Every now and again I will analyze a movie that lends itself particularly well to a discussion of social game and mastery. Generally, I take two or more scenes that provide an interesting example of game, though if the movie is especially impressive, I can find myself doing a full review as well. Today’s pick is ‘Youth in Revolt’. While this movie does fall in the category of beta-male aggrandizement, in the vain of ’40-year-old-virgin’, ‘Knocked Up’, ‘Juno’, and ‘Superbad’, it has an added component that makes it far more valuable than a regular Apatow or Diablo Cody flick. As a film, it is painfully mediocre; the story is lacking, the characters are boring and dull, and the conclusion will make any man who is unafraid of his masculinity want to burn polite society to the ground. What makes it of particular interest is the coherent juxtaposition of two characters with completely opposite approaches to social interaction/game–i.e. the movie provides a solid platform for direct comparison of an alpha and beta male.
Both characters are played by the lead actor, Michael Cera, and both are, in fact, the same person. Nice-guy/beta Nick Twisp is the real lead, and his alter ego, Francois Dillinger, is an alpha badboy. The story is typical: Nick, a self-loathing virgin, finds an attractive young girl he wants to bed, and discovers, strangely to him, that she enjoys badboys instead of his own supplicating, testicle-less self. In most movies of this sort, the man would continue subordinating himself, while the girl happily fucks every alpha-male penis in sight. Eventually, with enough subordination and clumsily executed ‘romantic-gestures’ on his part, she realizes that she does love him after all. ‘Youth In Revolt’ present a twist, though the ending is essentially the same. Nick produces an alter ego, something of the type you would expect in an individual with multiple personality disorder, who epitomizes the alpha badboy that his oneitis* so dearly craves. Here is a contrast; the first video shows the beta, Nick, applying sunscreen to the girl (he is incredibly awkward about it, and fails to even enjoy the experience of touching her skin). The second shows his alter ego, Francois, talking down a police officer his mom happens to be dating.
There are many points of contrast between Nick and Francois. Their body language and voice tone are the most immediately apparent. There is comfort and energy that Francois carries into each movement–the way he walks or the gleam in his eyes–that is utterly lacking in the much more hesitant and unsure Nick. Many who view this video, as students of game and social mastery, will have a tendency towards imitation: to calculate and perform each move or each statement the way Francois does (and indeed in the movie, he is far more attractive in the eyes of the girl). This is fine, and can be an effective way to progress towards social mastery. But often this involves missing the deeper aspects of character underlie the differences in demeanor between the two characters.
Watch the videos again. What is the fundamental difference in personal disposition between these two guys? What separates them as individuals? Why does one seem so much more masculine, or alternatively, so much more sexually appealing (in spite of that grotesque mustache and tight-fitting clothing)?
The answer: fear.
Nick is consumed by it, afraid to touch a girl, afraid that something he sys will displease her. When you watch the movie in its entirety, it consists only of scenes such as this–a boy scared out of wits of most everything. He has desires and ambitions, but is hindered by his own emotional mechanisms. Francois, in contrast, is completely absent of any fear. He talks down and dominates an aggressive, angry police officer, and does it with pleasure in his eyes. He is unafraid of going to jail, being hit, or anything that would be significantly worse than what a little young girl might be able to do. In another very good scene (one that I unfortunately could not find on Youtube), Nick is willing to risk incarceration to be able to get the girl, the object of his sexual desires. Francois swiftly replies: no pussy is worth imprisonment. These are fundamentally distinct attitudes and views. Francois is fearless and confident, and sees himself as the most important person on Earth. Nick is spineless, spends the length of the movies shitting his pants for one reason or another, and is willing to give up everything for a chance to bed an annoyingly talkative girl.
While the movie’s plot and secondary characters conform to the stereotypical beta-aggrandizement that is so common in modern movies and media, the contrast between Nick and the Francois alter ego is a juicy learning opportunity, and makes bearing through the more painful parts of the movie worthwhile. Rent the movie, and, at the very least, just watch the scenes with Francois. His character is deliciously alpha.
*Note: I will often use terms that are the language of social game, such as alpha, beta, oneitis, pairbonding, negs, etc. Look them up on google for a quick definition, or, better yet, read any of Mystery’s books for an more in-depth understanding.