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The Last Year Proves Hollywood’s Millennial Nostalgia Obsession Must End

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Senior Year, a Netflix comedy, which features many nostalgia-driven stories. It’s just the latest example of why nostalgia in cinema should end.

Warning: minor spoilers ahead for senior year

Secondary year proves that Hollywood’s obsession with millennial nostalgia must end. A plethora of recent films have attempted to capitalize on nostalgia. Reboots, remakes and sequels of films from the 1990s or early, includingShe is all that, Charm, Bel-Airand Hocus Pocus suite are a dime a dozen lately.

Secondary year stars Rebel Wilson as Stephanie Conway, who lands in a coma for 20 years after a cheerleading accident and wishes to relive her time as a high school student after waking up. Stephanie was a senior citizen in early 2001-2002, and the film is littered with reminders of that time period throughout. Even after Stephanie wakes up from her arrival, audiences remember the times, especially in a scene that recreates Britney Spears’ music video for (You Drive Me) Crazy. The song choices, including Mandy Moores Candy and Nellys Hot in Herre, as well as the premise are reminiscent of several fan favorites like Bring it on, never been kissedand 13 Ongoing 30. Stephanie’s rival and mean girl, Tiffany, reminds everyone that she is MTV while Stephanie is VH1, once considered the inferior music channel.

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Related: Senior Year Cast & Character Guide

The problem is Secondary year gets so caught up in referencing first things that it forgets to have depth in its story. Hollywood has a long history of betting on nostalgia, but any millennial can just play a song or turn on a streamer to watch shows from that era. Turning nostalgia into an entire movies personality is detrimental and hinders creativity. Such is the case with Secondary year, which devotes a lot of energy to reminding audiences of what was once considered cool, but establishing a specific era shouldn’t be so blanketed in nostalgic reminders of the past just because it can. Stephanie dances to Britney Spears choreography or sings with Kelly Clarksons A Moment Like This and references Real world doesn’t add anything to the movie.



rebel wilson you drive me crazy in senior

Secondary yearmakes many comparisons with never been kissed the most (not in a mocking way), but the Drew Barrymore-directed movie wasn’t trying so hard to be something it clearly wasn’t. In the end, when movies use nostalgia so much and focus so little on story and character, it just leads audiences to search for the very things they’re referring to, completely forgetting about the movie’s premise. That’s not to say that any film steeped in nostalgia is inherently bad. turn redthe latest Disney Pixar animation, is an example of what it looks like to successfully incorporate bits of the past (the film is set in 2002) without relying so much on the nostalgia factor to elevate the story or make it memorable.


But the entertainment industry is so hyper-focused on millennial nostalgia, in particular, that it often overlooks what made films of the era memorable in the first place. Millennials don’t want the same repeated stories that have so little heart and thought; they probably want something fresh and interesting. Familiarity is one thing, but leaning so heavily on the fondness for the 90s and early years has become exhausting. It only leads to half-hearted attempts to rejuvenate something that no longer exists rather than creating a film that will resonate with viewers and isn’t afraid to be itself. Secondary year is just a reminder of why millennial nostalgia in movies needs to be showcased much less, if at all.


Next: Senior Year End Explained (In Detail)

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