Thursday, January 2, 2014

Kaboom (2010): The Flawed Uprising of the Millennials

Kaboom (2010)
dir: Gregg Araki

Did I say that Nowhere marked the end of the Teenage Apocalypse trilogy? AHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

For 13 years, Araki stayed away from portraying youth culture in his movies. Sure, Mysterious Skin was about young adults, but he wasn't a representation for the generation that was just now coming up. Then, in 2010, Araki releases Kaboom, a celebration of all things Millennial, and a guide to what is going on.

Kaboom is about a gay 18-year-old boy, Smith, about to turn 19 who is experiencing weird events in the days leading up to, and past, his 19th birthday. He has dreams about hallways, girls, and dumpsters behind doors. His lesbian friend starts dating a psychotic witch with psychic abilities. He starts dating a British girl, who uses him and other guys to have orgasms. One of his dream girls pukes on his shoes before being decapitated in front of him by three guys in masks. And, it's all because he's the Chosen One of a cult where his father is a very powerful leader. And, it all ends in the nuclear destruction of the world.

Kaboom feels like it picked up where Nowhere was leaving off. Look at the frame I used for the Nowhere clip. It's a dark soul being surrounded by happy go lucky colors. Kaboom is all about color. There is no oppressed dark brooding soul. Gays are merrily accepted by everybody. Smith's roommate, a dumb blond surfer, is comfortable trying to suck his own dick in front. Of course, the surfer is also working for the cult who eventually kidnaps Smith in order to bring him to his father, but that's revealed in the final act.

The Millennials are post-acceptance. This is the conundrum presented by G.B.F. What is the big deal about coming out when most kids accept you anyways? Araki handles it more skillfully, of course, as he is a far more observant eye and is skilled in cramming every fucking nook and cranny in his movies with something to talk about.

But, the Millennials in Kaboom are also acted on by their parental forces. The father in Kaboom looks old enough to be a Boomer. The RA (James Duval) who is the leader of the counter force, takes on the guise of a hippy. The Boomers have control over the lives of the Millennials, and it's almost as if Gen X doesn't exist, except in secret. Duval is not old enough to be a Boomer Hippy, and takes his disguise off by the end of the film in order to save Smith, but he has to make like he is one.

Araki is still saying that Boomers are out to destroy the world. As they once destroyed the Gen Xers by coopting them into their web of commercialism, so to will they co-opt the Millennials, or else they'll blow up the whole fucking planet. When the Millennials refuse to go to become like their father, Dad hits the big red button and destroys everything.

Which is very reminiscent of modern day politics. Especially in 2013, three years after, but the need to get out the youth has always been one of the goals of the politicians. In the Obama vs McCain grudge match of 2008, they were seriously trying to duke it out over the youth vote. The youth, more so than before, are voting against the established leaders, and starting to make changes in the world that they want to see. Here in Seattle, in 2013 we elected our first socialist city councilwoman, and in nearby Seatac, they voted in a $15/hr minimum wage.  All to the chagrin of the established, mostly Boomer-aged, politicians.

The cult also represents everything corporate. There is something worshiping about the cult of commercialism that isn't present anywhere else in the movie. They are busy kidnapping kids at young ages, and trying to brainwash them to be good little cult members, and the ones who don't function right are released upon the world, such as the psychotic lesbian witch girlfriend. There isn't a specific religious symbol invoked in the cult, but it feels very much like a corporate co-option of the New Age symbolism.

And, so, Araki's solution for the Millennials to succeed in killing themselves in order to save themselves. With Kaboom, he finally crafted a high-energy bullet train of sex, love, and meaning as a way to welcome in the next generation. It feels fresh, energetic, and joyous with all the energy that a new generation can give off. And, yet, it could be all too bleakly hilarious, if it weren't so fucking true.

No comments:

Post a Comment