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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thoughts on Only the Young

I went to the Moving Image museum last Sunday to see a 2012 documentary called Only the Young, directed by Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tibbet, about skater teen kids coming of age in a rural California town. It was just 70 minutes long, but felt fuller, about kids who are dealing with on and off romantic feelings, struggling with their family's financial situations, figuring out what to do after high school, and hanging out in abandoned areas around town and skating and playing around.

It was a lovely little movie about endearing and slightly immature kids, and what was interesting to me was that the kids were all devout Christians, despite appearing as punk rock skater kids. They never cursed, smoked, or drank (granted, they just might be smart enough not to do it on camera), and were straight-edge punk skaters while talking about loving Jesus Christ and putting The Lord first. They weren't evangelical or preachy about it, they just were connected to their religious faith while doing skateboarding tricks and wearing Minor Threat and Black Flag t-shirts. It was an unusual but interesting complexity in the kids.

I was also struck by the teen girl Skye, who had a tomboyish charm to her, and was struggling between having romantic feelings for her friend/ex-boyfriend Garrison, having a dad in prison, being raised by her ailing grandparents, and learning the truth about her thought-dead mother. She was a girl who showed an incredible amount of strength and maturity in facing tough issues in life at 17, and I hoped that she would go far in her life.

Also, this documentary was produced by Oscilloscope Laboratories, which Adam Yauch co-founded, and this came out the year he died, so he likely optioned this in part of being supportive of seeing young creative punk kids like he once was.

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