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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Francesca

Big Time Adolescence: More Than A Film

Opening Statement: I hope to enlighten my readers on a short journey into my views! I plan to post every other Sunday for the most part, excluding any spur of the moment ideas I may have or a busy schedule which may restrict me from posting that week. Thank you and enjoy!

Tonight I watched a movie. But more than that, I learned about an important person who I knew very little about. This person is Pete Davidson. The only things I knew about him until watching Big Time Adolescence, was that he came from where I was born (Staten Island NY) and that my father, who is also comedian, had hired him for some comedy gigs when he was first starting out. Tonight I watched Big Time Adolescence, which I absolutely loved and will get to, but first, after watching the movie I felt really compelled to know more about Pete Davidson. So tonight I also watched "Live Your Truth: An Honest Conversation with Charlamagne Tha God and Pete Davidson." I had reservations posting this blog post after hearing Pete speak about all the work he is doing for himself mentally, and the way Lenard Larry McKelvey (Charlamagne Tha God) closed the interview, mentioning that he hopes Davidson continues to put himself first and enjoy the art that he is creating. As a person who suffers from a mental struggle herself (OCD) and anxiety, as well as someone who is aspiring to go into the entertainment field, I couldn't help but feel for Pete. My reservations came about from this image that popped into my head of Pete Davidson at home, trying to balance self-care and his work life, and then having to possibly read something else about himself and said work. I don't know, it's just from the interview, I felt that if I were him, I would just want less attention and adoration so that there could be room in my life to focus on me. That is a concern I have going forward in the entertainment field, I fear losing myself not to my craft, but rather to the number of people who view my craft and their multitude of varying opinions. I can see it feeling so overwhelming and I commemorate Pete Davidson for taking time for himself amongst all the fame. I am completely making assumptions based on my own perception, and this may in no way be as Davidson feels or would feel, but the interview really resonated with me, and this is what I took away from his words. I am writing this movie review with Pete's personal thoughts and emotions in mind, in hopes to shine light on what I feel was a successful, entertaining, and moving piece of art, and to be as honest as possible in my pursuits.

Half way through the movie I knew I wanted to review it because I felt it was written and portrayed really well. With all that was said previously, I want to look at this film for all of its artistic qualities, and express how the story related to situations I've witnessed in my own life. The story felt realistic, from both the dialogue that was written and the performances that relayed it. I thought Griffin Gluck (who played Mo) brought a complex young character to life, who was part nervous and hesitant, but also cool and brave somehow. The juxtaposition of the two sides worked really well in terms of realism. Often in films, the quieter less popular kid only consists of qualities that make him that way, forgetting that people are complex dynamic creatures, with many personality traits. What gives our character Mo such an edge, is his older buddy Zeke, played by Pete Davidson.

The two are best buds, and have been ever since Zeke and Mo's older sister Kate (Emily Arlook) broke up years ago. Throughout the film, we quickly see that Mo clearly looks up to Zeke, but often for some of the wrong reasons, leading him ultimately into trouble.

Growing up and going to public school, allowed me to witness many kids my age, who looked up to guys a few years ahead of them, who often got in trouble because they were simply influenced by the "wrong crowd." In my experience, I've seen a lot of those kids actually grow up to become "Zekes" of their own, and what I liked about Big Time Adolescence is that you're left feeling like that won't happen for Mo. I love the closing shot with Mo driving off and Zeke far off in the rear view mirror. It was poetic really, symbolic of course. Once in junior year of high school, I was told that symbolism exists, even if there was no intention for it to, and that comment stuck with me. I think the main reason why I was moved to look more into Pete Davidson tonight, was because in all honesty I was curious to see if the character Zeke was similar to Davidson in real life. Personally, I don't know Pete Davidson and cannot make any real assumptions. I do know he has said he does smoke pot, so there is some similarity there, but from his words in the "Live Your Truth" interview, I think Pete is more than Zeke in many ways, like Big Time Adolescence is more than a film. I think Pete understands the character of Zeke, which is why he was able to play him so well, but I don't think the two have more similarities than some pot and an understanding.

Furthermore, I enjoyed the choice to have Mo not end on good terms with his crush Sophie (played by Oona Laurence). Mo messed up, and Sophie is a strong young lady who knew that and knew what she wanted and more importantly what she didn't. I respected the choice to not give the two a positive ending. I also valued the choice to not show any sex scenes in this film. I think intimate scenes have a place in some stories, and not in others, and I found it interesting that a film rated R and consisted of much cursing and mature themes wouldn't have one in it. Because of this, I liked the choice to not include one. The story didn't call for it, and moved well enough with simply the subtle hint that a sex scene had either begun or ended. In terms of storytelling choices, I felt the last encounter between Mo's dad Reuben (Jon Cryer) and Zeke was really interesting. I wanted Reuben to come in there and beat Zeke up for getting his son into trouble, but instead he was more at a loss for words, and only hit him once. It seemed as if he came in there knowing exactly what he wanted to say, but when he saw Zeke, he just couldn't say it because in some way it's not entirely Zeke's fault. It's also Mo's for agreeing to drug deal, and also Zeke's parents for not... well, for just not. On a deep beyond the plot level, for not being there or guiding him, or showing him support and love. Cryer sums it up in one line when he says "I don't blame you, I can't."

Cinematically I thought the film was visually interesting and well put together. I noticed a pattern where every scene either had some sort of golden hue to it, or a more grey hue, which added to the varying emotions of the story. What is great about keeping an aesthetic pattern as such, is that it helps viewers have a clearer and more distinct memory of the film as time goes on. It stays with them, rather than only lasting for the short run-time of the film. It makes it memorable. It was a dark comedy to some degree, with a nice balance of drama, laughs, and depth, which paired well with the lighting from scene to scene. The baseball scene was a nice touch as we watched Mo get on base because he was walked, bringing home a great metaphor for Zeke's way of life.

Overall I thought Big Time Adolescence drove home a valuable message about the influences we face growing up and in high school primarily, and how that can impact our choices. The story is bittersweet, because you can tell Zeke really cares for Mo and vice versa, but Zeke just isn't "good" for Mo, and I found it somewhat heart-breaking even. I didn't feel like "yeah go Mo, get away from that guy!" It was more like, I wish Zeke was able to let his own guard down and look inside himself and see what he hasn't allowed himself to see for a long time, and then ultimately make some changes. For that to happen, would make this a totally different movie, neither necessarily better or worse, just different. And for that, I say I'm glad it ended the way it did, because it made the film even more impactful for me, and in the end led me to learning more about Pete Davidson, which impacted me as well, and I am thankful for this film and all that I learned tonight!

~Francesca Reviews


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Disclaimer: All of my posts are based off of my own knowledge, opinion, and beliefs and this blog is only meant to be a platform to share those things with the world. I am always open to hear what you all have to say about the topics I write about, listening to many perspectives can only enhance my knowledge! Therefore, feel free to start a friendly conversation sharing your opinions! Thank you!


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