The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Nobody has seen Rebel Without A Cause

According to Hardeep Matharu at the Independent, 'cool teens' - made popular in films by characters such as James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause blah blah something something.

Some blame must go to Rebel itself, whose producers stuck a name to the feature that didn't fit Dean's character Jim Stark. More blame goes to the film's age - back then, people liked to hear blaring soundtracks and didn't mind that characters spoke in stilted, theatrical dialogue; older films might seem like period-dramas to us, but they're not period-dramas. And we can't expect a Brit(?) with a name like Hardeep Matharu to be steeped in California Anglo culture. (One imagines that an Hector Martinez might have at least tried.)

I must, therefore, explain a few things to Matharu here.

The point of Rebel was that these teens had been abandoned, or at least weakly parented; and had created their own society, which - boys being boys - looked a lot like gangland. Jim Stark was just about to prove himself to that society when a bloody accident happened. In the aftermath the gang tried to shut him up. By this point Stark had made some real friends, a girl and a freshman; and sort-of rediscovered another bond that males create, in this case the nuclear family.

Jim Stark wasn't ever 'cool', to the extent 'cool' means 'popular' or even 'tolerated'. He was trying to be 'cool', I guess, but that didn't work out; after that, events drive him into a somewhat-literal corner. (And by the way Stark wasn't rebelling against anything, either.)

The funniest part is that the movie did, in fact, feature 'cool kids'; but Matharu couldn't keep himself from dropping James Dean's name, who played, exactly, the outsider. Matharu did it because he wants his audience to think he's seen a movie that he clearly hasn't. In short, he tries too hard to be cool. Allow me to show him to his table.

posted by Zimri on 10:04 | link | 0 comments

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