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Copying the 'Project X' plan, and other stupid teen tricks

Published March 21, 2012 10:18 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If a 16-year-old Clearfield, Utah, girl wanted to throw a party so epic it would be talked about around the world, she succeeded.

News of the weekend party — in which gang members showed up and shot up the place, injuring the girl and three other partygoers — has now spread from Pennsylvania to Perth, Australia.

According to Clearfield police, the girl was inspired by the hit movie "Project X," a documentary-style comedy in which three Pasadena teens throw the mother of all keg parties — one that ultimately attracts a flame-thrower-wielding drug dealer and a SWAT team.

"These kids are trying to mimic these movies," Clearfield Police Lt. Adam Malan told The Salt Lake Tribune's Janelle Stecklein. "It works in Hollywood [so let us try]. You see the outcome and it's horrible."

Stecklein reported that other cities have experienced similar incidents, of teens trying to copy the party scene of "Project X." In one case in Houston, an 18-year-old was killed at a party when someone allegedly started shooting at random.

Warner Bros., which distributed the film, has condemned the copycat incidents. In a statement to ABC News, the studio wrote: "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."

No doubt there will be activist groups who will blame Hollywood for these incidents, and there may be probably a lawsuit or two filed against the filmmakers or Warner Bros. because of them.

While there is a case to be made for the media's ability to glamorize or glorify bad behavior (if it didn't, they never would have banned cigarette advertising from TV), there's also another truth that needs to be reckoned with: Teen-agers will do stupid things, whether they get the idea from a movie or from their equally idiotic friends.