Wednesday, December 13

Ten Greatest Teen Movies, Part Two

I've been thinking about this list for the past couple of days, and there are some additions and revisions I'd like to make. I feel like I should also give a brief explanation for my selections, if for no other reason than to prove I'm by no means tragically misguided.

Criteria: Must not necessarily star teenagers, but be about teenagers. Must be created for a teenage market (while Rushmore is wonderful, it is not a "teen movie" since everyone can enjoy it). Must not fall into any other film category (horror, "romance," etc).

10. Say Anything
Every girl will always love Lloyd Dobler until she dies, even if that means loving John Cusack by association. Possibly one of the most good-natured teen movies ever, it stands the test of time better than a lot of other '80s movies, even though Lloyd is really stoked about that kickboxing.

9. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure/Bogus Journey
Two for the price of one. It's impossible not to like this shit, dated and strange as it is. There was a time when movies like this not only got made, they were also kind of popular. San Dimas High School football rules!

8. 10 Things I Hate About You
This movie came out around the time 15 other teen movies did, and is the only late '90s film to make the cut. Why? Well, having Shakespeare do most of the writing helps, but Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles are also terribly charming. This movie kicks She's All That square in the balls.

7. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
What kind of kid skips school and goes to an art museum? Ferris Bueller, that's the kind. I always wanted a day like this during my high school career, but it never happened. It may be one of my life's great regrets to never take over a parade.

6. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead
I can only assume I started watching this movie when it would play on HBO every afternoon at some point in the mid-'90s. Understanding time and place are very important to loving this movie, because Southern California in 1991 was an ugly, ugly place. Keep in mind Christina Applegate was just hitting her poor exploited peak on "Married with Children" at this time, and you can tell she felt like she had something to prove her. And prove it she did. She was awesome.

5. Bring it On
I have watched Bring it On more than I care to admit. There have been times when I'm not sure what I like about this movie - you're supposed to hate cheerleaders in high school! And maybe that's the point...they're as ditzy and shallow as you expect them to be, but they're also really nice, funny, and have problems just like everyone else. Cheerleading problems.

4. Pretty in Pink
Best John Hughes film, bar none. I love pretty much everything about it, but I especially love James Spader. Though many believe Andie's biggest mistake was not choosing Duckie at the end, I think she's a fool for not having a one-night stand with Steff. I know I would have.

3. Back to the Future
I was on the fence about including it in this list, because I had been thinking of it as a science-fiction film. It was wrong of me to do so. Even though there is time travel involved, it all about high school and dances, first loves and nerves. It's the reason everyone, everywhere, will love Michael J. Fox forever. It's also one of the most perfect-all around films ever made, and does not rate higher mostly because of the "Wild West" sequel and the cartoon.

2. Mean Girls
Probably the best teen film to be released in the past five years. If you've been avoiding it out of hate for Lindsay Lohan, don't. This was a good year or two before she went crazy, and besides, it's more of a Tina Fey film than Lindsay Lohan. Rachel McAdams pretty much steals it, though, as Mean Girl Regina George. It's pretty fucking awesome.

1. Clueless
The first time I saw this movie was when I was in sixth grade. I thought it was really cool and really funny, and now that I'm all grown up I realise it's even moreso because it's based on a Jane Austen novel. Bring it On kind of borrowed the "just because she's vapid doesn't mean she's cruel" premise, but it's impossible to recreate the same kind of dumb wonder that Cher provides. It does not say RSVP on the Statue of Liberty, people. Bonus: Paul Rudd. I love you.

Honorable Mentions: Napoleon Dynamite, Hairspray, Heathers, Now and Then, The Outsiders, Quadrophenia, To Sir, With Love, Save the Last Dance, The Breakfast Club, Empire Records

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Blogger Todd said...

Hey youngster,

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a John Hughes movie.



3:00 PM  
Blogger Trashley said...

Jesus. Whatever.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Everybody Is Indifferent About Richard said...

I'll ask again.

Does 'But I'm A Cheerleader' count? Deserves a mention.

Excellent list. Obviously only America can pull these kind of movies. Imagine someone else trying it? It'd be a cinematic catastrophe.

Is American high school life really this fun? And do you do fun stuff like 'go for a milkshake/pizza' after school, or go poke dead bodies with sticks.


4:56 PM  
Blogger Trashley said...

Hm, I guess "But I'm A Cheerleader" might count, though I would say it's Queer Cinema rather than a teen film. Maybe.

American high school is not exactly like films, but I was on Student Council, worked at the local fast food hot spot, participated in school plays, and hung out by my locker between classes chatting with my friends. We also have principals, not headmasters. Got a yearbook I can show you and everything.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Everybody Is Indifferent About Richard said...

Well, we sort of had student councils, but they didn't do anything whatsoever. There were no local fast food hot spots, and if there were, nobody would want to go there. We had a small area consisting of about 20 lockers, which nobody used, and you had to pay for if you did. Our 6th form (college, but an extension of your previous secondary school i.e. same teachers, classrooms etc...) had a yearbook, but it was fucking awful. Didn't even have a shiny cover.

Was always impressed that the kids in Saved By The Bell managed to stay in shape, despite having a burger and milkshake after school everyday. I imagine that's ON TOP of their parents home cooked dinner.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trashley, you are always right, but if I could please ask you to reconsider one item. While Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is a fine movie in it's own right, it cannot possibly be a better "teen movie" than The Breakfast Club or Heathers. Or even Karate Kid.

For one thing, I can't recall a single scene in DTMTBD that takes place in High School. Most of the drama takes place in Christina's "office". It's more of a yuppie movie, like The Secret of My Success.

I might also recommend an underseen 80's movie called Hiding Out. Jon Cryer plays a young defense attorney who is on the run from the mob. He ends up impersonating a high school student and quickly becomes the coolest kid in school. It's like Ferris Bueller meets The Firm. But its totally a teen movie!

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All teen movies can be catagorized into one of three types:

Type A: Shallow/confident/arrogant protagonist learns how to respect others and therefore becomes a better person. See Clueless, Mean Girls, Bring it On.


Type B: Insecure/ugly/shy/loser protagonist realizes that he/she has more potential than he ever imagined and therefore becomes a better person. See Bill & Ted, Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael, Sixteen Candles, Better Off Dead.


Type C: Protagonist remains the same, but transforms everyone around him for the better. See Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Back to the Future, Say Anything.

I think you have too many Type A teen movies on your list. Are Type B teen movies too sentimental for you?

2:26 PM  

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