Teen Dreams – Volume II

Once upon a time, the young teenage version of me huddled in front of the television in hopes that the more she watched the likes of Christina Ricci, Julia Stiles and Liv Tyler kick proverbial ass, the more her relatively tragic teenage legacy would subside. (Yes, I wrote a speech in grade six about Star Wars, and no, it wasn’t until recently did I become aware of how awesome that was.) Hence, in the spirit of Elizabeth’s super-rad Teen Dreams piece, I have penned for you my own – mostly because if there’s anything we can bond over, it’s that everyone wanted to be Christina Ricci.

WORDS: Ms. Anne T. Donahue


Now and Then

When Now and Then came out, I was ten years old, socially awkward and spent the summer of 1995 attempting to style my grown-out mushroom cut into a Christina Ricci-esque waterfall of sleek. (Needless to say, I was a complete babe.) But where you’d think I was alone in trying to mimic Roberta’s no-bullshit and slightly surly demeanour, I was not, and the majority of girls in my elementary school identified with at least one of the fabulous four which always led the exclusion of a couple pals who were sentenced to being branded as Chrissy or cast away entirely. (Kids can be cruel.)

Did it matter that these fictional 12-year-olds were obviously the victims of bad parenting and post-traumatic stress? (Seriously – any pre-pubescent girl who consistently fakes her own death has some sort of issue that needs to be professionally addressed). No. What mattered was that they represented the bonds of sisterhood and the carefree nature of “back in the day” – you know, when painting the garage was upstaged only by a walky-talkies and pudding-filled balloons.

Empire Records

After seeing Empire Records for the first time at age 16, I wanted nothing more to abandon my current job (at a shoe store) and pursue a career in a record shop, where like-minded souls and I could bond over various releases and prepare for our own version of Rex Manning Day. The downside? Circa 2001 I had terrible taste in music, and my favourite band could likely be compared to the music AJ burns to forever discourage Marc. That, and my local record store was a giant chain and the spirits of its employees were likely crushed upon hiring. (But screw it naysayers, I had dreams!)

The bad news is that I never did get that job at the record store (because I was too lazy to apply in the first place), but what I did take away from daily viewings was that 1) all teenagers were screwed up (I wasn’t alone!) and 2) it truly was socially acceptable to dance around to the Gin Blossoms after all.

10 Things I Hate About You

You know those films that you become obsessed with to the point of it being questionable? You know, when you see it in theatres multiple times and go so far as to buying the book based on the film so you can better understand the lead character’s mentality? Right, so multiple that by 100 and you’ll understand my feelings upon seeing 10 Things I Hate About You at age 13. (What can I say? I had one friend – and clearly there was a reason).

Not only was Julia Stiles a total badass (“what is it, asshole day?”), but Heath was a dreamboat unlike anything the world had ever seen. In the meantime, Joseph Gordon-Levitt had the glimmer in his eye that said, “Anne Donahue, I think I may need to date you”, and my interest in 3rd Rock from the Sun could finally be justified. I may not have been familiar with The Feminine Mystique circa 1998, but my modern-day self finally understands the importance of Julia’s tendency to rip down prom posters. (However, had I known what a Riot Grrrl was as a wee one, I probably could’ve dodged a slue of bullshit once I got to high school).

Practical Magic

The equivalent of a cinematic baby blanket, Practical Magic has stayed tried and true from my young years to my current evenings spent sipping a glass of wine and taking comfort in the concept of Midnight Margaritas. Sure, I may not have understood the importance of “blood on the moon” or not to abuse Bella Donna (though I’m still not 100% sure what it is), but there are still numerous reasons why this movie has and always will be amazing:

1) It’s set in the 90s (and the 90s are better).

2) It highlights the bonds of sisterhood. (IT BROKE THE CURSE!)

3) Stevie Nicks sings the theme song.

4) It features magic. Bona fide magic.

5) In moments of doubt, you and your best friend can take solace in the fact that if all else fails, you can live happy, fulfilled and among felines just like the Aunts. (And personally, I have no problem making that my Plan A).

Dazed and Confused

If you’re ever curious about high school in suburban North America, please consult Dazed and Confused and combine it slightly with the Mean Girls – you’ll then completely understand the weirdness that makes up grades nine through ten. No, we didn’t have hazing (we had initiation, and only the smart-mouthed boys got any sort of repercussion by seniors on a power trip), but we did have boredom, parties and aimless driving, so when the gang jumps into their cars and ends up parking at a random location, understand that such behaviour usually made up each and every hazy summer.

The difference between this movie and the others is that I only took time for it in my later years, but since I could calmly look back, shake my head and think, “yep, that’s what we looked like”, I figure it’s fair game. Small town Ontario is just like the football-loving suburb featured in this cinematic gem (damaging mailboxes included), and though we didn’t have a moontower, we had a plaza – as well as the token creepy senior. (“I get older, they stay the same age”).


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