I’m not sure if any of you have picked up on it just yet, but I pretty much grew up in the 90’s, when the Spice Girls reigned supreme, Tamagotchi’s were the most popular toy (Furby’s were annoying as fuck lol), and the rise of the modern teen movie had taken off! It’s fair to say that I have watched a lot of them in my day. And I’m sure that you guys have too. Some of them are classics nowadays.
But when I was a teenager, they had such a big influence on my life – and others I presume – because they introduced me to a whole new world of teenage drama, cliques, social status and stereotypes BEFORE smart technology took off. Seriously, I wish I had YouTube to help me with choosing the right clothes, and how to do makeup – it would have made being a teenager MUCH easier. lol
We had to turn to magazines like Dolly and Girlfriend, asking older siblings for advice (and stealing their makeup when they weren’t looking… if you were lucky enough to have a sibling, that is) or watching TV shows and… movies!
So, without further ado, I would like to share with you my favourite teen movies which really resonated with me during my adolescent years. My bet is that you’ve seen most of these before haha!
10. Save The Last Dance
This movie was one of the first movies I owned on DVD. After a family tragedy, Sara (Julia Styles) is sent to live with her father in Chicago and has to move to a new school, which is predominantly attended by African American students. She has to overcome racial difference, stand up to those who oppose her interracial relationship with Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas) and find the courage to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer.
Why I love this movie: If you think about it, most teen movies are all about Caucasian girls, and granted, so is this one. But I love the fact that they introduce African American teenage culture into this movie. At the time, I hadn’t seen anything like it and it was mind blowing to see that African Americans have their own struggles with themselves, as well as the stigmas other people associated with them. Let’s put it simply; modern race and interracial relationships weren’t really seen in a teen movie until this came out.
Best bit: Sara’s dance audition. She owns it!
Not as well-known as the other movies on my list, but it made an impression on me. This is a darker movie and caused a lot of controversy for its content; drug taking, self-harm, to name a few. Tracey (Evan Rachel Wood) is just starting middle school (whatever that means – anyone care to shine a light on the American school system?) and is subsequently teased for wearing ‘Cabbage Patch’ clothing. She changes her style and catches the eye of Evie (Nikki Reed) one of the most popular girls at school. Tracy befriends her and it leads down a very dark and unstable path for both of them.
Why I love this movie: This was the first movie in which I saw the ‘dark side’ of being a teenager. At school, we all used to gossip about the popular kids and imagined all the stuff they got up to, but we actually never got to see it. Well, this kinda shed a light on that. It might have been a little on the extreme side of the spectrum (I’m sure at 13 most of the popular girls weren’t having sex or taking drugs lol) but it made me more self-aware and confident in myself that I would never go down Tracy and Evie’s path.
Best bit: No bra, no panties. Scarily lol.
8. The Breakfast Club
Everyone knows this one! I would have to say this is probably the epitome of classic teen movies. 5 teenagers, Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), Andrew Clarke (Emilio Estevez), John Bender (Judd Nelson), Brian Ralph Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) and Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), from different walks of life/cliques, find themselves in detention on a Saturday. They have a bit of fun and ultimately discover more about each other and face some confronting truths along the way.
Why I love this movie: Aside from it being a classic, I love how each of the characters are so different, yet they set aside their differences in the end and ultimately become ‘The Breakfast Club’ lol. I would say that this movie gave viewers an insight into the teenage world in the 1980’s and some of the issues shown are still relevant today. It was a good movie which introduced me to the ‘high school social hierarchy’, which I bet still exists in most schools around the world today.
Best Bit: Allisons metamorphosis – I’m a sucker for Cinderella moments!
7. Looking For Alibrandi
Got to have an Aussie teen movie somewhere in here! Josie Alibrandi (Pia Miranda) is just a typical teenage aussie girl… except that she has to deal with her Italian heritage, her family relationships, especially with her estranged father, as well as private school snobs, and a complicated love life.
Why I love this movie: Because it’s Australian. This movie is more about self-discovery and sense of place, rather than getting revenge or trivial high school stuff. The ethnic element which is thrown into the mix is also very clever, and for me, very relatable. Most of the school scenes are very realistic, and it touches on darker themes which haven’t really been shown in Australian teen films before. I hope this becomes an Australian classic because Pia Miranda plays her role so well, and the whole premise of the movie is ground-breaking for it’s time.
Best Bit: Carly getting smashed in the face with a math science book.
6. She’s All That
Popular girl Taylor (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) dumps popular boyfriend Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr) for an ex reality TV star which leaves him humiliated. He then tells his mates that any girl can replace her and they challenge him to turn Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook, a dorky, unpopular art student into Prom Queen.
