Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#101 Post by knives » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:07 pm

I imagine they're The 400 Blows and either Rebel Without a Cause or Harold and Maude all three of which I assume will eventually get listed if we get more then five lists in.

User avatar
bottled spider
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#102 Post by bottled spider » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:34 pm

There was such a superabundance of great possibilities for this list, I resorted to restricting myself to films that are unambiguously focused on people unambiguously under the age of twenty. My list would have had a different complexion under a looser categorization.

So while I didn't vote for it for the above self-imposed restriction, I will second the plug for Color Wheel, one of the most delightful discoveries of this list project. I loved its aggressively, abrasively mumblecoresque style, its unflagging pace and continuous funniness, and its extraordinary finale.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#103 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:15 am

Well, in addition to films that did make my list, here’s some brief appeals to others to list the movies that didn’t make my list, but are still worthy inclusions I’d love to see represented:

A Far Off Place (Reese Witherspoon versus the Australian outback in the most violent Disney movie you’ll ever see— assuming any of you jerks ever bother to see this), Adieu Phillipine (Rozier’s other great look at French youth), Antoine and Colette (the best of the Doinel films by a wide margin), Billy Liar (Fantasy as both survival mechanism and advancement hinderance), Daddy Longlegs (Only Astaire could make this character not a creep), Down in the Valley (Evan Rachel Wood is spot-on as the rebellious teen who starts a romance with mysterious cowboy Edward Norton), Freeway (Reese Witherspoon is white trash perfection), George Washington (Nothing DGG’s done since matches his first pass at this kind of thing), Gidget (Surprisingly straight-faced affair for a movie about a surfer girl crushing on a guy named Moondoggie), God Help the Girl (A flawed modern musical, but one that captures a period of twee indiehood near and dear to my own youth), Innocence (Youth as what the fuck is going on), It Follows (teenage sexual fears physically manifested), Kids (Sure, a lot of it is empty bombast and “shock”, but it’s only too appropriate for the subject matter), the Last Picture Show (Texas teens take their time toiling through trials + tribulations), Little Darlings (the best of the sincere camp-set teen movies), Lord Love a Duck (Proof that one memorable scene can make an entire film worth recommending), Lucas (sweet nerd Corey Haim falls for Kerri Green from the Goonies and their touching friendship defies expectations set by other, far inferior teen films from this decade. One of the hardest cuts to make from the list), Martha Marcy May Marlene (What is broken may never be fixed), Masculin Feminin (the first round of the Cola Wars), Mean Girls (Popular teen fare more than worthy of its omnipresence), Mildred Pierce (Curtiz’ original, though both are great— but the original has Ann Blyth as the most odious teenager in motion picture history), Mouchette (A depressing Bresson film?! Why I never!), Nada Surf “Popular” (music video) (Being attractive is the most important thing there is), National Lampoon’s Animal House (cheerfully vulgar and influential comedy that still holds up), O (the superior Shakespeare update), Paper Towns (In which you don’t actually want the object of your affection), Rebecca (A better film than most of those that made my top fifty, but not necessarily when it comes to youth. Joan Fontaine’s performance is still a thing of wonder, though), Scott Pilgrim vs the World (There’s just too few spots in a top fifty), Shadow of a Doubt (How sad it is when our childhood idols fall), the Social Network (As Charlie Chaplin is told in the Cat’s Meow, being nice is for bellboys), the Spectacular Now (A rare sympathetic asshole male teen), Spring Breakers (Bro culture as seen from outside. No resemblance to the reality of its subject and yet that is it’s greatest selling point), the Squid and the Whale (Cringe-fest of teenage memories we’d all want wiped from our minds), 13 Going on 30 (Jennifer Garner does Big one better [bigger?]), WarGames (Ally Sheedy's lament in the face of nuclear destruction about never having learned to swim says more about the end of the world than any other film ever has), Where the Boys Are (Hollywood inching toward cultural relevancy at the dawn of the sixties), White God (Too violent for dog lovers, too mawkish for the art house scene, this is a film for no one— no one but you, reading this), the Window (the nightmare of every child [looking forward to zedz’ memo that everyone believed him as a child]), Winter’s Bone (Remember when Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t Jennifer Lawrence?), Wristcutters: A Love Story (turns out suicide isn’t the answer), Wuthering Heights (2011) (the most radical and best literary adaptation in recent memory)

