Every now and then I like to revisit some cinematic bangers and by every now and then, I mean all the time because new movies are too much commitment and thanks to modern technology, I have the attention span of a dead goldfish.
While movies like American Pie and Grease undoubtedly remain classics, there’s no denying that certain scenes paint awful behaviour in an alarmingly positive light. Behaviour I once thought was ‘cute’ or ‘romantic’ now just comes across as totally unacceptable when you start to consider how this would translate in real life.
Again, before you start assuming I’m asking you to straight-up boycott the movies, I’m not. I’m all about these movies. The point remains though that depicting non-physical abuse of any sort as ‘positive’ to the point where we’re rooting for the person behaving that way, is not cool.
1. American Pie
American Pie taught horny teens everywhere that they could get their release from a warm, homemade dessert, but it also might’ve taught horny teens everywhere that filming someone without their knowledge was totally cool as long as you have mates to share that footage with.
For those three people who are yet to see the coming-of-age mainstay, Jim (Jason Biggs) invites his classmate Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) over to study, yet the room is being streamed live and Jim ends up going over to his mate’s house to watch Nadia strip in his room.
Using technology to spy on, stalk or embarrass someone is a serious abuse of their rights and wellbeing – and filming someone without their consent is wildly unacceptable.
2. Fifty Shades of Grey
While a lot of the questionable material in Fifty Shades of Grey is indeed consensual, don’t let that fool you into thinking Jamie Dornan‘s disturbed character Christian Grey is a misunderstood, stand-up dude.
Countless times, Grey steps way outside the boundaries of consent and uses technology to stalk Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and uses his money to coerce her into submission. That’s genuinely only the tip of the iceberg too. If you ever meet someone with the same tendencies as Grey, get outta there.
In my completely unbiased, Harry-Potter-loving opinion, Twilight was nothing short of garbage. It was an absolute Oscar-contender in comparison to Edward Cullen‘s (Robert Pattinson) behaviour, though.
Why was his behaviour garbage? Well, ol’ mate Eddie thought it was completely acceptable to stalk Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) for her own wellbeing. He’s also painted out like a top bloke for saving her from a precarious situation because of his stalking. No brownie points from us, Edward – you’re straight-up shite.
4. The Breakfast Club
Ahhh The Breakfast Club, the movie I knew from start to finish before I’d ever actually seen it because every TV show ever has referenced it to death.
Assuming everyone else knows the storyline (a bunch of conveniently unique students being naughty during detention), what really sets alarm bells off is when Judd Nelson‘s token bully/criminal/piece of shit character verbally abuses Molly Ringwald‘s character throughout the entire film – the reward being a pash at the end ‘coz he’s clearly such a top bloke…
Putting down someone else – in front of other people or otherwise – for your own fucked up gain is psychological abuse. End of.
Grease may have produced some absolute bangers and their moves are en pointe, but could Danny (John Travolta) and his crew be more unbearable if they tried?
Danny treats Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) like absolute shit from the moment they have their summer fling. He was all loved up when they were alone, but as soon as she tries to speak to him in front of his mate he gets all distant and coy to show off, subsequently making her feel like their whole summer together was a lie.
Yeah, Danny was a socially abusive dick on more than one occasion.
6. The Notebook
I will defend Ryan Gosling ’til the day I die (who has beef with Ryan Gosling though?) but I can’t defend his character’s stunt in the beginning of The Notebook.
Here’s a free tip for ya, if you want someone to go out with you, perhaps don’t threaten to throw yourself off a Ferris wheel. Emotional blackmailing anyone into complying with your wishes is beyond fucked up – even if it is a stunt.
Even though movies are purely designed for entertainment, often they depict non-physical abuse in a positive light. Non-physical abuse can be just as serious or harmful as physical or sexual abuse and we need to recognise when it’s happening – in film and in real life.
Head over to Our Watch‘s No Excuse For Abuse campaign, they give some primo examples of what can count as abuse along with some vids.
Have a squiz below:
If you or someone you know has experienced any kind of abuse, sexual assault, domestic or family violence please call 1800RESPECT or visit www.1800respect.org.au.
If you feel you are in any kind of danger please call 000.