The more things change the more things stay the same. We all feel in some capacity the truthfulness of this statement.
I’m horrified thinking the internet has anything in common with exaggerated high school films.
Hearing all about Spree as it makes its way on VOD, my rising use of Twitter, most recently viewing Jawbreaker, I’ve realized older movies echo current internet influencer culture.
Jawbreakers works as a parable for the dangers of popularity. Many beats resonate with internet culture as a whole.
A prank goes wrong. (Just pick a douche) After killing Chandler (wait, wrong movie), two things happen. The clique hides the crime and replace the reluctant Julie with a more willing witness. The 3:1 ratio keeps Julie quiet.
Fern or Vylette, the replacement girlfriend, quickly devours her new lifestyle. High school carries on as usual as the murder investigation unfolds. (We all know influencers do not cover up crimes, nor use fame as currency for covering up said crimes. Moving on.)
Influencers of Our Time
Fern exemplifies influencer culture as someone so wrapped up in fame that they act audaciously to keep it. Fern created a new persona to welcome popularity and eventually collapsed.
I’m nothing. Before all this I was something. I mean, it wasn’t much, but I was something.Fern – Jawbreaker 01:08:30
The strain Fern put on herself to live as Vylette may not have shown, but with how easily she fell, the cracks were there. Either way, she leaves Courtney’s influence. Now, all the plot has left is proving Courtney guilty.
The ending scene really struck me. After Liz’s death, after the frame job, the climax of the story doesn’t involve the police. Fern and Julie cancel Courtney. We end on a mob of high schoolers booing and tossing corsages at a murderess as she cries. Where did the detective go? Was Courtney arrested and convicted?
The movie concerns itself with giving an unlikeable person cosmetic comeuppance, not justice. In the end, isn’t mob mentality breaking down a person rather than informing or seeking justice a toxic part of cancel culture?
News may spread like wildfire, but we rarely hear about the after. Are they charged, convicted, exonerated? Do they settle out of court? You have to dig around for something more reliable than the random tweet. Which most don’t do. We’re satisfied with a day in the stockades, until the next batch of plastics need to be run over by a bus. Wait, wrong movie. . .
Jawbreaker doesn’t cover everything. Few movies factor in the neigh sayers, those who protect the accused despite evidence. The only show I ever saw tackle that angle was Girl From Nowhere.
For every Mean Girls and Heathers showcased in high school, influencers have made the stage global. That’s a terrifying thought.(4 / 5)