90s vs 00s teen movies fight!

When I watched Charlie Bartlett next week, I kept comparing it to other teen movies in my head, trying to figure out what it reminded me of. I decided it was Pump Up the Volume. In both, the protagonist is privy to the secrets of others, and helps instigate the rebellion of the student body. But Charlie Bartlett is a coming of age story – it ends with Charlie being interviewed for an internship after graduation, his chequered past inspiring him, not stopping him. In Pump Up the Volume, the last we see of Mark is his arrest, and the film ends with the voices of those who he has inspired, who have started up their own pirate radio stations and are continuing to speak out.

Pump Up the Volume, I decided, is the more satisfying movie.

The fascism of the school system, and the student’s rebellion against the above, is the main story in Pump Up the Volume, where in Charlie Bartlett it is simply a subplot to the stories of Charlie and his girlfriend’s dad, Principal Nathan Gardner. As a result it seems kind of extranuous – the students riot, but we don’t know whether or not anything comes of this. The principal gets fired, but unlike in Pump Up the Volume, he’s clearly not the bad guy (he actually seemed like a pretty good principal to me). It’s better for his sake, but it doesn’t make anything better for the students.

But that’s okay, because they’re all too busy directing their energy into the school play to kick it against the pricks.

Charlie Barlett is also comparitively a fantasy – I find it hard to believe in the school’s adoration of Charlie, their opening up to him as school ‘psychiatrist’. The fascination with the character of Hard Harry, and the anonymity of the late night radio program seem far more likely to me. Plus, you know, Mark isn’t dealing drugs and getting away with it.

In fact, Charlie gets away with a lot more. He gets arrested, but it doesn’t impede his life in anyway, as opposed to the finality of Mark’s arrest, where it actually seems like he pays for breaking the law. Charlie doesn’t. Unlike with Charlie, the suicidal kid who confides in Hard Harry actually succeeds in killing himself; Mark never gets to make that right.

Also, Mark and Nora hooking up is way hotter than Charlie and Susan. Just saying.

I would like to write an epic proper comparision of the two movies (I even started taking notes) but I think I might scare myself if I did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>