Looks like I won’t be seeing Detention any time soon
by Tom Ingram
The best way to (attempt to) describe Detention is that it’s The Breakfast Club gone meta; whereas that film featured a forced together group of teenage life archetypes, the characters in Detention are instantly recognizable as teenage movie archetypes. The main characters of the different “High School Movie” subgenres and not only the droll and depressed “Daria” figure, the American Pie-style sex farce guy and the awkward romantic comedy girl. There’s also a nerd who’s stumbled onto metaphysical sci fi weirdness straight out of Donnie Darko, a parent/child magical body switch figure reminiscent of Freaky Friday and even a tragic dude living a Cronenberg-inspired version of the mutation-as-metaphor for puberty motif from X-Men or Teen Wolf.
The key to discovering CinderHella’s identity, stopping his/her/its rampage and correcting whatever greater mysterious negative force is at work in Grizzly Lake High is rooted partially in some Back to The Future-style temporal shenanigans, but also in whether or not the teen heroes can get outside their own heads and work together – i.e., to stop seeing themselves as the stars of their own personal “teen movie” stories.
Another quote, from the filmmaker himself:
What this came from was Columbine. I know that’s a very strange thing. I’d read this book on Columbine, and the story we’d always heard was ‘these kids were bullied’ and that made them go out and kill everybody, but the reality is, if you read the backstory behind Columbine, those two boys had dates, they had families. It’s not like two serial killers hooked up. What happened was they felt so entitled to their own problems that they thought their problems were bigger than anyone else’s. There was this inability to see outside their own world.
Wow. It’s almost like this movie is pandering to my preoccupations. This is the sort of thing I’ve been more or less obsessed with for the last three years. Naturally, I cleared my schedule for Friday evening (which wasn’t very difficult) and prepared to watch the hell out of Detention.
Unfortunately, it’s not playing anywhere near Winnipeg. You know what is playing? The Three Stooges, American Reunion, and goddamn Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to a movie nobody liked. This is why we can’t have nice things.
I couldn’t find a clip of Dane Cook being hit with a shovel in Mr. Brooks, so instead here’s Benny Goodman and Bela Bartok.