While the films watched this week portrayed Asian Americans with varying degrees of intelligence, different types of parental relations, and lives in complete opposite socioeconomic tiers of society, they remain linked through other elements. Both the characters in Monkey Dance and Better Luck Tomorrow displayed forms of resistance to expectation. All the high school students in the suburban parts of
In Monkey Dance, the three main teens are depicted as being more respectful and mindful of their parents. Clearly the parents play a much more present role in this film, as there is an entire section in the beginning devoted to their past. However, their children still display numerous examples of resistance. Linda insists that she has to be on AIM and the phone in order to have a social life. She bluntly comments how this goes against ‘Asian’ values but is necessary. Also, during her time working at the store, she describes her reckless driving on the highway and her thrill of street racing with her friend who ultimately dies in a car crash. Sochenda believes going out until midnight or 1 am is more important than heeding the wishes of his mother. He comments on how making everyday of high school into a fashion show carried more weight than earning good grades.
I think one of the major questions we should all ask ourselves is how can we properly separate the themes brought up in the separate movies as either uniquely Asian American or simply the result of being a teenager in high school. In class it was argued Linda’s attitude toward driving on the highway was a form of rebelliousness against her values as seen in BTL. While I agree this can be paralleled to some of the behavior in BTL, this issue I think would belong in the category of being an adolescent. This would be like the shoplifting scheme by Ben and company. In my opinion, these are both examples of the thrill seeking attitude of teenagers and their wanting to push the limits to see how much they can ultimately get away with.