I know, I know, despite the awesome clip I just posted, you don’t like teen movies. Make an exception for Easy-A. It details the adventures of Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone). She’s an innocuous high school student until she helps her friend pretend he’s not gay. Doing so leads to her pretending to have sex with the school losers, often in exchange for gift cards (she’s saving up for a label maker). Here’s why it’s great:
1) Because this stuff actually happens in high school! I mean, not pretending to have sex with people for money. But the OMG SCANDAL aspect of finding out that anyone had sex still exists. Looking back, you realize that it’s the last time in your life anyone will ever care, but you don’t know that then. From what I remember of high school, when rumors got spread about me, I thought it was a huge deal and oh-my-god-no-one-would-like-me-what-had-I-done-to-deserve this-life-was-over. When rumors get spread about Olive she seems to recognize that everyone in her peer group is an idiot and thinks it’s hilarious. If you’re still in high school, try to be like Olive.
2) Because they make fun of the Demi Moore version of the Scarlet Letter. And all the other books you have to read in high school. My favorite moment might be when Olive remarks that teachers try to tie everything you read to something you’re experiencing as a teenager, “except for Mark Twain, because Huckleberry Finn is about a young boy running away with a big hulking black man.” Because, yes.
3) Because, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson play parents you’d actually want to have. They’re hilarious, and they’re smart, and they’re caring. Okay, lots of parents suck (mine are awesome, and yes, I did go out to see this movie with my mom, hi Mom) but it’s nice to see a teen movie where they’re not either distant authority figures or horribly messed up. As Stanley Tucci tells Olive that she looks like “a high class stripper, for senators!” you get the feeling that they would never forget her 16th birthday.
4) Because Thomas Hayden Church is perfect at playing at that one genuinely cool teacher you had, once (he taught English, most likely). He’s so cool that at one point he starts rapping and you think “oh, Jesus Christ, teen movie” but then he starts making fun of how that’s the sort of thing loser teachers do to make their students think that they’re cool. And, yes.
5) Because it recognizes that John Hughes does not write high school experiences for most people. And yet, just as Olive does, I think we still wanted John Cusack to stand outside our window with a boom box and a big, splashy musical number for no particular reason. To deny that desire is to deny what it is to be young.
And, just as a bonus, come on, because that clip I put in is like an Allie Brosh cartoon all by itself.