Read of the Day: “Legends Never Die”
6:30 pm, May 2nd | by Colette McIntyre
Before Thirteen, before Spring Breakers, before Teen Mom, Sixteen and Pregnant, Preachers’ Daughters, and Cat Marnell, there was Kids. Centered on the sexual exploits and substance abuse of young teenagers in New York City, Kids created considerable controversy upon its release, initially receiving a NC-17 rating from the MPAA. It’s strange to realize that the film that brought us Zoo York, Harmony Korine (who went on to write and direct the aforementioned Spring Breakers), Chloë Sevigny, and Rosario Dawson debuted over twenty years ago. In an essay for Narrative.ly, Caroline Rothstein takes a look back at what Kids meant to generation Y:
Those of us who watched Kids as adolescents, growing up in an era before iPhones, Facebook, and Tiger Moms, had our minds blown from wherever we were watching–whether it was the Angelika Film Center on the Lower East Side or our parents’ Midwestern basements. We were captivated by the entirely unsupervised teens smoking blunts, drinking forties, hooking up, running amok and reckless through the New York City streets. Simultaneously, the driving storyline highlighted the terror of HIV and AIDS, which was at its apex in the mid-nineties.
Rothstein meets with the kids of Kids who are now grown up and trying to figure out what the movie means to them:
“But overall, that’s exactly what it was like,” says Jonny. “You ran around the fucking streets of New York. The city was just crazy at that time and things were different with kids. It’s certainly not like that anymore. I think that Kids is probably, to me, the last time you see New York City for what it was on film. That is to me a seminal moment in New York history because right after that came the complete gentrification of Manhattan.”
Kids immortalizes a moment in New York City when worlds collided–“the end of lawless New York,” Eli says–before skateboarding was hip, before Giuliani cleaned up, suited up, and wealthy-ed up Manhattan.
“I don’t think anyone else could have ever made that movie,” says Leo. “If you made that movie a year before or after it was made, it wouldn’t be the same movie. Everything just clicked in a very kind of natural way.”
“It’s almost like Kids was the dying breath of the old New York,” says Jessica.
Read the full piece, “Legends Never Die”, at Narrative.ly.