Teenage Dirtbag: The Movie

Okay, it’s movie review time.  Teenage Dirtbag. I figure since I’ve watched this movie four times in the past month, I might want to expound upon it.  After the second viewing, I asked myself, “Self…why have you become obsessed with a PG-14 movie about teenagers?”  There are only a handful of movies I’ll watch more than once.  Those being:

* Hustle and Flow

* Napoleon Dynamite

* Muriel’s Wedding

* Twilight

* Teenage Dirtbag

Anyway, I think I figured out my “Dirtbag” intrigue.  It’s the angst.  This movie won’t win an Oscar…and the acting isn’t exactly stellar…but there’s something about the character “Thayer” (played by the dreamy Scott Michael Foster) that hits me in the sternum.  The plot is old as sin….good girl befriends bad boy.  As a teenager, I was always drawn to the guys who reeked of passion.  Not a physical passion…but an emotional passion.  (I will interject that I was also drawn to a few doo-doo heads as well).  I never seemed to have the guts to approach the passionate dudes though.  Probably a good thing…because the ones with passion were always the ones in trouble.

As we grow older, we seem to become more and more detached from our center.  The center that is raw, innocent and morally unpolluted.  Remember that first guy/girl you fell head over heels for?  How just the sight of them made your chest tighten up like a drum and the rest of the world melted away?

In the movie, Thayer was able to voice his raw emotions in a creative writing class.  About a year ago, I got some soul-searching advice.  That being, if you remember the books or movies you loved as a child…the subject matter was close to your soul’s essence.  I’ve racked my brains for the past year, trying to think of a particular book or movie that touched my soul.  But I’ve only recently realized that there wasn’t a specific title that defined me….it was anything with raw angst and passion.  It was Romeo, Man From Snowy River, James Dean in Giant, Spartacus,  Rhett Butler, Ducky in Pretty in Pink.

That realization stripped away the calcium and lime build-up that surrounded my soul and made it abundantly clear that my writing should reflect this.  Hold nothing back.  Create characters that make you want to read about them over and over.  To passionately love them or hate them.  Characters who embed themselves into your brain and stay lodged there for all eternity.  Characters and stories that don’t require nudity and foul language to invoke passionate interest.

I guess that’s what Teenage Dirtbag (based on true events, btw) has done for me.  Embedded itself and inspired me.  One of the first poems Thayer wrote and read in his creative writing class blew open the floodgates of emotion.  It reminded me of the power of words and their ability to re-light your pilot burner.

I am One of Them

A squirrel, two sparrows.
A crippled dog.
Hit. Grasp, save, grasp, hit, miss.
Miss. Miss again.
And I see your eyes.
Fur, feathers. Blood. And that noise.
Tree, fence, sunshine. Miss. Save.
Hit. Hit again. And that noise.
I’d pick you up from the grass.
But there’s nowhere to take you…
I am one of them.
Sister of mine, don’t worry.
Hit, miss, save.
Skin, bruises, blood.
And I see your eyes too, Sister.
I say don’t worry, but what am I going to do?
I’d pick you up, but where would I take you?
I am one of them.


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