Time plays tricks on us. We look back at childhood, as adults, and think how easy it was. We remember high school and being a teenager and paint both, depending on how high school was for us. If you recall them as being halcyon days, you forget how scared you were all the time; trapped in an adult’s body with no life experience and the common sense of a pinto bean. If you hated high school, you forget how there were days when anything seemed possible, that there was (for the lucky) little baggage, little life weight, and you could just grab your friends and go anywhere just for the hell of it.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is perpetual mainstay on the American Library Association’s “Most Banned Books” because Stephen Chbosky’s masterpiece is unflinching. He remembers. The good. The bad. The awful. You’re in there somewhere. I was a wallflower, though I was fortunate enough to have friends who made me feel like I wasn’t, and we’d sometimes just….drive. And I remember those moments, the people in those cars, the music that played, and just like in this clip, I swear at that moment….we WERE infinite.
If you’re lucky, you get one great teacher; one teacher who steps into your life and makes a difference that lasts the rest of your days. In some cases, you may have to actively stalk that teacher to engage his burnt out, underpaid, overworked, teenager-warped soul….but that’s just what you gotta do then! The Edge of Seventeen was a hilarious, wonderfully acted film from 2016 that got absolutely no recognition, which is a shame, because Hailee Steinfeld was Oscar-worthy and Woody Harrelson got his best comedic role since Cheers.
Steinfeld’s dramatic, over-the-top Nadine is stymied when she runs into the jaded stonewall that is her history teacher, Mr. Bruner (Harrelson), constantly harrassing him for advice and counsel against his will, especially holding him hostage during his lunch break. The relationship that they build over the course of the film is touching and always darkly funny, never more so when Nadine’s hysterical threat to jump in front of the largest moving vehicle she can find is calmly met by a withering dueling suicidal rant from Bruner. Everyone in high school should be so lucky to have a Mr. Bruner.