The teen movie: It’s what John Hughes perfected in the 80’s. It’s what ‘She’s All That’ and ‘Never Been Kissed’ became hallmarks of. It’s what can define the fashion and slang of a generation. Sadly, in 2016, it’s something of a lost genre. In the last ten years there’s been nary a movie I would put on the same shelf as the flicks that made Molly Ringwald and Rachel Leigh Cook famous. Here’s hoping we’re just going through a dry spell. These are my picks for the top 5 teen movies of all time:
THE BREAKFAST CLUB
Probably the most famous of the teen movies, and the flick that put pioneer John Hughes on the map. The Breakfast Club has all the ingredients of the perfect teen movie, starting with the stereotypical characters many would argue John Hughes invented: The loner, the stoner, the jock, the beauty queen and the nerd. Stick them all in a room together for a Saturday detention (is that a thing?) and you’ve got the perfect storm of teen angst, teary confessions, pranks and of course an unlikely romance.
Yes, another John Hughes’. Molly Ringwald certainly was his muse, appearing in several of his films. And although many would choose Pretty in Pink as her glory role, I say Sixteen Candles is the film where she truly shines. Beyond Molly just being a joy to watch, this movie also deals with the classic teen movie dilemma ‘unpopular girl likes popular boy’, in what I think is a very interesting way. We also get to see an awkward high school dance(bonus!) and one of the best teen parties in the history of film (somebody gets their hair cut off THROUGH A DOOR). Need I say more?
This movie came out when I was in high school, so it has a special place in my heart on the teen movie list. Back when Lindsay Lohan was still relevant, and before Rachel McAdams became the Rom Com queen of our time. Back before we knew who Amanda Seyfried was, or cared about Amy Poehler. Tina Fey produces this very funny, very realistic portrayal of just how ruthless girls can be to each other, while also highlighting how smart, resourceful and funny they can be. Ultimately the film hits home how important female friendships are. It also includes the only Christmas candy cane exchange in teen movie history: ‘Four for you, Glen Coco. You go, Glen Coco!’
BRING IT ON
It’s the movie that brought awareness to the underfunded, underappreciated, under-recognized sport-art(yes, I just made that word up) of Cheerleading. Personally, after watching this I became very sad my school didn’t have a cheerleading squad. There have been several sequels and remakes, which always makes me cringe, because noone will ever match Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of Torrance at the height of her popularity in 2000.
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
A modern twist on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Some students in high school still choose to watch this movie versus reading Shakespeare’s actual play. It’s a pretty far cry, but it’s an entertaining movie nonetheless. It tells the tale of two sisters- the eldest is forbidden to date, unless her younger sister has a date also. Enter Heath Ledger’s Patrick Verona, the notorious bad boy with a mysterious reputation- some say he ate a live duck once too…and you have one of the most popular teen movies of the nineties.