Movie Reviews

Film Review: “American Teen”

(Paramount Vantage. 1 hour, 35 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some strong language, sexual material, some drinking and brief smoking-all involving teens. Directed by Nanette Burstein.) Hannah Bailey, Colin Clemens, Megan Krizmanich, Mitch Reinholt, Jake Tusing.

American Teen, a new documentary by Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture, On the Ropes) follows four seniors as they navigate the trials and travails of their final year in an Indiana high school. The movie begins by introducing us to the stereotypes each teen represents: the jock (Colin), the prom queen (Megan), the artsy girl (Hannah) and the band nerd (Jake). However, as the film progresses and we learn more about each, the stereotypes are shed and we get closer to learning who they really are. I say “closer” because while some parts of the film feel suspiciously staged, you do see a few genuine glimpses of each person. It’s hard to watch this film and not think about your own high school experience, complete with the self-doubt, the worry about college and the confusion (or maybe that’s just me). Granted, I was never pressured into a basketball scholarship by my Elvis-impersonating father like Colin, but I digress. I have mixed feelings about the animated segments of the film, as some provide an interesting illustration to the proceedings, while others are fairly creepy (Jake’s Legend of Zelda-inspired reveries never sat right with me). Maybe not the perfect documentary, but an interesting look into the life of modern teenagers in a small town.

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Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies. After being hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, he proceeded to bounce between...

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