“Project X” Movie Leads to Copycats, Arrests and a Death

Is this a case of life imitating art? I hope you can clarify this for me after reading this post.

At times it feels as if I am the only one speaking out against Hollywood portraying teenagers as debauched, misguided criminals to increase their box-office take in. 

But after I read about about a slew of incidents involving teenagers attempting to throw parties a la “Project X,” I think I may be on to something.  

“Project X” is a movie about high school kids organizing the mother of all parties which ends in utter mayhem. Unfortunately, the latest example of life imitating Hollywood art, in my opinion, was confirmed after news of adolescents taking their cue from the main characters in “Project X,” and are being inspired by actions and events illustrated in the alleged fictional film.

Unsupervised kids have been arrested, and one  killed, when plans to have house parties in the absense of adults were thwarted by authorities.

Miami police were able to prevent a planned party in a foreclosed home. They arrested the alleged host, however, about 2,000 people showed up to a dark house since they hadn’t been notified of the cancelation.

In another incident in Michigan, a father caught his son was attempting to imitate a Project X-style revelry when the teenager used Twitter to send out invitations and it started trending!

A gathering in Houston resulted in a fatality when almost 1,000 people showed up to a party after the word spread on Facebook.  When police tried to break up the festivity, Ryan Spikes, an 18-year-old high school senior and star football player, was shot and killed by a party-goer who started shooting.

Warner Bros released this statement: “These incidents are deplorable and it goes without saying that “Project X” is a fictional movie and that Warner Bros. does not condone–and strongly discourages—anyone from attempting to imitate conduct portrayed by actors in a controlled environment during the filming of a motion picture.”

Sadly, for Ryan Spikes, this statement is a little too late.

Parents can’t be looking after every single thing their teenagers are up to. But they also can’t go to the other extreme and blindly trust a hormonal, insecure adolecent to make the right decisions all the time. There is a balance that we need to constantly achieve when educating our teenagers about bad influences, bad decisions and responsibility. It’s exhausting to be a parent in the age of rapid technological advances, mass media, and lightning speed communication via social networks.  

And lately, Hollywood hasn’t been there to help us either. Wholesomeness is out, hedonism is in.

Do you think Hollywood is partly responsible for planting the types of illegal ideas depicted in “Project X” in impressionable teens? Or are parents entirely responsible for their teenagers actions?



  1. Jennifer says:

    I tend to shy away from the thought that Hollywood (or any other outside source) is directly to blame for the actions for teenagers (or anyone else). Hollywood is one of the many pop culture entities that can influence teens–but that is as far as I am willing to go. I watched Footloose when I was a teenager and had no desire to mess around with trains. There are kids who are like to dabble in risky/illegal behavior, think it has always been that way since the beginning of time. Bottom line for me is that parents need to parent.

  2. Suzette Valle says:

    Hi, Jennifer! Long time no see! Yes, you are entirely right. Engaging in risky business has been an age-long problem with teens. Of course, Hollywood hasn’t always been there to pounce and highlight this bad behavior as ‘cool’ or ‘badass’ and the way to get ahead in life — and it seems this is all tinseltown can come up with to represent this vulnerable age group of late.

    I agree with you that if parents would do their job and a movie would not influence anyone’s behaviors. Blaming Hollywood for kids or adults imitating films or TV shows is not a solution. Maybe films and shows should tone down or balance the good with the bad, highlight real concequences from time to time. Should they include disclaimers? “Caution: watching this film may cause you to…”

    American pop culture is a force to be reckoned with — it is a multi million dollar business for this very reason. I would venture to say Hollywood influences many things even adults do, wear, eat, drink and look like (plastic surgery to get JLo butt implants, lol!). But some of us know how to control the draw celebrity lifestyles have on us and our society…only some though.

    Thank goodness you and I are grounded parents!

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