According to the Pew Research Center, a millennial is a person between the ages 18-34. So, technically Nicki Minaj, and anyone in their early 30s, are millennials. But, these movies don’t reflect them, and their generation, as they’re old millennials, according to CNN. And, based on Minaj’s Instragram video uploads, she’s not here for the millennial culture compared to true, genuine millennials, the ones in their early 20s. This list is for them, so without further ado…
5. The Social Network
Don’t worry, we’re just getting warmed up, and Napoleon Dynamite deserves honorable mention, as it almost overtook The Social Network. Ultimately, us millennials, or the internet generation, can’t have a list of movies that defines us without the movie that is plotted around what essentially kick started our generation, Facebook. Yeah, some of us millennials were in on Myspace, but we collectively became a crowd culture, or a big target audience, on Facebook.
Centered around old millennial Mark Zuckerberg, a co founder of Facebook, the movie depicts his journey to launching the social media website. Zuckerberg, 33, incorporated all of the interests that people quietly wanted to know about someone into the website, making it appealing to millennials. Because, millennials want to know what school you go to, your location, other means of contact, and if you’re single. Essentially, millennials want to know if you’re down to have sex.
Because of Facebook, and The Social Network, we have that access. Eventually, the mobile app Tinder took the place of Facebook of where millennials went to have sex. Now millennials just swipe right, and if the other person swipes right back, they’ll be swapping paint sooner than later.
4) Palo Alto
Moving on, the next millennial movie you need to watch is Palo Alto. Based on James Franco’s short story collection of the same name, he alongside Emma Roberts star in the 2013 film. Shifting away from the social media that millennials love, the film has all of the millennial elements: stoner teenagers, underage drinking, sex, and rebellion against authority.
The film’s plot begins when best friends Teddy and Fred get into a car accident after driving home from a party drunk, leading to Teddy’s, the driver, arrest. Teddy’s sentenced to a year of probation, and community service. Fred spends the film involved with Emily, the girl that gets around. Paralleling this plot is Franco and Roberts’ characters, a soccer player and coach. April, Roberts, babysits Mr. B’s, Franco, son often. April has a crush on Mr. B, but he’s a teacher.
Interestingly enough, one night April strolls over to Mr. B’s house not to watch his son, but for help on her history paper. Plot twist, Franco kisses April, and confesses his love for her. Later on, April performs poorly in her soccer game, but Mr. B offers to “take her home”. In reality, they go back to his place where April loses her virginity. The two break things off the next day when Mr. B’s son informs April of the other babysitter.
Throughout the film, Teddy, Fred, Emily, and April see, and hangout, with each other at the weekend parties. To close out the film, Teddy admits to April he loves though they’ve had little interaction. Teddy and Fred leave to purchase marijuana, but the closing scene is April texting Teddy after he exits the car with Fred, whose driving down a one way, leading them both to smile.
3) Youth In Revolt
Honestly, these next three films are interchangeable, so Youth in Revolt is number three with number one potential. But, c’mon Michael Cera, 29, had to make this list somehow. The old millennial, by definition, that blends in with the true, genuine millennials based on facial development, or lack thereof.
Nick Twisp, a shy, loner teenager played by Cera, (Though I don’t think Cera had to act much for this role) is on the quest to lose his virginity. After meeting a girl on vacation, Nick turns into his alter ego François Dillinger, as he maneuvers his way to Sheeni Saunders’ house, and down her blouse. Like millennials standing up to authority, or Donald Trump, Nick goes thru great depths to have sex with Sheeni.
During the course of the movie, Nick purposely gets kicked out of his house; crashes a car into a restaurant, causing a fire; moves in with his dad, devising a plan with Sheeni to get Nick’s dad a job close to Sheeni’s; and borrows a friend’s car to drive up to Sheeni’s school after she’s shipped to boarding school for talking to the now rebellious Nick. Oh, by the way, Sheeni has a boyfriend.
Nick and Trent, Sheeni’s boyfriend, meet at Thanksgiving dinner where Sheeni’s older brother has his parents high off of mushrooms, allowing Nick to enter the house. But, Trent comes on the heels of Nick and Sheeni’s sexual encounter (At least Nick loses his virginity). However, when Trent enters the room he informs Nick the police are on their way for his aforementioned actions. (Nick’s mom’s police officer boyfriend covered for him until they broke up.)
After three months of juvenile detention, Nick and Sheeni continue their romance, a rare one that doesn’t involve meeting on the internet.
2) It’s Kind of A Funny Story
A tonal shift from the previous three films, It’s Kind of a Funny Story embodies the vulnerabilities, and the insecurities of millennials. After thoughts of suicide, 16-year-old Craig Gilner spends a week in a hospital psychiatric floor. Craig endures the typical teenage scrutiny: stressing over prestigious summer program applications, failures with girls, and a helicopter dad. Initially, Craig’s worried his friends might find out where he is, but eventually they find out, and come to visit him.
Craig befriends Bobby, an adult patient who’s in the ward “on vacation”. In addition, he befriends Noelle, played by Emma Roberts, a fellow teenager patient in the ward for self harm. Later on, Bobby admits he to Craig he’s in the ward for attempting suicide six teams, and that he has a daughter. And, he also helps Craig ask out Noelle. The couple spend most of the film together, helping each other cope with their issues.
After his departure from the ward, Craig and Noelle began dating, ending his past failures with girls, and becomes a painting artist. Also, he lets his dad know he isn’t worried about the application deadline to the prestigious summer program he was hounding him about, and his dad is shockingly accepting. While Craig’s stay at the ward didn’t cure him, it helped him cope, and understand the importance of a support system.
To round things out, the ending of the film, a voice over from Craig, ties together the connection of the vulnerabilities, and insecurities, of millennials with Craig’s personal experience.
“Bike, eat, talk, ride the subway, read, read maps, make maps, make art,” Craig said. “Finish the gates application, tell my dad not to stress about it. Hug my mom. Kiss my little sister. Kiss my dad. Make out with Noelle, make out with her more, see a movie with her. See a movie with Aaron. Heck, see a movie with Nia. Have a party. Tell people my story. Volunteer (at the ward). Help people like Bobby, like Muqtada, like me.”
1) The Art of Getting By
Another Emma Roberts film, The Art of Getting By revolves another loner teenager in the form of George, last name not given. Unlike millennials, and their record setting college debt, George perpetually skips his high school class, has a nihilistic view, and never does his homework. George meets Sally, played by Emma Roberts, on the school roof smoking where he covers for her by pulling out his own cigarette as a teacher approaches the two.
Ultimately, the pair become friends, Sally getting George more interested in his school work. Ironically, Sally comes on to George, asking if he’d ever have sex with her during a Valentine’s Day dinner. However, George ends all contact with Sally after that, causing him to become disinterested in his school work once again. George tries to rekindle his relationship with Sally by going to her place to kiss her, but discovers a new man inside.
After a ultimatum from his principal, George must make up every assignment he missed throughout the year before graduation in a few weeks, or he won’t graduate. Astonishingly, George completes every assignment (Remember, it’s a movie), and hears his name called at graduation. Now in the art classroom after graduation, George is looking at a portrait of Sally when she walks in to join him, leaving the new man by the waste side for George, as the film fades to black.
The connection between this film and millennials is simple, love. As one of the voices of the youth Skizzy Mars said, “love, sex, heartbreak, drugs, life, life in America these days.”
Millennial culture, let me know if I got it right!