So I don’t watch movies often – I usually end up being dragged along by some extenuating circumstance. Today, I watched Rodrick Rules with my cousins who I babysit. I expected next to nothing – as popular as these books are, I’m not a big follower or reader of graphic novels, even when they include some form of a story.
I’ll spare you a summary of the movie and most of my thoughts on it, but a couple of things bothered me that I feel like writing about briefly.
1) In the initial skating scene, Greg mentions the “pecking order” of middle school. He does this because one of his peers, an Indian boy, tells him that a girl Greg likes is out of his league. The mention of the pecking order annoyed me. I mean, yes, I go to high school, and I’m aware that there is a “social ladder” – some choose to acknowledge it, I don’t. But the thing that bothers me about it is that the audience of this movie (generally preteens? I saw some younger kids too) is going to assume that middle school and high school is all about fitting in and assimilating to peer pressure, as opposed to their academics and extra-curricular activities, which actually plays an important part in their future. Ten years after high school, no one will care about what ruined your suit at prom or why you broke up with that hotshot quarterback.
2) The teasing. Oh, this irked me. Greg and the Indian boy I mentioned in the last paragraph are not portrayed the most popular bunch in their seventh grade class. Greg, in order to save himself from embarrassment, pretends as if the Indian boy ceases to exist, even when he’s in plain sight. Such a cruel joke – it really saddened me to see that. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had personal experiences with bullying or if it’s just the harshness of the action. What’s even worse is that instead of resolving the conflict, the Indian boy decides to prank Greg back, fueling the fire even more. By the end of the movie the character conflict between the two seems to disappear completely, but I feel as if kids and preteens who saw that might assume that bullying is okay, when it’s really not.
Sorry for the rant – it’s almost midnight, what do you expect? As a disclaimer, I would like to say that I’m sure there are worse movies out there and that it probably wasn’t the producer’s intention to perpetuate the middle school/high school stereotype. In fact, I liked Rodrick Rules – it was cute and humorous, and there were positive themes as well: the relationship between brothers, why you shouldn’t lie to your parents, and the importance of friendship.