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#104 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:18 am

I never do the genre lists but I'll try to get some time by the end of the week to do this, even if I just go through the thread and grab films.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#105 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:18 am

Please do! The more lists submitted, the merrier!

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#106 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:48 pm

Sorry for the lack of contribution to this thread - it's less through lack of interest and more being overwhelmed with lots of stuff at the moment! One film that I'm probably going to add onto my list that I've not see mentioned yet though is Damien Odoul's 'rituals of rural teenage masculinity' film Le souffle (this is a link to the full film - be warned there's an animal killing in the opening minute and a couple of other NSFW bits. Unfortunately only Spanish close captions are available though). It did the whole 'homage to Tarkovsky' thing a few years before Lars von Trier!

User avatar
Feego
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#107 Post by Feego » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:50 pm

A couple of Max Fleischer shorts that are likely to make my list:

Somewhere in Dreamland (1936)
A brother and sister briefly escape their poverty-stricken lives in a dreamworld where sweets, toys and fun are plentiful.

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936)
A group of orphans (apparently without any adult supervision?) have their Christmas frowns turned upside down when a MacGyver-esque stranger turns their shelter into a winter wonderland!

Both of these shorts are pure escapist fantasies for Depression-era viewers. I remember seeing these on some of those wonderful public domain VHS cartoon collections you could pick up cheaply at K-Mart in the late 80s/early 90s, and even divorced from their 1930s context, they were great delights for me.


EDIT: Sorry, I posted these links while I was at work, with the sound off, and I didn't realize the videos were dubbed in Italian! English versions now linked above.

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#108 Post by movielocke » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:57 pm

Surprised no one has mentioned Stand By Me, one of my favorite films period, and one of the first films I discovered as a teenager on my way to becoming a cineaste. It fits perfectly within this genre, and balances the razors edge of the differing strengths of innocence and experience. Wil Wheaton's final scene in the film with Keifer Sutherland is perfect and beautifully pivots the film from an idyll into an elegy. It will always be a particular favorite of mine, and I hope it does well on this list.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#109 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:55 pm

Six lists in and I guess I needed to make the rules clearer because Cocoon: the Return is dominating the top spot

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#110 Post by movielocke » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:32 pm

There's an especial appeal to films of youth, I think, in part because such films often have a very natural, and very compelling eschatology, a clearly defined end.

And that eschaton, that 'moment of ending' of youth when adolescence or adulthood begins is inherently cathartic. I remember well such a moment and I remember it not at all. Because the gradual accretion of aging means that... they just happen: adulthood; adolescence.

My internal resonance with the eschaton of becoming adult--of no longer being a child--is false. An idea embedded by an immensity of cultural artifacts that exclaim that we experience the transitions of life in singular moments. So I say, "Yes! that is me!" while knowing it was not me. I recruit artifacts of the cultural detritus we swim in and throw them into the past, embed them into memories, wanting to cling to the comfort of narrative, the reassurance of "meaning" they provide.

An explosion of consciousness.

The fury of righteousness.

The folly of certainty.

These are some of the narrative necessities we cling to in stories of youth.

And it is morbid to appropriate the term eschatology in this context, becasue it is the end of all things, and it is the end of childhood, or innocence, that often drives these films.

Perhaps I reach for the term eschatology because Empire of the Sun is to me a clearly apocalyptic film. For Jaime, it is the end of the world, his separation from his parents, the invasion of Shanghai, his imprisonment in a camp.

And he grabs on to the detritus sweeping about him and throws those ideas back into the past.

