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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Eighth Grade

by writer/director Bo Burnham

There are a lot of high school movies. I’m not complaining—I love high school movies. I loved high school movies when I was in middle school. I’d seen so many high school movies so young that by the time I got to actual high school, I saw it through the lens of the movies that I loved. I think it’s a common and strange truth of all post-John Hughes generations: we have seen the milestones of our future experiences represented so much in media—first kisses, keg parties, graduations, proms—that by the time we actually experience them, they feel disappointing. Or bland. Or like I’ve been here before and thought it’d be cooler than this.

I didn’t feel that way about middle school. No movie prepared me for it. Or even could have. As I got older, I understood why. We want to remember high school. We want to relive it. We want to go to the movies and sit in the dark and be back in those days when we were sort of adults but not really, and everything mattered and nothing mattered in the best possible way. Ah, high school.

Middle school? Uhhhh PASS. Those lovely days when I had no freedom and my body was exploding? The nights spent furiously trying to floss out the bits of hot dog bun lodged in my braces? The school dance when I wore Michael Jordan branded cologne and passed out from heat exhaustion? That moment when the lights of my self-awareness were suddenly turned on and I realized that I’d been a complete mess my whole life and so I scrambled to fix myself only to discover that my ability to fix myself was as bad as or even possibly worse than the things that needed fixing? No, thank you.

Honestly, what kind of sick, masochistic psycho would want to see a movie about middle school?

You, hopefully! Enjoy Eighth Grade!

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