Hipsters don't like hipsters

Only mainstream critics are charmed by movies featuring the young and hip

Reality Bites
  • Reality Bites

Dear Hipster:

Are there any movies about hipsters? Google comes up with a list of movies hipsters watch, or hipster characters, but I envision a pretty cool, funny movie about hipsters and hipster culture — like Reality Bites or some John Hughes movie. I really want to see a cool hipster movie. Something like: After college and 1.5 years at a corporate job, Dylan and his girlfriend, Riley, move from Chicago to North Park with their dog, Milo. Dylan pedals his single-speed to a downtown loft where he works at a startup. He fights with Riley over continuing at her nonprofit job, or pursuing her dream of an artisanal yoga-mat cleaning oil company. After their friends — Sanchez, Melanie, and Jamie — form a new band, Warm Indifference, drummer Jamie discovers his (or her?) affections for ukulele player Melanie, a barista at Cafe Craft. When Corp Food opens a new neighborhood restaurant that is suspiciously non-local, the gang investigates, finding only 30% of the food is farm-to-table, and only 50% of the tea they serve is single origin or fair trade. It’s a postmodern Scooby Doo mystery meets crowd-sourced protest! Melanie, one of their first employees, is forced to make a tough call between continued employment (her only job ever at 26) and sticking to her principles. Sanchez struggles with his cultural identity, going vegan, but still eating his mom’s delicious tamales that contain lard. Dylan champions Movember month at his office, sharing handlebar mustache grooming tips with coworkers. With an election on the horizon and a zoning ballot affecting their urban lifestyle, the group struggles with the mainstream nature of voting and must decide who The Man will be.

— David Jones

I can usually tell when I’m being mocked or baited, but this seems legit. I doubt I can help you with your screenplay idea, but maybe if you move up to L.A. and get a job waiting tables at PF Chang’s you can focus on breaking into Hollywood? I must say, Warm Indifference is an absolutely killer band name.

Countless movies appeal to hipsters. Some films directly target hipsters’ aesthetics and morals, but hipsters are actually capable of liking a movie “just because,” though this happens rarely. It can also help if mainstream critics dislike a given movie, especially if it’s possible to assert that they “just didn’t get it.” Some movies, like any other pop-culture product, become beloved by hipsters for no understandable reason, which irritates non-hipsters to no end.

The occasional films that try using recognizably hipster characters, on the other hand, find little favor in the black-plastic-framed eyes of hipsterkind. Plenty of mainstream critics drooled over 500 Days of Summer, easily labelling the quirky, totes adorbs, Smiths-loving protagonists as hipster kids finding love on the silver screen. But we hipsters saw only shallow parody of so-called hipster tropisms and a thinly veiled attempt to buy our loyalty with Doves’ songs. Ditto for the previous year’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which managed to charm a majority of viewers, but about which my hipster friends had nothing nice to say. This year’s While We’re Young updated Hollywood’s hipster stereotype (the too-cute hipster couple has chickens in their apartment!), but we get the sense that it’s a big, and not very funny, joke.

Ironically, your movie about hipsters might be successful, but not with real life hipsters. Hipsters don’t like hipsters, at least not on screen.

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