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Film / Big Time Adolescence

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"When you get older, that's kinda all life is: just a bunch of scribbles and dicks and violence all in a void."

Big Time Adolescence is a 2019 coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Jason Orleynote  in his directorial debut. It stars Griffin Gluck and Pete Davidson, with Machine Gun Kelly, Jon Cryer, and Sydney Sweeney among the supporting roles.

Mo (Gluck) is your typical 16-year-old high school kid, except instead of hanging out with kids his own age, he kicks it with his sister's ex-boyfriend Zeke (Davidson) and his group of twenty-something friends. Under Zeke's influence, Mo makes moves to win the approval of his crush and the seniors at school through dropping his chivalrous attitude and selling drugs every weekend at parties, much to the chagrin of his well-meaning family. Things begin to escalate from there.

The film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on January 28 of that year. It later received a limited theatrical release from Neon on March 13, 2020 before being added to streaming on Hulu a week later.

This film contains examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Despite everything that happens and having people explain it to him directly, Zeke never learns that he needs to grow up and become more responsible.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Even after Kate dumps him, Zeke still hangs out with Mo and treats him as a mixture of a best friend/younger brother. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean he looks out for his best interests.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mo is arrested for drug dealing, gets expelled from school, does not end up with Sophie, and is sentenced to community service. However, thanks to all of this he finally realizes how toxic his friendship with Zeke is and decides to move on from him and better himself.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Despite trying to make amends, Mo doesn't win Sophie back. The last we see her is at school, sadly looking at Mo as he reports to the principal's office.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Deconstructed. Zeke is in his mid-20's and does things people his age do such as drinking and drugs without concern about the fact Mo is only 16.
  • Nice Guy: Mo is a very mild-mannered young man, and wins over Sophie pretty easily once he works up the courage to try. Even Holly is impressed by his sweet demeanor. Unfortunately for him, he loses favor with Sophie once takes Zeke's advice and ghosts her. Holly, however, sees through his bad boy act and sleeps with him after she breaks up with Zeke.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Stacey rats Mo out to the cops after they discover marijuana in his abandoned car.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Unlike most works of fiction where teenagers who manage to run away from the cops are home free, here the cops simply show up at their school the next day and wait for them in the principal's office.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Zeke's life advice only causes Mo to start going down the same path as him. Thankfully, Mo wises up before his life is completely destroyed.