Teen Fangst

With the Academy Awards coming up, I thought it would be fun to re-post this blog from 2011 (about a decidedly non-Oscar-worthy movie).

Addressing, for a moment, my male readers only, I want you guys to know that I am on your side-- the side that would not, if romantically unattached, volunteer to support the filmmaking phenomenon that is the Twilight series, on the grounds that it is, by almost all critical appraisals, cinematic torture unless you are a teenage girl. So while we men, if being selfish, would rather stand naked at the North Pole and shave our chests with cheese graters than attend these movies, we recognize that the teenage girl that is alive and well inside our adult wife or girlfriend must be appeased from time to time or else she will not return the favor and go with us to see Robot Apes vs. Scantily-Clad Vixen Commando Babes, or some other such Oscar contender we hope will someday get made.

And so it was that last Saturday I further deepened my wife’s love and admiration for me with the mere purchase of a couple of matinee tickets to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 and a $79 bag of medium-size popcorn. She was so happy that she didn’t even mind I kept calling the movie Breaking Wind. “Look,” she admitted, “These films are terrible, but there’s something about Robert Pattinson. He’s so sexy.” For those of you living lives of significance and who are therefore unaware of this heartthrob, Robert Pattinson is the romantic lead, a young actor with the emotive skills of an ironing board.

“I don’t get it,” I said. “He’s pale, thin, and bland. You must also find Communion wafers sexy.”

“Shush.”

Going into it, I didn’t know much about the Twilight series except that it’s about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire. This vampire hangs around with a small group of other vampires who are nothing like the old Hollywood monsters. These ones are all ridiculously good-looking, shop at Banana Republic, and are vegetarian. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing scary about watching a vampire sink its fangs into the neck of a butternut squash.

So it seems the girl is safe with this bunch, but then she marries Communion Wafer and gets pregnant on the honeymoon. There’s some mumbo-jumbo about how the baby, which is supernaturally growing in her womb at exponential speed, will be born a demon and must be destroyed. In the meantime, the baby’s sucking the life out of the young mom, which I thought was a brilliant metaphor for what watching the movie does to the viewer.

There’s also a subplot involving werewolves who don’t get along with the vampires. The two factions seem to fight in the woods a lot, leading me to pose the question: “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there worth caring about, why can’t it crush them all and end this film before I poke out my eyes with my car key?”

Anyway, if there’s a redeeming subtext underlying the whole series, it might be that deep down every girl wants a guy who will be passionate about her forever, who will be faithful and trustworthy and self-sacrificing, and ultimately there’s only one man who can perfectly do that. Jesus’ love is forever. It’s complete and it’s life-giving, on through eternity. Maybe some Twi-hards, as they’re called, will find themselves searching for their place in that more profound and true story of love and blood and mystery.

Breaking Dawn may be two hours of my life that I’ll never get back… but, thank God and his Son, I’ve got forever to look forward to, so I can’t really complain.

Not when I can gripe about the price of movie theatre popcorn. Talk about bloodsuckers.

Cuyler Black