What would you claim to be the defining moment of the 20th century? Would it be World War I or II, the great depression, the McCarthy trials, the hippie generation, the civil rights movement, or those crazy 90’s? Well, you may have your own opinions, but I believe that the 20th century cannot be defined by one single event, but by a piece of art created in the that remarkable century. This magnificent work would be Rod Daniel’s Teen Wolf, starring Michael J. Fox. In this unique and illustrious motion picture, Michael J. Fox plays Scott, a high school student who is struggling with love, striving for popularity, and would give anything to hang with the “in” crowd. Scott notices changes in his life and it is revealed to him that he is a werewolf. While in the middle of a basketball game, Scott accidentally transforms into a werewolf. At first people are afraid, but he soon becomes one of the most popular kids in school. Teen Wolf was the defining moment of the 20th century because it expressed the century’s major themes of racism and teenage insecurity.
The 20th century was filled with traces of racism and prejudice, which are both portrayed in this movie. Once Scott’s alternative lifestyle becomes public, he is judged not by his character but by the fur on his body and his other werewolf characteristics, which are obviously fangs, long nails, a keen sense of smell, and a wolf face. Eventually, his fellow students accept him as an equal except for Mick, who has a strong prejudice against werewolves. After several beatings and taunting from Mick, Scott finally pays him back with the beating of his life, and Mick reforms his anti-werewolf ways. Mick is not the only one who has a prejudice against werewolves, though. The headmaster, Rusty Thorne, the archenemy of Scott’s dad, also hates werewolves, and he never lets Scott get off easy. But by the end, Rusty has learned to accept werewolves, too.
Insecurity was also a major part of the 20th century especially during the McCarthy trials, but in this movie it is not just insecurity, but teenage insecurity. Young Scott is just discovering girls because of hormones that are released during puberty. He is also noticing that to get the girl he likes, Pamela Wells, he needs to become popular and what the kids call “cool.” He discovers his abnormal powers and puts them to his advantage. He is soon the coolest guy in school and gets the girl he wanted. However, he realizes that his wereworlf-ism is just a gimmick and that is the only reason people like him. Scott, questioning his popularity, decides to play the championship basketball game as himself. Working together, his team, the Beavers, win the championship, and Scott finally sees who is true friends really are.
As you can now tell, Teen Wolf expresses two very important themes of the 20th century; therefore, it best represents the century and could reasonably be called the defining moment of the 20th century. I have learned a lot about life through this movie. It taught me about understanding other races, cultures, and types of monsters. It also taught me an important lesson on how to deal with my conflicts. No, not transform into a werewolf and dance on top of a moving van, but instead, just be myself.