Nothing can make the soul happier than a good coming-of-age movie. The classics like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Juno, or one of my personal favorites: Superbad.
Now there is a new contender battling for which coming-of-age movie I’ll watch on a Friday night when I need to feel some joy. That contender is The Binge on Hulu. First and foremost, I want to commend Hulu for being my new go-to app that I open and scroll aimlessly through until I decide to watch the same show that I’ve seen 10 times. The Binge, a Hulu original, puts a whole new spin on The Purge saga. Instead of all crime being legal for 24 hours, all drugs and alcohol are legal for one day out of the year. It follows three friends on an adventure to “binge” the night away, all while the main character, Griffin, figures out how to ask his crush to the prom. (Like it couldn’t have waited until the next day? Whatever, it works.)
The movie stars Dexter Darden, Skyler Gisondo, and Eduardo Franco – omg, Booksmart reunion! But more on Booksmart later. Oh, and the principal is played by Vince Vaughn. You can never go wrong with Vince.
The Binge may strike you a childish plot and a corny parody of a rather terrifying saga of movies, but Director Jeremy Garelick took the concept and executed it perfectly. It’s just wacky enough to let you relax and laugh, but realistic enough to feel authentic and relatable. However, when talking about a hilarious coming-of-age film, it would be an injustice to myself and the movie world if I didn’t mention Booksmart. If you’ve been blessed enough to see Booksmart (2019), you are aware of how brilliantly a comedic coming of age can be done in this decade. Thank you, Olivia Wilde. Side note: Imagine being Jonah Hill (Superbad) & Beanie Feldstein’s (Booksmart) parents and producing not one but two main characters in two of the funniest coming-of-age movies ever.
What I noticed about both of these movies, Booksmart and The Binge, is how well they work in this genre. They’re fresh stories and new concepts. Of course, all coming-of-age movies have a different plot, but the message seemed to always be the same – boy meets girl, boy has crush on girl, something goes wrong, but then boy gets girl. The Binge was different. The relationship at hand between Griffin and Lena was the subplot, and in the meantime, you got full-on comedy. It had me constantly wanting more – I couldn’t wait for the next line or even the next scene because I knew that I was guaranteed a laugh. It is very rare that I find movies that don’t make me want to Google the run time halfway through so I know when it’ll be over. With The Binge, I didn’t care. I was in the moment and I was here for whatever these three boys were getting into next.
These two movies take everything that’s right with movies like Superbad and reinvent it. I truly believe that Booksmart set the stage for what coming-of-age comedies in this era are going to look like, and The Binge followed in its footsteps. I am so hopeful that we will see more movies like this, and even more hopeful that we see the three main actors in more projects.