Beyond Clueless review

Charlie Lyne, director of his debut film  Beyond Clueless 

Charlie Lyne, director of his debut film Beyond Clueless 

As I wrote about my experience at the preview screening of Beyond Clueless and the Q&A with Charlie Lyne at The Cube, Bristol, I had a thought of writing about the film in detail in another post.

The Coven from  The Craft

The Coven from The Craft

The film's title made the audience expect the reference to one of the most iconic teen films, Clueless (1995) appear in the film and so it did. I think the reason of putting the word Beyond in the title was to make another expectation, from the audience, of the exploration of other teen films rather than just Clueless. The film made an interesting introduction with a montage of long shots of students, yellow school buses and high schools while Fairuza Balk narrates about them. Afterwards, she talked about The Craft (1996) she starred in, nearly twenty years ago, before the film actually begins.

The Plastics from  Mean Girls

The Plastics from Mean Girls

There were conventions of an essay film, a contemporary form of documentary genre, in Beyond Clueless, which were the 'existing footage', 'voiceover' and 'soundtrack', according to the Kickstarter video. It was very clever to use the narrative tropes in teen films as the narrative of this documentary. The tropes were the chapters of the film - Progolue, Fitting In, Acting Out, Toeing the Line, Losing Yourself and Moving On/Epilogue like Alice Vincent mentioned this in her review on Telegraph. This took the audience, the Millennial Generation I mentioned before, to the analytical journey of teen films.

In the analysis of teen films, it discussed about the fears of teen sexuality and homosexuality thorugh The Girl Next Door (2004), Idle Hands (1999) Jeepers Creepers (2001) and Lyne's personal best EuroTrip (2006). It also depicts teen social hierarchy in several films including Mean Girls (2004) and Lyne approached Josie and the Pussycats (2001) with a theory of consumerism. About the montages throughtout the film, Vincent wrote;

"[T]he montage scenes that intersperse each chapter sometimes show more than the hypnotic narration, by actress Fairuza Balk (The Craft), can tell."

Peter Parker from  Spider-man

Peter Parker from Spider-man

Vincent and I saw the symbolic representation in each montage for example; the pool scenes depict the sexual awakening and the funny montage of masturbation, at the near end, symbolises the sensation of adulthood. The use of Spider-man (2001) for the finale of the film, depicts Peter Parker's coming of age, from being a geeky outsider in high school to an adult hero. Mean Girls and EuroTrip gained the most laughs form the audienece because of the hilarious moments in Mean Girls and the parody of homosexuality in EuroTrip.

Summer Camp

Summer Camp

Lyne used the music composed by the indiepop married duo, Summer Camp and their musical style was influenced 'from [the] 60s girl group and 80s synthpop', and also 'acoustic folk' [from the NME review]. I think their musical influences were cultural part in every teenager's life from 1960s to today, and the music suited very well throughout the film especially 'Losing It' in the montage of sexual scenes.

I have noticed several of teen films, I have seen or known, including 10 Things I Hate about You (1999), American Pie (1999), 13 Going on 30 (2004) and Donnie Darko (1999). Gladly, Lyne didn't put Disney's High School Musical franchise in the fim because they are too light-hearted to be the teen films. I was surprised that Lyne added a sex scene from Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001), which may be a Mexican version of American Pie, in the sex montage, despite the majority of the teen films that featured in the film, were American. I saw DJ Qualls drunkenly dancing, from his debut film Road Trip (2000), in a house party montage. However, I was disappointed of not adding other teen films including Juno (2007), Superbad (2007), 21 Jump Street (2012) and She's the Man (2006). It was a shame to add It's a Boy Girl Thing (2006), one of Lyne's favourite films, which he discussed about this at the Q&A.

Overall, I would recommend you and everyone, who have seen teen films, to watch this clever, well-made film all about teen films with a plenty of theories that would blow your mind. I am glad this film is my recent inspiration on documentary filmmaking.