20 years ago Larry Clark captured the typical big city American teen in his realistic and poignant coming of age movie, Kids. Life as a teenager portrayed by Clark, even twenty years later, is still relevant today. I remember watching Kids for the first time laughing at most of the scenes just because it was like watching a lot of people I know. It was the rebellious group of kids who were considered “outcasts” – and yes the quotes are meant to be there because they aren’t really outcasts – because most of you do want to be accepted by them. Realistically though, if you aren’t authentic to what they’re all about then you probably won’t even last a day with them. Most come from money or broken homes, and/or broken hearts. They love to break shit, ruin things, and they create this persona that seems almost unreal and scary to the straight-edge, square “I have to be like everyone else”, sheltered kid-next-door. They aren’t necessarily bad kids, but they are numb to the more surface emotions of others outside the group. They create their fun in insults, littering, and fighting. They connect because they all share common ground in creating thrill.
Fast forward…. it’s not all fun and games. Knocking all the traffic cones over on the beach, ripping down all the caution tape and running away from a dangerous site, throwing an egg at a person instead of the harmless version of egging houses (which most teenagers have done before) does not just come out of nowhere. These rebellious actions are the result of teenage emotions and being broken.
Just like Telly, there is always the friend who takes it too far and the old fun they used to have together is no longer considered fun. Someone smokes too much weed, gets into trouble, drinks too much, smells too bad from not showering, is ANNOYING, and suddenly getting high is no longer cool, breaking things is stupid, a drunk is just a drunk, and everyone wants to be clean again. Friends are dropped, people move on, and the phase of aggression and angst is over just like that.
So, with that, Kids is a cult classic, horrifying to some, reminiscent to many, and still relevant to the youth today.