Hollywood’s view of the Millennial Generation

Hollywood doesn’t think much of the Millennial Generation. Well, it’s not necessarily all of Hollywood, just some screenwriters who put words in the mouths of actors. Still, it’s got me thinking especially after seeing Transformers: Dark of the Moon during July 4 weekend. I headed out to the theater to watch robots demolish one another for two and a half hours and got caught up in a throw-away line by the main character’s parents. Sam Witwicky, the protagonist of all three Transformer movies, is struggling to find a job post-college. When his parents get wind of it, they’re mightily disappointed. Their son has saved the world twice and received a medal from the President of the United States, but he can’t land a job? “He is a Millennial,” Sam’s mother says to his father. “They are the lost generation.” No matter what Sam does, he still can’t impress his Baby Boomer parents. It’s an odd bit of social commentary by the writer and perhaps director Michael Bay, whose films normally have the depth of the neighborhood kiddie pool. Earlier in the spring, I caught the very R-rated Scream 4, a movie about a killer running loose in Woodsboro, the town ravaged by a killer 15 years prior. The previous generation and the current one collide. Without giving anything away, the movie just lets loose on the selfish, look-at-me stereotypes of Millennials. If there’s anything you take away from the movie, it’s that Millennials will do anything for attention and throw aside anyone in their way. Everything and everyone is disposable. Activist groups always complain about how a group is portrayed – be it race, religion or sex. No one’s going to stand up for Millennials because the target is going to get hit in some way. One of the problems I encountered writing my Millennial series for The Catholic Review was that I knew that no matter what numbers I threw out there from Pew Research polling, it was casting a really wide net. What works for some kids in the suburbs doesn’t necessarily apply to a kid living in urban America. There’s no way they all have the same outlook. Still, it’s amazing to me how casually such opinions of Millennials are thrown out there in big movies, especially because young people are the bread and butter audience of such movies like Transformers and Scream. It felt like it was biting the hand that feeds it.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.