only the young


This week sees the release of an extraordinary new teen movie, adapted from a book, involving social rebellion. I’m not talking about Divergent. And to be fair the film already opened last Friday but expands to Los Angeles this weekend followed by Austin, Atlanta, Boston and other major cities over the next two months. It’s titled Teenage, and it’s a documentary, and while it’s heavy on the archival footage, it’s very accessible, cleverly constructed and even quite entertaining. It’s produced by Jason Schwartzman, features character narration by Jena Malone and Ben Whishaw and features Alden Ehrenreich. And like any good teen movie should, it has a memorable soundtrack — albeit one totally in the form of an anachronistic electronic store by Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox. Although there were qualifiable entries here and there beforehand, the teen movie really was born in the 1950s, which is also around the time when we think of teen culture first beginning to emerge. The second part isn’t necessarily the case, though, even if it’s when the term “teenager” and the acknowledgement of adolescents’ pop culture finally caught on in the mainstream. Taking its basis from Jon Savage’s Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture 1875-1945, the documentary takes us back much further in time to the last quarter of the 19th century. Think of it as the prequel or back story to every teen movie of the last 60 years. Except maybe Swing Kids, which deals with a social group also included in Teenage. 


The Best Documentaries of 2012

2012’s best documentaries understand people. It’s as simple as that. They include beautiful character portraits, from group pictures like Indie Game: The Movie and El Gusto to individual pieces like Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Marley. Even the most issue-oriented films achieved their strength through keeping things personal, building powerful political and social arguments through the lives of their subjects. They chronicle the lives of victims who are also heroes, filmmakers who are also subjects, and unique characters who end up representing us all.


Don’t call it a skater film. And definitely don’t dismiss it for being a documentary. Only the Young is simply an extraordinary real-life teen movie, one I’ve previously compared favorably to the fiction works of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe. It’s like Pretty in Pink and Say Anything mashed together but true and even more honest and heartwarming and beautifully shot. The film follows best friends Garrison and Kevin, who are skateboarders and evangelical Christians and punk fans and, most importantly, just teenage boys. We also meet Skye, a girl who Garrison dates then breaks up but stays close friends with. She’s dealing with looming foreclosure on her home, while the guys explore abandoned houses and mini-golf courses, all of this making for a timely story of youth amidst the depressing economic landscape of America in recent years. But it’s also a timely story that anyone who is or once was a kid can genuinely relate to. Only the Young, which opens in New York City this Friday, is the debut feature of Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims, whose own proximity to their teenage years (they were in their early twenties while filming) benefited their film’s ability to capture such a candid, casual record of a trio at certain uncontrollable crossroads of life. It’s a sweet film, one I fell in love with and will name as one of the best of 2012, and not just for documentary. I chatted with the two directors earlier this week about the making […]



The exclusive clip above is from the new documentary, Only the Young, from directors Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet. The pair followed teenagers in a small Southern California town around and actually came away with a coming-of-age story hidden amongst the foreclosed homes. Without exaggeration, it looks like it was shot in a wasteland world where only teenagers exist. And we’re giving you a chance to see it for free this weekend at the IFC Center in beautiful New York City. What could be better than that? You get to choose when you want to see it. Here’s how to enter:


Fresh from its Audience Award win at AFI FEST yesterday, the amazing and beautiful nonfiction teen movie Only the Young has a brand new trailer, and we’re happy to unleash it out into the world. Directed by newcomers Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims, a duo who can’t seem to get away from being called the filmmakers of tomorrow, this candid look at a trio of evangelical skate punks in a Southern California desert town is one of the most honest movies I’ve seen in a long time. And it deserves to be seen no matter any of your prejudices against documentary (you’ll often forget it is one), religious youth (you’ll forget all about Jesus Camp) or the plethora of lookalike skater films (beyond its skin, there are no similarities between this and 2011’s Dragonslayer). Believe me that you’ll fall in love with this movie, as  I and so many festival audiences have already. Only the Young introduces us to best friends Garrison and Kevin, goofy teens just hanging out and growing up with little to do in a suburban community that’s clearly seen devastating effects of the economic crisis. Along comes Skye and a new kind of close relationship for Garrison, but more girl friend than girlfriend. In fact, Garrison eventually starts dating another girl at school. There’s jealousy, heartbreak, tears, but also a lot of warm, heartfelt talks and many laughs. It really is a lot like a real-life John Hughes movie, as is hinted at in a blurb […]


Last night, at a special event in conjunction with the AFI FEST, the nominees for the 2013 Cinema Eye Honors were announced. And once again, the titles contending for the ten feature categories, all of which focus solely on nonfiction films (to make up for the Oscars’ minimal recognition), represent the year’s best in documentaries. As someone who professionally concentrates on docs elsewhere, I tend to feel kinda useless or redundant when Cinema Eye names its nominees, because now when someone asks me what’s great this year I can just point to their list of 31 features. Of course, some of these films are only up for specific honors, like those for original music score and graphic design, and may not be quite as necessary as the six up for the top award or the 10 nominated for the Audience Choice Prize (which sadly, for publicity-sake, lacks a Justin Bieber movie like last year). Also, I could name a bunch of exceptional docs that haven’t been recognized, such as This is Not a Film, The House I Live In, Under African Skies, Beware of Mr. Baker, Last Call at the Oasis, The Queen of Versailles, Girl Model (though its directors are up for Downeast) and The Invisible War. Still, I’m very excited that one of my top three nonfiction films of the year, The Imposter, is one of the most-nominated titles, while I’m even more ecstatic that the CEH could bring more attention to brilliant, lesser-known works like Only the […]

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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