Hot Docs 2014 Review: Beyond Clueless
It’s a cute and catchy idea, one that would easily attract unknowing, loyal fans, but Beyond Clueless isn’t really much of anything that those interested want it to be. A tenuously drafted pastiche of “high school films” is given a narration in an attempt to dissect and understand the nature of teenagers as reflected in movies.
Beyond Clueless is basically a 90-minute montage of mostly random films from the late 90s and early 2000s that sort of features teenagers in high school. With narration from Fairuza Balk of The Craft, the filmmakers select whatever flicks they want in order to fit into their generically pre-conceived and sometimes contradictory thesis. Well, I’m not sure there is a thesis.
The titular classic does not make the list, nor does anything from John Hughes, mind you. Roughly 200 films are shown, most of which are given one second viewings for montage purposes, and many of those don’t really fall into the realm (The Dreamers, really?). Instead, the arbitrary collection, which contains analyses of horror films Jeepers Creepers and The Faculty as well as the cult film Idle Hands and the pretty homophobic EuroTrip, is picked purely for entertainment purposes.
Indeed, there is no examination or investigation. There is music, the dulcet tones of Balk, some issues with editing and mixing, and lots of questionable selection. There is surely a film to be made about teen rom-com and high school coming-of-age stories, but this isn’t it.