The “beautiful plastic bag” scene from American Beauty has become one of those cultural moments with which we post-millennial cynics bludgeon the bloated corpse of our (former) zest for life. I suspect we mock it not because it has some essentially childlike earnestness in it, but because we sense in it the same kind of calculated self-mockery we all so love to wallow in. It’s an infinitely recursive, intentionally unfunny in-joke. It’s the cultural equivalent of a self-loathing fat kid puking upon his own myriad reflections in a funhouse full of shattered mirrors.
Here again, for your mocking “pleasure”: