Beyond Clueless

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Beyond Clueless Movie Poster Image
Teen-film-genre docu features sex, profanity, violence.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

High school teaches valuable lessons about fitting in, growing up, moving on.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Overview treats teenagers as complicated, sexual, emotional, and fiercely hierarchical beings who must often act against good sense as a natural, inevitable part of growing up.

Violence

Clips and montages from over 200 teen films include girl's hair falling out with a burned scalp; girl thrown against mirror that shatters; girl using witchcraft to strike lightning to tree branch that catches on fire, falls, almost hitting others; guys shoving guys into locker; guy punching another guy; guy shown covered in blood; girl slapping another girl; guy shown covered in blood, implied just having murdered someone; guy chopping off his own hand; girl choked by dismembered hand; guy's head smashed with blood on car window; girl vomiting blood; girl slamming her own head into a mirror, forehead dripping blood; creepy, predatory winged beast stalking teenagers; body shown with eyes gouged out; guy choked to death; montage of guns/shooting/blood/violence/explosions.

Sex

Clips and montages from over 200 teen films include full-frontal male nudity, female nudity, including breasts and rear ends; montage of sex scenes that include kissing, thrusting, caressing, implication of orgasm; a guy describing two girls as having a "decent rack" and "weird boobs"; topless girl covering up breasts with hands; girls dancing in their underwear; guy and girl kissing; multiple scenes of teenage boys ogling teenage girls; montage of scenes of teens swimming in underwear or kissing in pools; discussions of sex/hormones; image of half-naked woman in porno mag; girl caressing herself on bed; girl undressing in porn film, shown from behind; teenage boys kissing; naked breasts in a brothel scene; a guy chained up awaiting sex games.

Language

Several uses of "f--k" throughout; "scary bitch," "negroids," "s--t," "retarded," "bitch," "ass," "whore," "hell."

 

 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Multiple scenes of underage drinking at parties; couple scenes of casual smoking; girl snorts coke in school bathroom; guy does a shot; kids haul kegs to a party; montage of doing shots/pouring shots; guy smoking pot.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beyond Clueless is a documentary exploring the teen film genre that uses clips from 200 movies over a few decades. It features extensive montages and clips of sex, including full-frontal male nudity and female nudity; drug use, including teenage drinking, illegal drug use, and smoking; profanity, such as frequent use of "f--k"; and violence ranging from slapping and punching to murder and sexual abuse. It aims to shed light on the various recurring themes in the genre and the way they reinforce a cinematic ideal teen experience, so it contains very mature content. For older teens and adults only.

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What's the story?

Using clips and montages from over 200 teenage films, Beyond Clueless aims to dissect and categorize the cinematic teen experience in anthropological terms.

Is it any good?

BEYOND CLUELESS has an appealing idea: dissecting teen films as a genre to study the internal laws of teen life from the cinematic viewpoint. But with such a glut of clips and only a few to analyze -- not all of which are particular standouts in the genre -- the result feels like being inundated with scene after scene of the same thing: cliques, bullying, sexual awakenings, makeovers, mean girls, and the like. But perhaps that's the point. Though not exhaustive, the result ultimately leaves viewers feeling as if they've seen the same teenage movie again and again for better or for worse. The question is, why? 

That's not really answered, and to form your own idea, you'll have to sit through montage after montage of highly mature content from teenage films, including sex, drugs, profanity, alienation, and violence. The real question is whether it's effective in probing the bigger message about what the genre does or doesn't offer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how teen movies have changed over the years. Which are you favorite teens movies, and why?

  • How well do the films represented here reflect real teenage life, desires, or concerns?

  • Does Beyond Clueless succeed as an academic exploration of teen films? Why, or why not? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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