Project X is not an original idea- nor is it a good example of the triumph of American screenwriting, acting, or thematic development. It’s the story of three 17 year olds that throw the millenium’s best house party in Pasadena- and it does a good job of earning its title.
It is peppered with Hollywood’s take on teenage misogyny and stereotyping (the blame comes down on the resident jew from Queens, who gets out of legal charges because he is, well, a jew). There’s a bouncy castle and a pool only for topless girls, a terrier at one point is rigged to fifty balloons and floated out of the yard, and some inhumane jackass puts a midget in an oven.
The movie is extremely self aware- it pretends to be shot as a documentary by a goth from the high school media club, adding to its fake DIY cover. I heard about this movie from friends- whenever we threw a house party at school, someone would jeer that we should try to pull off a similar shindig. It’s sort of a tester now for parties- the elements that built Thomas Kub’s rager of the century are thought to be the perfect ingredients for a night forever emblazoned on the minds of the young. And I’ll give it to them- the movie’s seductive. I howled at the scenes where they tried and failed to shotgun Nattie, and was properly tickled when the baseball starlet uses a gnome for batting practice and discovers it’s filled with ecstasy pills. It does what it’s supposed to do- make you wish you had gone to a party like that just to say you had, and then wince when you realize just how much trouble these guys get into.
But then I realized something- I’ve been to parties like that. I might not have been witness to a war veteran burning down a high class neighborhood with a flame thrower, but I’ve seen my fair share of shrapnel. Seats have been ripped off toilets, doors have been kicked down, motorcycles driven into oceans, people arrested, the list could go on and on. Which is why I think Project X is so enlightening- I don’t think kids realize the depths of the things they get into. Project X might be hyperbolic, but its main events aren’t unheard of or even uncommon. The idea is simple: have the best night of your life, and no matter what the consequences are, they will somehow work out to be worth it.
Right now more than ever it feels like we all need to escape- to find somewhere where life isn’t so pressing and ordained for us. It speaks to the pressures kids are under right now, and the way culture is failing them in the everyday. So they run and find places like the Kub residence- demanding for themselves a good time regardless of what happens in the hungover morn. I think we can all certainly relate to this mindset- but I also think it’s dangerous. It’s a dangerous and selfish way of leading your life- because soon you start only looking for places to escape to, for experiences to shock. The Project X party was legendary, but the consequences were too. What those kids did was selfish in a way only kids of this generation can understand- economic and social security to the point that we can burn down and flood our parent’s house and submerge their Mercedes in a pool. It’s outlandish- but is it really that far out there when we think about how far WE would go for an unforgettable night?
You should watch Project X- all of you. It hits on a vein- in fact it hits on several of them. Take a look at your friend group, your experiences, your knowledge of yourself and your culture. As Kosta, the party plot’s mastermind says, what would you do for a night that would be the everlasting game changer?