It has been a long time since I saw fans represented in a movie, TV show or book so I haven’t done a post about the media representations of fandom for a very long time. Yet, last weekend, I saw a movie called “Be Somebody” that definitely featured fans and motivated me to do a little writing about the movie. What is the movie about? How are fans featured? How are they shown/depicted?
IMDb describes the plot of this movie in this way, “Pop superstar Jordan Jaye has a big dream – he just wants to live like a regular teenager. When he’s chased down by some excited female fans, he finds a perfect hideout and a reluctant new friend from a small town, high-school art student, Emily Lowe. Despite being from different worlds, they soon discover they have way more in common than they ever imagined. Over the course of several days, the two embark on an unexpected journey of friendship, first love and self-discovery — proving that maybe opposites really do attract.”
If you notice the story begins when fans chase down Jordan, the teen idol. The chasing happens when Jordan leaves his tour bus to have a break from the non-stop life of a pop star. He assumed that he wouldn’t run into anyone who would recognize him. When fans did notice him, they went all crazy by screaming and literally running after him. Within the first few minutes of the movie, I found myself shaking my head. Do all teenage female fans scream and chase the star of their desire? Did all of you, if you had the chance to be anywhere near Duran? While I didn’t have the opportunity to see Duran in person until I was way beyond my teenage years, I doubt that I would have chased them! My point here is simple. This feels like a stereotype about teenage female fans. All teenage music fans would chase after their idols, is that what they are saying? All of them? Every last one of them? How does this make the female fans seem? Illogical. Crazy. Hysterical. Emotional. Out of control.
Then, when the pop star finds another teen female, the assumption is that she must also be a fan. When he thinks she is a fan, he asks her not to scream because all female fans scream. Now, don’t get me wrong. Many female fans of all ages scream. I do. I’m not judging it. What I am questioning, though, is that movies, the media, perpetuate images of fans, especially female fans as being hysterical, crazy, over-the-top. They aren’t showing them as just excited but going WAY beyond excited. You can see what I mean in the trailer:
After the pop star finds out that the teenage girl is not a fan, he opts to stay with her. Obviously here, the message is that non-fans are safe for stars but fans definitely would not be. While I understand that this is the usual storyline for movies like this, I wish that they would have shown the female main character as a fan but a reasonable one. Wouldn’t that be cool? The idea could be that he gets in the car of a fan and is about to jump out when he realizes that she’s cool, that he’s safe with her. Being a fan doesn’t mean that she has lost her mind. Then, the movie could be about how an idol becomes a real person and about how the idol starts to see the fan as a individual rather than one of the collective.
While I thought the movie was cute with a good message about sticking up for oneself, fighting for one’s dream, I also found it following a usual formula. The movie is safe, in that regard and relied on too many stereotypes, including not only stereotypes about female fans but also about the music industry, fame, etc. Has anyone else seen this movie? What did you think?