TV Party Tonight! #125

TV Party Tonight! #125

Monday, 29 May 2023

Rebel Without A Cause
[4K/Blu-Ray Combo]

Wanna talk about the influence Rebel Without a Cause has had on pop culture? Phillip J Fry’s outfit in Futurama is a direct reference to James Dean in this movie. Tommy Wiseau’s “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” is fully copied from Dean’s delivery here, and much more. And, of course this movie is going to be in the spotlight after James Dean’s tragic death. This movie is in the American conscience and sometimes as a film fan you just gotta do the work and check it out. I say this, because Rebel Without a Cause is a real headscratcher for unspoiled modern eyes. Meaning, I don’t idolize James Dean and never found him that special. Also, I’m not impressed by phony teenage slang.

I think Rebel Without A Cause is one of those movies where the star just can’t help getting into trouble, and that makes it hard to root for them. He doesn’t have a cause, I get it, but Jim Stark is in a position to say “no” to all the games, threats, and dangerous situations he’s facing, but simply can’t help himself. He’s so aimless and bored with life and has such a chip on his shoulder with his family that doing stupid things is the only way he can feel alive. The dude’s a liability! He’s a white teen-man (20s playing a 16 year old), from a well-positioned family, and the world should be his oyster. He can do anything he wants and change things for the better if he wanted to. Instead, he hates his dad for being a little too supportive, not beating his mom, and wearing an apron. And he has terrible taste in women. Are Jim and Judy attracted to each other because they’re both broken people? One is a yo-yo who cant stay out of trouble and the other’s a sadistic poop-head who wans to fuck her own dad. Sure, there’s cool stuff happening all over this movie (car chases! knife fights! Shootouts!) but it’s unclear why they’re happening and what led to them.

Rebel Without a Cause takes place in one day, and when you get over all the odd “teenage” angst, terrible chemistry between Jim and Judy, ridiculous plot twists and unintentionally hilarious situations, that there’s an interesting action movie with a message underneath it all. Still, Rebel Without a Cause is just plain weird.

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