So we see him cling to a cutout of Norman Rockwell's famous "Freedom from Fear" painting, and yes, if we go back to the pre-lapsarian beginning of the film we will see this exact moment created. the characteristics and mannerisms of the adults around him in the camp, Mrs. Victor and Dr. Rawlins, are characteristics he flings back into the past to stamp on top of memories, false memories really, of his own parents. A bombing run on the airfield, recalls a false memory of climbing into a skeleton of a plane, of being a pilot himself. He even falsely sees the atomic bomb explosion. He hears of it on the radio but earlier he "saw" it explode, just another false memory.

All of these are carefully executed with visual rhyming and parallel shot and editing construction in each of these instances. Freedom from Fear is a static shot on sticks (there is a 'hidden' dissolve in this shot, but that is only because they edited out a dialog scene), the parallel bombing runs use the same camera moves and edits. Father and Rawlins, Victor and Mother are shot the same ways, given the same hairstyles and so on.

And ultimately the reveal is that there is no eschaton, in spite of moments that Jaime wants to believe are such. There was no apocalypse. The moment of apotheosis is the onset of madness. Becoming an adult doesn't bring an explosion of consciousness or any other revelation. It is just war, what happens. Experienced by millions of orphaned infants' wails, the shattering of one life is an apocalypse writ small and an apocalypse not at all. It's something we want to explode into meaning when perhaps it is just all meaningless.

God is equated as an atomic bomb, the technology of the apocalypse rendered divine, the divine rendered meaningless.

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#111 Post by movielocke » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:31 pm

"and hey, I met you. You are not cool."

"I'm always home, I'm uncool."

Almost Famous was the first R-rated film I saw in a theatre by the happenstance of coming out shortly after my 17th birthday and being raised by moderately strict parents. It remains one of the few films that speaks to my experience of adolescence. While there is nothing personal for me to relate to in a film like Dazed and Confused that celebrates cool kids and stoners being mean and partying, and nothing personally to relate to in Rebel Without a Cause that celebrates nihilistic rebelliousness and comical 'you don't understand me' whinging, with Almost Famous is a film--about a quiet, receding, but ambitious boy who never does belong but often wants to--I can actually, personally, profoundly relate to.

A scholastic success and a social failure, William Miller embarks on tour with the band Stillwater to write an article for Rolling Stone. He's fifteen but a high school graduate and his mother can't quite bare to let him go, but she does. And he loves rock and roll. In a way he belongs, although he never does belong, because here is a community that accepts him into their company, something that has never before happened in his life: friendship. And where friendship goes, for young men who are incapable of distinguishing attention from affection, unrequited love inevitably follows.

"I have to go home." / "You are home."

Is the line from the famous Tiny Dancer scene, a scene that is completed later in the film by the other Elton John song on the soundtrack, the superior Monalisas and Madhatters. these two moments connect together by more than just the artist scoring the background. The home that Penny Lane proffers to William Miller with Tiny Dancer houses the consequences he discovers with Monalisas and Madhatters. Like the home he left behind it is a broken one, it doesn't contain the completeness or even the reciprocation of his love that he so desperately craves.

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#112 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:58 pm

Can A Hard Day's Night be included as a youth film? In the film the four lads are 23, 23, 21 and 21 (during the shoot), and there's screaming kids throughout.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#113 Post by knives » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:19 pm

Why not? Certainly it (and a lot of Lester's early films) are about youth culture. I didn't include them because I'm keeping it slightly younger, but I'm not everyone.

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#114 Post by movielocke » Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:03 pm

I'm also keeping it younger, but I would say it's much more of a youth film than Back to the Future for example.

