They say your twenties are supposed to be some of the best years of your life. You’re young, healthy, you have your whole life ahead of you, and in theory you can accomplish anything. In theory. The truth is that this all would be a lot easier if we knew what it was that we wanted in the first place and where we’d like to be a month from now (let alone a year). For all brooding twenty-somethings- and for the twenty-somethings at heart- here are a few films that may soothe and help cure the syndromes that plague us during this baffling decade. If all else fails, just make paper airplanes out of your resumes and switch on that television.
“Blow” (Ted Demme, 2001)
At one time or another in your twenties your job prospects may feel so dire that you may actually begin to think about the incredible profits involved in the drug trade. Instead of telling you that ‘drugs are bad, m’kay’, let me point you to this classic rise-and-fall story based on the real life of George Jung, the essential founder of the American cocaine market in the 1970s. Here you can sit back and watch one man build an empire only to see it crumble in the space of two hours. This is a film that will simultaneously make you feel inadequate and proud of your lazy twenty-something self; even though you don’t have half the networking skills or connections this man had, you also haven’t broken the law (this severely, anyway) or had the ill-sense to go so far in over your head. Hell, invite your parents over for the screening and let them also revel in the brilliant, well-behaved offspring they raised.
“(500) Days of Summer” (Marc Webb, 2009)
If you haven’t already, this is the decade where you can expect to experience your first gut-wrenching, my-life-is-over, anxiety-inducing heart break. Though many films treat this issue in their own way, few have done it with the charm, humor, and sensitivity of “(500) Days of Summer,” which tells us in its first scene: ‘this is a story of boy meets girl. But it is not a love story’. This is a film that doesn’t aim to sugarcoat the pain love causes, whilst still celebrating its inherent possibilities. Wallow in the emotional roller-coaster while you seriously consider applying for a job as a greeting card writer. I mean, if they can do it…
“Garden State” (Zach Braff, 2004)
For anyone experiencing a quarter-life crisis (and, let’s face it, every other day in your twenties can begin to feel this way once in a while…), Zach Braff’s infamous indie adventure is like Chicken Soup for the Twenty-Something Lost and Confused Soul. Every character is quirky and odd in a reassuring way, making your bizarre friends seem positively tame and mundane in comparison. Braff’s writing has a way of embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly of being unsure of your place in the world, providing the kind of bittersweet humor that fuels soul-searching without attempting to provide insincere answers.
“Annie Hall” (Woody Allen, 1977)
“Annie Hall” also falls into the category of films to watch in order to mend your broken heart and give you faith in your future prospects (I mean, if Woody Allen can get Diane Keaton, there’s hope for everyone). Though well past his twenties in this film, Allen has still crafted a protagonist who feels very much lost and confused, unable to decide on what he wants yet unwilling to relinquish control. “Annie Hall” captures the madness of relationships even as it provides indispensable proof that this is one nuthouse that is unavoidable. More than anything, the film reminds us that we will all make mistakes in every aspect of our lives, and that these are necessary in taking the steps to becoming ourselves and growing up (whatever that means).