Why I love this movie: It’s sorta like Cinderella isn’t it? Except Zack is the bad guy. Every girl loves the underdog makeover because secretly we all want a makeover. Am I right? And Freddie Prinze Jr OMG Swooooooon! Sarah Michelle Gellar is one lucky bitch! Ok seriously, this movie gave me hope. Hope that any unpopular girl could become popular. And not become a bitch. Oh! And never to make bets with people, because the truth ALWAYS comes out.
Best Bit: Laney’s transformation. Duh!
5. Cruel Intentions
Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Philippe) are two, wealthy, step-siblings who enjoy nothing more than playing games with people’s lives. Sebastian lusts after Kathryn, but she plays hard to get and so they make a bet that if Sebastian can seduce ‘goodie two shoes’ Annette Hargrove (Reece Witherspoon) before school starts, he’ll get Kathryn, but if he loses, Kathryn gets his vintage car.
Why I love this movie: It was a glimpse into the life of privileged teenagers, with nothing better to do than play with people’s lives for their own amusement. As glamorous as their lives were, they still were ‘unhappy’, which made me realise that money can’t buy you everything, and that prestige can lead to bad decisions. It also showed me that payback is a real bitch!
Best Bit: The kissing lesson. Because a girl has to learn how to French kiss… right?
4. Pretty In Pink
Andie (Molly Ringwald) comes from the other side of the tracks. She’s not a rebel or anything, but she isn’t exactly popular at her high school either. She only has two friends, Iona and Duckie (Jon Cryer) who has a major crush on her, who she spends most of her time with. Until one day, she catches the eye of popular, rich boy Blane (Andrew McCarthy). Her love life becomes more complicated and she ultimately has to choose between Duckie and Blane.
Why I love this movie: Because it shows that opposites can attract. I felt that Andie was a proper teenager, who comes with mood swings, a short temper and self-respect.
Best Bit: Hands down, Duckie’s dance.
3. 10 Things I Hate About You
A rehash on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Cameron James (Joseph Gordon Levitt) has eyes for Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik), but she’s not allowed to date until her sister Katarina Stratford (Julia Styles) does. This wouldn’t be such a problem, except that Katarina is a bitch. So, Cameron enlists the help of the resident bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to date her so he can get closer to Bianca.
Why I love this movie: This movie made me fall in love with Heath Ledger. Plus, he’s an Aussie, and I’m all about supporting anyone who hails from the land down under. I love the fact that it shows that people aren’t always who they seem and that the good guy can get the girl! I also like that this movie is actually quite witty, and they use a lot of big words, which only increased my vocabulary during high school.
Best Bit: Bianca at the ball, defending Cameron. It’s hilarious!
2. Mean Girls
Bet you thought that this would be my number 1 huh? NO! So Mean Girls… do I really need to give you a run down on this movie? This is easily one of the most famous teen movies of the 2000’s. Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), who has been home schooled most her life, attends public school for the first time since returning to America from African with her parents. She befriends The Plastic’s, Regina George (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) the most popular girls in school. But once she realises their true colours, she decides to get revenge.
Why I love this movie: This movie was absolutely mind blowing when I saw it. My friends and I thought it was just brilliant! I liked that it showed that you can get the guy if you’re being yourself, and that plastic can break. It gives people an insight into ‘Girl World’, is just drama packed and complicated. But I think the thing which made it one of the best teen movies was that it was completely relatable. All of us at some point have wanted to be ‘Queen Bee’. All of us have wanted to get the popular hot guy, and all of us have wanted to completely destroy the popular people because they’ve been… well, mean girls. Of course, most of the things they did were so unrealistic, but they are the things that we imagine we would do if we could do it… and get away with it.
Best Bit: I would have to say that there isn’t any one particular scene which stands out the most; it’s more so the catch phrases. And there are sooooo many! I guess that’s why this is such a great movie.
Yes, yes, yes! This is my number 1 favourite teen movie! Clueless was a surprise box office hit, and when I was growing up, there were so many references to this movie which I used in everyday life. Sayings like ‘hello?’ and ‘whatever’ were pretty much fixtures in my vocabulary before Mean Girls came out. Clueless is actually a rehash of Jane Austen’s book, Emma. Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is a wealthy, popular and stunning teenage girl, who finds herself playing matchmaker amongst her teachers and friends. But when one of her friends falls for her ex -step brother Josh (Paul Rudd), things become a little more complicated when she realises that she has feelings for him too.
Why I love this movie: This was the first teen movie I had ever seen! I mean, it just blew me away. I loved the fashion, the characters and the storyline. Cher was like a real-life barbie – I wanted her wardrobe sooooo bad! I also loved Cher’s naiveté, despite her putting on a big act. Just goes to show that everyone – even popular girls – have their own problems. I think that this movie created a new breed of teenagers, and introduced prep school chic to the world.
Best Bit: Aside from Tai’s transformation, I think it would have to be Cher’s wardrobe scene *drools*
So, there you go! My top 10 Teen Movies! I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! I would love to hear your suggestions for any movies too, so be sure to mention them below!
Until next time.