***

When Philip Dunne went to adapt the monstrously epic novel, How Green Was My Valley the intent by the founder of the Writer's Guild and studio head Daryl Zanuck was to craft Fox studio's response to Gone with the Wind and release their own four-hour technicolor extravaganza about a Welsh boy growing to maturity in the filial dissolution driven by the industrial revolution. They would film on location in Wales and in studios in London. And then the Blitz happened and the project by necessity would be shot only in America. unable to find any suitable stand ins for Welsh locations, they shot in black and white, in the Santa Monica Mountains, so that people might not notice the desert scrub did not resemble the titular verdant green. The director left the project and John Ford was brought on board and made the crucial suggestion that caused the reduced project to work as a traditional two-hour film: don't have the child grow to maturity, instead compress the sweep of history into a few formative years of the child's life and he need not age or have two actors cast for his role.

Thus does an epic of an entire age become a film of youth.

As Huw Morgan experiences life, his valley was not so green. the events of the film dissolve his family, throw it into rack and ruin in the cruel grasp of traditions that women are property, men as as expendable as cogs, and an education, or hope, like a future, are not to be found in the valley. And as he says in the opening and closing narration, he is leaving the valley as well. It is a film of the immense sadness and nostalgia of a time when things were not so shattered, and how that life--that whole people entire--were to be shattered by the inexorable march of technology and the opulent tyranny of the aristocrats of the gilded age, that even the people's only defense, a union, is an acknowledgement that the old cultural norms are as gone, collapsed like a mine disaster.

User avatar
gorgeousnothings
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:29 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#115 Post by gorgeousnothings » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:16 pm

I don't think I'll be submitting a list, but Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me would be up there if I did. Laura Palmer makes me so sad.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#116 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:55 am

I'm just finalising my list and its hit me quite forcefully, though it should really have been obvious, how many films featuring children or young people are really less about children's interactions with one another but about using a young character to see the world and the adults within it through fresh eyes. Though I haven't written many of them up, I'm really happy with the way this project has gotten me to think through this strand of films, and I'm happy with the way my list turned out! I've got films involving:

Banding together (I Wish, La haine) or alone with their issues (The 400 Blows) or just against the adults (Rebel Without A Cause);
Solving crime (Hue & Cry) or causing it (Elephant, Scum, Angels With Dirty Faces, Violence: The Last Resort);
Experiencing existential angst (Ratcatcher, Le souffle, 1988's Pulse) or ennui (Masculin Feminin, 2001's Pulse!);
Sex and sexuality, often violent and tinged with horror (Carrie, Fat Girl, Urotsukidoji, Ken Park, Young Törless, Les enfants terribles, Forbidden Games, The Rules of Attraction);
Kids just hanging out bored (King of the Hill, Kids, It's Impossible To Learn To Plow By Reading Books, Y Tu Mama Tambien);
Kids wrestling with profound problems of coming to terms with the somewhat flawed and imperfect adult world around them (The Curse of the Cat People, I Wish, The White Balloon, Zazie dans le Metro, Invaders From Mars);
Trying to transition to the adult world with varying degrees of success or failure (A Lover and His Lass, Billy Liar, Grave of the Fireflies);
And in particular playacting and living in a fantasy world (Emma, Bugsy Malone, The Neverending Story, Lady In White), though that shifts into battling against unleashed monsters either from the literal depths or the depths within the self (The Gate, Urotsukidoji, Carrie);
I threw in a bit of nostalgia for childhood in there too with Cinema Paradiso, Stand By Me and The Last Picture Show!

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#117 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:06 am

If you haven't submitted a list yet, you've got approximately 48 hours to do so. Twelve lists so far, including mine. Very little in the way of consensus, so it should be an interesting final list! I haven't bothered to start tallying but there's no clear front runner on cursory survey of the ballots so far. You can submit a revised ballot up until I say in this thread that you can't

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#118 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:59 pm

Actually, I'm going to try and get a head start on compiling while I have some free time, so no revisions going forward unless you are voting for the Oogieloves, in which case I will allow it

