“I think teenagers are idiots. I can’t write for teenagers. I don’t care about entertaining them. I think everything that’s made is to keep them amused. They can fuck off.” This is an excerpt from my jam-packed forthcoming interview with director Bobcat Goldthwait about his new movie, World’s Greatest Dad.
Now “they can fuck off” has long been a personal mantra of mine. In fact it’s the third of my 3 Keys to Life, which goes as follows:
1. Drink more water.
2. Dress in layers.
3. They can fuck off.
And it’s true. Teenagers fucking suck. If you’re 14, what have you got going for you? If you’re lucky you haven’t skateboarded into traffic yet. That’s probably about it. You’re kind of an idiot and just realized it. You’re in middle school, which only other middle school students ever want to hear about. You’re obsessed with girls but don’t realize they’re human beings yet. You really think The Final Destination is going to be rad. People make you read the cliffs notes to books like Things Fall Apart. Your life is terrible. The only consolation is that everyone else had to do it too but god please don’t ask us about it, we don’t want to relive it.
In the movies, humanity’s great public bathhouse of the mind, 14 year-olds aren’t like this. They’re essentially off limits because they’re fragile and because god please don’t make us relive it. Even if you write a script about realistic asshole teenagers that somehow doesn’t piss off your teenage audience, who are you going to get to direct it? Joseph Gordon Levitt? That movie is gonna suck, man.
Bobcat Goldthwait has got the right idea: they can fuck off. Robin Williams stars as a pleasant and useless poetry teacher with a son who goes to the same school. His son is an asshole. Not a movie asshole. A regular one. He’s unpopular, obsessed with sex, and hates his father.
Everything jump starts for Robin’s character when a kind of 21st century Greek tragedy occurs. And by “Greek” here I’m not talking about Homer. He didn’t fall asleep next to his broadsword and accidentally roll over. Although that would have been much less shameful. I’m talking about the sexually perverse Greeks of old that we know and love. I won’t give it away, but it’s something awful. Robin, the world’s greatest dad, tries to turn the whole mess upside down and astonishingly succeeds. As he rolls through a kind of suburban dream life, the movie snowballs into a full blown satire. It’s like the end of Titus Andronicus, but, you know, funny.
The most remarkable thing about this movie is that it’s good. Rewind a sec. It’s called “World’s Greatest Dad”. It’s directed by the guy who got famous talking like a Sesame Street character in a trash bin in the Police Academy movies. And it stars Robin Williams who’s fresh off RV, Man of the Year, and Night at the Museum II: Yet Another Night At The Museum. The cards were so stacked against this movie that it could still flop in the theaters. But by god people, if you have any decency, don’t let it happen. This seedy pastiche of a fucked-up comedy is the best thing to happen to high school since middle school.