My new film BEYOND CLUELESS began life at a Picturehouse Cinema. In January 2012, shortly after the opening of the group’s Hackney offshoot, I was invited there to host Teenage Wasteland, an all-day showcase of teen movies selected by myself and special guests including columnist Grace Dent, author Joe Dunthorne and comedian Liam Williams.
In the lead up to the event – as well as having my attempts to locate a 35mm print of MALLRATS repeatedly thwarted – I revisited dozens of the teen movies I grew up on: everything from SHE’S ALL THAT to ELECTION and THE RAGE: CARRIE 2. I soon became obsessed, and before long this brief undertaking became a full-time occupation, as I pored over the countless teen movies that enthralled and perplexed me in equal measure as an adolescent.
Fast-forward three years and BEYOND CLUELESS is screening this coming Tuesday (27 January) at Picturehouse Cinemas across the country – Hackney included. The film is a journey through the strange and stimulating world of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of over 200 cult teen classics. Narrated by THE CRAFT’s Fairuza Balk and scored by Summer Camp, it’s my attempt to distil down the uniquely sensory thrills of a genre overloaded with tropes, trends and emotional outbursts.
Many of the films featured made for some of my most formative cinematic experiences – sneaking into a screening of AMERICAN PIE 2 just a little shy of the film’s 15 certificate; watching MEAN GIRLS on a pseudo-date up the road from school – so I’m delighted that the release of BEYOND CLUELESS is giving cinemas an opportunity to revive a few of them (just last weekend, Hackney Picturehouse brought THE CRAFT out of retirement).
Some of the other films included will probably resist resurrection a little while longer, (it’s hard to imagine audiences turning out in their droves for a late-night screening of CRUEL INTENTIONS 2) and so where those are concerned, you’ll have to make do with the fleeting glimpses available in BEYOND CLUELESS. Here’s a hint: CRUEL INTENTIONS 2 pops up just nine minutes and 21 seconds in.