After Generation X came Generation Y; they are, in many ways antithesis of each other. While the label “Gen X” was seen as a derogatory title classifying a group of people who slacked off and did nothing with their lives, Gen Y was a refreshing hope for the future. They were a group of kids who had more morality, a greater work ethic, and more ambition. One Generation Y film is “Mean Creek.”
“Mean Creek” centers on a group of kids. Where as “X” movies focused on adults out of school and in their early 20’s “Y” films tend to focus on pre-teens and teenagers. The characters are also faced with a moral dilemma, unlike “X” films such as “Slacker” or “Clerks” where the characters are faced with…well…nothing. Or an “X” film like “Bully” where the characters don’t seem to have any morals or ethics. The kids of “Mean Creek” know what they did is wrong and feel genuinely bad.
In society today the window to be a teen is getting smaller and smaller. You go from childhood straight into adulthood without the middle step. It would make sense that the protagonists of youth films would get younger and younger. The ambition of today’s youth is a reaction to the apathy of the previous generation. With that drive however comes downsides.
In John Mabry’s article, “Generation X: Rebels without Applause,” he argues that it’s not that Generation X didn’t want to work, it is that they didn’t want to settle for any job available. They wanted to follow their passions and get a dream job. Sure, they were willing to take the minimum wage job to pay the bills but they weren’t going to spend their time caring about it when it is not what they wanted to do with their lives. If this is true than perhaps Gen Y will settle, they will be driven by the outward success of society rather than the inner drive to happiness.
This also leads Gen Y’ers to the quarter-life crisis rather than a mid-life one. They put themselves under so much pressure to figure out their life and where they’re going to be in 50 years that they break down right out of college and just want to shake up their lives. They’ve pre-planned everything and then they figure out who they truly are and realize that their plan is meaningless. Society is changing and films are adapting to that change.