User avatar
Feego
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#119 Post by Feego » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:36 pm

colinr0380 wrote:And in particular playacting and living in a fantasy world (The Neverending Story)
I think The NeverEnding Story also very much explores your theme of children "wrestling with profound problems of coming to terms with the somewhat flawed and imperfect adult world around them." The young reader, Bastian, has recently lost his mother, and his father is incapable of connecting with him emotionally. Add to that the school bullies who torment him, and there seem to be no adults in sight who take him seriously (aside from the mysterious bookseller). Batian, like Dorothy in one of my favorites Return to Oz, retreats into a fantasy world where children take on the adult responsibilities. In both films, these worlds are on the path to destruction, and it's up to the children to restore them to their former glory, thereby also gaining a sense of control in their problematic real worlds.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#120 Post by zedz » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:07 pm

swo17 wrote:Celine and Julie Go Boating
Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle
I group these along with Du côté d'Orouët in the subgenre of French girls of a certain age acting adorably. Am I wrong to do so?
I realise I'm going to be much stricter with my definition of "film of youth" than most people, but you're getting pretty jaded when "youth" gets interpreted as "under 40": Berto and Labourier were 27 and 31 when they made Celine et Julie, and I don't see any evidence that they're playing ten to fifteen years younger in the film (for all that the film is full of youthful energy etc.)

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#121 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:16 pm

You guys, this is the weirdest fucking list I've ever tabulated (so far!)

Clue time! Let's play two truths and a lie:

A. Only five of the top ten are Criterion releases, and none of the current top three have been released by Criterion
B. Three of the top five films are in English, with two being studio-era Hollywood films
C. None of the top five films are eligible for the All Time List, though every film has at least one other title on that list from the same director

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#122 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:20 pm

zedz wrote:I realise I'm going to be much stricter with my definition of "film of youth" than most people, but you're getting pretty jaded when "youth" gets interpreted as "under 40": Berto and Labourier were 27 and 31 when they made Celine et Julie, and I don't see any evidence that they're playing ten to fifteen years younger in the film (for all that the film is full of youthful energy etc.)
There are several films I didn't include in my list that had major characters that were "youthful", but where it wasn't clear that they fit the 22 and under category, so I chose to discard them. Examples include Rope, Rebecca, 3 Women (Pinky Rose), Thieves Like Us (Bowie and Keechie), Through the Glass Darkly (Karin - she has a teenage brother that's part of the foursome, but that in itself for me wasn't sufficient).

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#123 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:27 pm

domino harvey wrote:You guys, this is the weirdest fucking list I've ever tabulated (so far!)

Clue time! Let's play two truths and a lie:

A. Only five of the top ten are Criterion releases, and none of the current top three have been released by Criterion
B. Three of the top five films are in English, with two being studio-era Hollywood films
C. None of the top five films are eligible for the All Time List, though every film has at least one other title on that list from the same director
I'll guess that A and C are true.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#124 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:40 pm

Thirteen lists, 117 eligible films. My clues are still broadly accurate for the list as it stands now with one small caveat that I can't clarify without betraying which is which

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Films of Youth List Discussion + Suggestions (Genre Proj

#125 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:26 pm

I agree with you on the classification of The NeverEnding Story Feego! I was always the kind of kid who thought it was wonderful, not sad, to cut school and hide out in a spooky attic to read a book all day! (I love those moments when the character breaks off reading to return momentarily to the 'real world', before plunging back into fantasy). I'd have probably done the same thing even if I weren't being chased by bullies! And it also makes me think that this is another, more male-centric version of Through the Looking-Glass, And What Alice Found There.
domino harvey wrote:Actually, I'm going to try and get a head start on compiling while I have some free time, so no revisions going forward unless you are voting for the Oogieloves, in which case I will allow it
Is it wrong to believe that Cary Elwes is far more frightening and sleazy in The Oogieloves film than he was in the Saw series? Plus how the hell did Christopher Lloyd get roped into a cameo as some sort of a flamenco dancer? And Chazz Palminteri as the ecstatically happy owner of a milkshake bar? Was the person doing the casting hopped up on drugs at the time? Here's a Cinema Snob video on that bizarre film.

Post Reply