Monday, May 24, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)

Directed by Thor Freudenthal. I guess the true test of whether a movie like this is any good is whether it's target audience loves it and my kid does. He's read all of the books in this series at least a few times, counted down the days to when this movie was released, and saw it in the theater twice. He also told me the song played during the end credits was his favorite song ever, which suggests to me that he left the theater with the same pit in his stomach that I left the theater feeling when I was 9 years old.

As the parent of a nine year-old, I've recently noticed that when you ask kids about that age what the message is behind just about any story they will always tell you that it's that you should never give up. No matter what the fuck the story was about. It occurs to me that the reason for this is two-fold: first, it's all we ever tell them, and second, it's what most of their dumb-ass stories happen to be about. So they've learned that if they default to that, most of the time they'll be right.

This film has two nice qualities. The first is that it's message is not that you should never give up. The second is that I'm pretty sure most kids will pick up on that. It's not as if it's message is much more sophisticated than that. It's message is to be yourself, which obviously ranks second on the most defaulted to list of messages we expose on our kids.

And I doubt it does much good. There are two kinds of kids. The first is happy to be themselves. It doesn't really occur to them to be otherwise. Naturally, they come in all kinds of sub-categories that range from delightful to I-would-love-to-kick-you-in-the-head. The second kind is uncomfortable in their own skin and can not be themselves because they have no idea who that person is, and is doomed to spend many years figuring it out. Yes, they come in all kinds of sub-categories as well. These range from the kind that only think they've learned how to socialize to the absolute best people you could ever want to spend time with.

But about this movie. The bullies. What the fuck? When junior high school kids are targeted for cruel and relentless harassment by their peers, those peers are called bullies. When junior high school kids are targeted for cruel and relentless harassment by fully-matured high schoolers in a suped-up pick-up truck, those men are called pedophiles. This is still another example of Hollywood portraying sociopathic behavior as conventional.


  1. I never heard of this movie or the book series, but then again, I don't have a nine-year-old.

    The funny thing is that I feel I need the message "that you should never give up" even more now that I'm an adult. Sheesh!

  2. And by the way....I love to hear about how enthusiastic and happy this movie made your son. Very sweet!