has been at the expense of any genuine happiness.

I cry because I am only now starting to realize that you should accept and cherish all love that comes in to your life in any form or fashion and to never take it for granted.

I cry because I realize that love is not something you can fill up on, its not something that overflows down your body on to the ground circling down the drain when there is too much of it in your life.

I cry because I realize though you can never have too much, you can definitely have too little and my gauge rarely rises above empty.

I cry because a life without love is not a life.

I cry because I wish I could talk to her one more time, to tell her that she is still special to me, to ask her forgiveness, to thank her for trying, to ask if we can still be friends.

I cry because, well, to put it bluntly, I realize I have lived the life of a complete fucking idiot.

I cry because I know that if I said that to her it would make her laugh and she would completely agree with me and that would make me laugh.

R.I.P. Emma Bunker (as I knew you) but with all due respect to your family, that accepted, needed and will miss your love, R.I.P. Emma Wheeler.