High School Life in Cinema: How It Depicts in Movies

In David Denby's Notes on Teen Movies, it is clear that he believes high school is being portrayed through the movies as a cliché. David Denby begins by stereotyping the majority of modern teen movies, where the popular, blonde at high school is never liked, and that there are basic standards that most teen movies go by. Denby then asks the overlying question of teen movies: Do these stereotypes truly reflect actual high school life? This si High School life essay where this question will be answered. 

The purpose of Denby's writing was to convince readers that all high school movies consist of the same plot line, over dramatic and a fantasy. As each of Denby's paragraphs progress through his writing, they all purpose the same idea. All of his examples go to show that not only are these high school movies not what they seem but in fact they are the director's perspective of high school. Denby is trying to convince the readers that the reality of these movies is exaggerated.

Denby writing reflects a casual and I think an almost sarcastic tone to entice teens and those who had similar experiences in high school. The reason David Denby starts off with the stereotypes of teen movies is to grab the audience’s attention, and to make them continue reading to find all their answers. Denby uses a determined tone as well He begins to really show what an average movie usually looks like. He explains how they all have a similar plot line, with minor tweaks. He uses a repetition of the same idea throughout his writing, using his knowledge of famous movies to show this. For example, almost all of the movies he mentions includes the same high school 'close knit' groups. Meaning that featured in these movies are groups of people considered popular, jocks, and/or geeks.

Denby's writing has plenty of pathos and we can see this through his tone of writing for one and the way he goes about convincing us of his beliefs and findings. Denby wants his readers to feel betrayed and annoyed with the fact that these continuous high school plot line movies are being produced. He tries to stir up the readers' emotions by making us feel a type of way towards these movies throughout his writing. When it comes to logos, Denby does include a thorough number of examples to back up his claim but they all come from the specific movie. For example Denby talks about the movie Carrie which he described to be a master piece by Brian de Palms in 1976. This is a good example of Logos because He used the main character , Carrie, to relate back to his point that teen movies always have this type of character, except he makes the point that everything happens opposite to the typical movie like The Heathers. What Denby means by this is that instead of the main characters “satanic outsiders turns out to be a true devil” it was a sweet, innocent girl turns out to be a true devil. He talks mainly about the high school character stereotype and doesn't talk much about anything else.

Lastly, his ethos. In Denby’s response on the teenage obsession over High School based movies, the only example of clear ethos in his review would be the fact that Denby is a well-known writer and movie critique in New York. This is one of the only examples that I could find that somewhat related to ethos. I feel that Denby is trustworthy when it comes to this aspect of his writing. This being said, Denby has a good amount of credibility. Denby has received a 'national magazine award' and he was 'the former film critic for New York.' With his readers knowing this establishes Denby as a reliable source. However, Just because you are a known writer and movie critique, does not automatically give you the credibility to state opinions on why people think a certain way when viewing these movies. Denby tends to shift his commentary about this topic in the direction that what he is saying is solely fact based, yet he has no statistics to back it up. Therefore I found the ethos in this response written by Denby to be just a bit weak.

Overall, Denby's article does a good job at convincing his readers. His voice is very strong and gives the impression he knows what he's talking about however, It is all too easy for people to stereotype teen movies, just like he did, and say they are all the same. Even though many of them are very similar, some stand out from those stereotypes. There are movie directors today that are using very clever and creative ways to come up with exciting plot lines that draw in new teen viewers. Although Denby is correct in that many movie plot lines are simply duplicated, that is not the case for every single teen movie that has ever existed.               

10 October 2022
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