From Anime to Zoolander: Taking Teens and Teen Films Seriously
March 23, 2006

Jane Halsall Reviewer for Video Librarian

Bill Edminster
(check out handouts for email addresses)
Rotten Tomatoes
Rogert Ebert
Anime on DVD

ADV Advocates
Video Librarian Magazine

When we walk in the last ten minutes of “Mean Girls” is playing. A very funny satire on the issue of girls. Tina Fey from SNL wrote the screenplay after reading Queen Bees and Wanna Bees. It stars SNL actors, and young stars.

I am having conversations about the generation gap. My in laws once bought Grave of the Fireflies for my sister in law because she loved Princess Mononoko. On the back it said it was a spiriting uplifting film. …. This is the kind of parents I assume we deal with.

We also discussed the anticipation of EarthSea.

We begin….
When librarians started collecting they tagged it Young Adults.
VOYA interviewed teens on what they should be called, and they said Teens

In addition to teens 20 something (ME!) use these materials.

Now we should call them Young Adults, because that incorporates the twenty somethings

A large part of being a teen is learning what others know and didn’t know they know

Teens talk to their friends about music, movies, games, and everything, and they are more willing to take friends suggestions

Teens social networks let them spread information quickly and broadly.

Teen interest is broad in both time periods, and cultural.

Everything is new to them so Frank Lang’s Metropolis, Casablanca, and Princess Mononoko are all equal to them.

teens can access practically infinite topics instantly.

Teens were incorporated in selections. Old TV Shows, Anime, Martial Arts Films, Japanese films.

They had to find sources and reviews that were off the grid.

Cataloging was another problem. Turns the catalogers in to fans so its alright now

(Wow this sounds like video games)

Teen films are not a genre. Any movie aimed at teens was a right of passage.

I love the handout-it does not include everything but it has Classic Cult and Watershed movies, with newer movies are listed on a variety of teen issues, cultures and eras.


We found Anime extremely popular, sometimes dressed as characters
Teens to day are much more open to the world

Tell wonderful stories with dialogue and beautiful artwork

Don’t care where or when film was made as long as its good

(for me Anime is weird because the culture/storytelling is so different, but my sister in law loves it as does so many teens and twenty somethings. The more I watch and read about Japanese culture the more I understand the Anime and can enjoy it)

Clip from Princess Mononoko

Not like a traditional Disney movie would be

Villians not clearly defined.

Woman in role of Man

Graphic Storytelling

How art and dialogue convey a compelling story

Have natural audience.

From Comic books and graphic novels that really are just much longer than comic books.

Comics are as culturally significant as Video games, for a different generation.

People who see these movies know the basic stories even if they have never read the comic books.

Clip from Super Man 2 By the burning building

Implies Hero instinct in all of us. (Video game…)

Comic books make a good implementation into movies because you don’t have to visualize all of the movie sciences


Teens are staring or audience

Japanese popular culture coming through. J-horror is Japanese. K-horror is Korean.

First experience was the Ring. In Japan it was Ringu

Clip from the Ring When the girl gets the guy near the end (you know what I’m talking about)

Wikipedia defines J-horror

Alfred Hitchcock type.

Psychological thriller

Growing rise of dark in teen media (eternal Darkness, Resident evil, Buffy the Vampire Slayer…)


outside of school, many teens spend a large portion of time playing sports.

Many sports films are based on real events.

Contemporary films last as period pieces.

They revolve around real lives, sometimes the idea that Sports are life.

Most don’t focus on films, but Bend it Like Becham is a wonderful girl soccer movie

Television and Teens
Video and DVD lets you schedule your time.

TiVo lets you schedule even more

Downloading is close to be in libraries

Vidcasting is just around the corner (I think its here with Red vs Blue, Machinama, and others)

Exposure to Satire helps to teach teens to question the world around them
You have to understand what going on and separate it from the context
Hero in these movies is the anti-hero
earthy humor is a great way to communicate with teens

Clip from Waynes World where they are talking on the car

Do it yourself coming of age
A movie with teens as main characters are just going to be coming of age films.

It will be on the PLA website

8 mile
Butterfly Effect
Dead Poets Society
Donnie Darko
Girl interrupted
The Hole

Homeroom Manic
A Separate Piece

Brother from another planet
Edward Scissorhands
run Lola run

Teen years are a time for deep philosophical questions.
Every activity is more intense because it’s the first time.

Clip from Donnie Darkco

Other Cultures other times

Teens have traveled more

More comfortable going places learning things no matter one

The internet does not discriminate. Get taken seriously

Part of cultural literacy

Talk across the world, and don’t hesitate this.

Few Hollywood movies, and many independents are making movies with more cultural background

The characters reflect lives

The Hollywood ending fits the characters.

Clip from My Life

(I discovered Foreign films in college and watched many Spanish for my class. I loved it. Like water for chocolate is my favorite)

Who are you, discovering who they are in

Clip from The Breakfast Club. The creator only made five films

Addressed teens as individuals.

Napoleon dynamite is spectacularly out of the ordinary, but that is ok.

Power of Music

Shorthand for who you are.


Cable and Satelite TV, The abilitiy to download, and the internet has made the pool of movies huge

Teens are the best people to ask about movies.

DON”T ask what teen movie you like

ASK what is your favorite movie

Treat them equal
Take them seriously
Give them respect

Clip from 10 things I hate about you (I love this movie soooooooo much)

(comments via Jami Schwarzwalder)

About Jami Schwarzwalder

Currently a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA.She is passionate about technology, making, and learning. See what I'm up to at

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