To peak, or not to peak. What were your teenage years about?
The terrible teens is a gauntlet wherein you are unarmed, improbably informed, and expected to get through unscathed. It’s a miracle the human race has survived as long as it has. It also is one of the most exciting times in our lives, when our bodies are resilient, our minds fluid, and our emotions so raw that a light breeze can set them off. In case you hadn’t noticed yet, I possess a great deal of ambivalence for my teenage years in specific, and watching movies about these years makes me cringe in the general.
So what to make of It Follows? This simply-shot (lots of walking around the tripod for 360+ cinematography), well-acted chamber piece of horror is packed with teens; the parents don’t play a role. These kids hang out, have sex, and get followed by a STD-like sex demon that inevitably will kill them unless they pass the curse onto someone else. Through sex. I’ve tried to do the math on this demon, but it seems to me that it would run its course pretty quickly. Unless the world has a shortage of empathy. As in, the world is populated by sociopaths.
Our hero, Jay, is amoral. She intentionally kills four people. The fact that the ‘It’ might still be around at the end of this movie seems more of a comeuppance than a curse. I love a good villain, and I also just learned that I have no shits to give when it comes to a bad protagonist. This is a world of sociopaths, of barely formed psyches that can’t envision the world outside their concerns, in other words, it is the world of the teenager. And a terrifying world it is (and not only because it is filmed in Detroit. Man, that place is full of ghosts). It is a purgatory, a stepping stone to adulthood (whatever that means… the adults here have little agency, and even less interest in their children’s lives) where days pass in a morass of hanging out, drinking, and sex. These activities are performed with as much enthusiasm as filling out tax returns. These kids feel terror, and feel horny, but everything else in between seems to reach them only after a slow journey through their sluggish, hormone-drowned nervous systems. Ugh, after Jay had a hot foursome on a boat to buy her some time, I just couldn’t bring myself to care whether or not she survived. And then she passes It onto her puppy dog of a friend who, in turn, starts shopping for prostitutes to pass It onto, as a backup plan. What a bunch of assholes.
The bravest victim is the girl in the prelude. Not only does she dare to run in heels, but she also parks at a beach, at night, awash in her car’s headlights so she can face It. She dies, but she dies well.
So throw alcohol onto the bonfire that is adolescence. Throwing alcohol onto a fire seems to be a blunt, yet near perfect, metaphor. Ideally we approach the privilege of drink with a little gravitas…like driving, piercings, voting, taxes, elective surgery, tattoos, marriage, and other things society makes you wait for. I, myself, wasn’t an accomplished teenage drinker. Socially awkward, apathetic to the things that others valued so highly, I managed to make it a quarter of a century before I really drank wholeheartedly from the well of booze that was NYC for me in the ’90s. I experienced the vast majority of milestones from 10-20 years old stone-cold sober. I can easily recommend it, as it allowed all the good and the bad the most fertile soil in my memory to take root and grow. Now, drinking is a job, a passion, and a pastime all in one. But sometimes I want to imagine/remember what it was like when the idea of drinking vodka wasn’t a morally fraught decision, cream drinks were the best drinks, and Coke made everything better. And when I want that, I curl up with a Colorado Bulldog. Or, a White Russian with Coke. Delicious, potent, and silly, it drinks like a root beer float, but doesn’t lose the impact of the alcohol like so many silly drinks of our youths (and the ’90s) might.
I made it big, so even though it is delicious, one is enough.
- Pint glass
- 1 ½ oz vodka
- 1 ½ oz Kahlua
- 1 oz cream
- Coke to top
In pint glass combine vodka, Kahlua, cream, and ice. Shake & strain back into pint glass. Fill to half with Coke. Add fresh ice. It curdles, but it tastes good from stem to stern.
Do not use Diet Coke. And do not use anything less than cream. There is a special circle of hell for people who compromise flavor when they are drinking. Drinking is a big, bad, delicious vice. Calorie-counting has no place here.
Michael likes all things drink-related. Michael likes movies. And, in an odd twist of fate, Michael loves words about movies. These three facts combine to make a perfect storm of sensibility, ability, and inebriation needed to fulfill duties at EatDrinkFilms. When not rhapsodizing about film, Michael tends the bar at Two Sisters Bar & Books in San Francisco. He teaches mixology in San Francisco and New York. And lately, he’s been trying to capture the magic of what he does in a bottle so he can spread his tasty libations across the land. Please feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with all queries.