As The Camera Pans Over An Arizona Suburb At Night, We

1862 WordsMay 17, 20178 Pages
As the camera pans over an Arizona suburb at night, we hear a voice launching into a monologue by prompting "everything in America is f*cked up." Fading to red, we are presented with stark spray-painted lettering, demanding our attention. Even as buses roll into the lot, a member of high school royalty steps out of her car to the fawning of other students, and hordes of students make their way to class, we can already get the sense that we are in for a film that is very different from the usual high school teenpic. This is Pump Up the Volume. Taken at face value, the plot is absurd as they come: Mark Hunter, whose parents recently relocated from New York, leads a double life as the taciturn student that sheds his facade every night to…show more content…
In its attempt to recreate a authentic portrayal of youth culture, the film explores how it is crafted, both by contemporaries and by interpretation after the fact. The film itself is a continuation of a tradition that began in the 1950s with Rebel Without a Cause, which remains one of the most iconic depictions of angst and uncertainty put to screen, and Blackboard Jungle, which as stated by Perlstein and Faw, cemented the connection between rock and rebellion. More directly, it can be considered a darker take on the teen exploitation format as seen in films such as Over the Edge, Hughesian flicks like The Breakfast Club, both films he has stated he admires in a Globe and Mail article, as well as Footloose, all of which feature larger-than-life situations as a way to uncover universal aspirations and emotions. Existing at the bridge between the 80s and 90s, the film portrays a generational struggle between Gen X and Baby Boomers, anchoring the story at a specific place and time. Hard Harry laments that “all the great themes have been used up,” referring to the fact that the ways that the 60s counterculture differentiated itself had already been assimilated into the dominant culture, and for all their talk about “the system” and idealism about “the sixties,” he feels that his parents “sold out” and their generation’s efforts didn’t amount to much. The films specificity is aided by the contemporary soundtrack, which despite a few cues from composer Cliff

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