Sunday, November 14, 2010

20 Movies To See Before You're 20

I've been thinking a lot lately about being a teenager. Not just because I write about teenagers, but also because my own time as a teen is coming to an end. Next August, I'll be twenty, and while that's still very young, it's also an end of an era. I loved being a teen. Like a lot.

And, as a lover of teendom, I also love teen movies. I like to consider myself a bit of a teen movie expert because, to be frank, I've seen a lot. Not them all - I still have a list of some older ones to catch up on - but I've seen and own several. And I love them. Some are great, some are terrible, but they are all kind of special to me.

So I made this list of 20 movies to see before you're 20. This is a list of 20 teen movies, new and old, that really define youth in some way. So if you need something to add to your Netflix, check out this list.



20. Not Another Teen Movie
Let's start off the list with a little reality check. This parody is a great way to celebrate the awesomeness and sometimes ridiculousness of teen movies. It's funny and raunchy, and so painfully true. Awesomely enough, it makes fun of several movies on this list!

19. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Bueller? Bueller? This classic 80s comedy is full of laughs. It's a celebration of teen freedom and anarchy and great to watch when you're skipping class.

18. John Tucker Must Die
While not the best in this genre by any means, this more recent teen comedy does something I love - it celebrates girl power. What's more entertaining than a group of girls standing up against the guy who has jilted them? Not much. Let the pranks begin!

17. The Breakfast Club
At least one John Hughs movie had to make this list, and if it wasn't The Breakfast Club, what would it be? Detention was never so fun. This movie is great for a Saturday morning.

16. American Pie
Remember back in the old days when teen movies were sweet and innocent? Yeah, that's over. This raunchy teen comedy paved the way for movies like Superbad. Great to watch with friends when you want to laugh like a maniac - but maybe wait until any little siblings have gone to bed. Definitely save this one until you're 17 or so.

15. Grease
Before the High School Musical franchise, there was Grease. Good girl, bad boy, and a lot of great music. Definitely a must see for any musical fans.

14. Jawbreaker
Best friends can sometimes be the best murderers. When three popular high schoolers accidentally kill their best friend, lies, hijinks, and scandal ensues. One of the best dark comedies for teens.

13. Superbad
One of the funniest teen comedies of our generation - two girl crazy best friends, a few parties, and a McLovin'. This is another one for the mature crowd because the dirty jokes never stop in this coming-of-age comedy.

12. Scream
This 90s flick brought back the teen-slasher genre in a new, fresh way. I'm not a big fan of slasher films myself, but even I can't resist this half-horror, half-parody movie. Don't get too attached to Drew Barrymore, kids. Just a warning.

11. 10 Things I Hate About You
Shakespeare gets a makeover in this 90s romantic comedy. Over 10 years later, 10 Things is still beloved, and has even spawned a popular TV series. This is definitely a movie every teenage girl should say - whether a princess or a shrew.

10. Thirteen
Not all teen movies are comedies, as is demonstrated by this dark, gritty film about the downward spiral of a 7th grader. Evan Rachel Wood gives a powerful performance as a teenager trying, too hard, to fit in.

9. Back To The Future
Not many movies have stood the test of time the way this Michael J. Fox sci-fi comedy has. If you don't know who Marty McFly is, you're missing out.

8. Clueless
Don't be fooled by the title, because this movie isn't clueless at all. What first appears to be a silly comedy instead proves to be an intelligent, hilarious retelling of Jane Austen's Emma. I will say that the movie is better if you've actually read Emma, but it can stand on it's own as well. So see this one - like, duh.

7. Donnie Darko
In the words of my mother, "It's the best movie with a six-foot-tall bunny rabbit I've ever seen." And if that sounds weird, you ain't seen nothing yet. This paranormal thriller takes trippy to a whole new level. A cult classic no one should miss.

6. Mean Girls
Mix Tina Fay's writerly genius and a high school setting full of backstabbing teenage girls, and you get one of the most quotable movies ever. Girls can be mean, and girls can get even. This is a movie you can watch over and over again.

5. Juno
Who knew teen pregnancy could be so funny? This Academy-award nominated teen comedy is quirky, smart, and fresh with a touch of a real, raw emotion.

4. Saved!
This is one of my all-time-favorite movies. This dark comedy both pokes fun at and celebrates religion. While some may find the humor a tad offensive, I think most people with an open mind will appreciate the good message about the dangers of judging others.

3. Charlie Bartlett
This isn't one of the most popular teen movies, but it really should be. Anyone who appreciates a good underdog story - or just likes staring at Robert Downy Jr - will love this movie.

2. Easy A
This movie is brand new, not even on DVD yet, but it's one of the best I've seen. With some great literary references, a wonderful message about female labeling and stereotypes, and some hilarious dialogue, this one will be a classic.

1. Cruel Intentions
Not only is this my favorite movie of ever, it's also one of the best dark comedies ever written. It's a modern retelling of the classic book Dangerous Liaisons, and it features some of the best, most twisted humor of the genre. Shows like Gossip Girl took their inspiration from this movie. If you can handle the twisted antics of Kathryn and Sebastian, this is sure to be on your favorites list as well.


There are also a few honorable mentions I should post here. First, Heathers, which is on my to-watch list, but I know had I already seen it, it would make the cut. Also, She's All That which is sort of a modern-day classic and Adventureland which only missed the cut because the main character is older than 19. So many great movies that didn't make the list, but if you need more recommendations, let me know!

25 comments:

Mairead. said...

Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. Technically it's a film about girls going back to college, but when they go back and meet class mates they just regress; it's actually hilarious and well worth a watch. Love the list. Have to check out Jawbreaker

Lale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lale said...

I loved Grease and Back to the Future when I was a young teen (my little sis made my friends and I perform the entirety of the grease soundtrack at her fourth birthday party!), and more recently I've obsessed over John Tucker Must Die and Easy A (which I saw with my mother!!). I misjudged things a *little* bit when I watched 10 things I hate about you with my ten year old sister and her friends, but being Turkish, they didn't seem to get most of it which was a relief. I still play the 'I love you Baby' clip once in a while :) Great list!

Elizabeth said...

The good news is, with the exception of Easy A, I've seen all of these movies. The bad news is, half of them weren't out before I turned twenty, which makes me feel OLD.

My all-time favorite watch-this-before-your'e-too-old-to-enjoy-it movie is and always will be WELCOME TO 18, about three friends who get jobs at a dude ranch and then play poker with cosmetics. I don't know why that last part stuck with me like it did, but for the longest time I looked forward to being eighteen because then I could play poker with cosmetics, too.

Yeah. It's that lame. But that's why I like it.

Mindi Scott said...

The whole time I was reading this I was thinking, But what about Heathers?, so I'm glad you addressed it at the end. :-)

Love this list! I've not yet seen #14, 10, or 7.

Alexa said...

I have seen about half the movies on this list but I did love all the ones I have seen. I did go see Easy A in theaters when it came out and I have to say it was probably one of the best movies I saw this year. I really connected with the main character because her attitude is exactly like my own. I am currently 20 though so I guess I'm already out of time!! :)

Jen Daiker said...

Even though I didn't seem them before I was 20 I agree with this list... Easy A came out this year and being 24 it's just not possible to go back in time.

A few I'd list...

Pretty in Pink
St. Elmo's Fire
Never been kissed
Say Anything
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Sixteen Candles

Becca C. said...

Ferris Bueller is one of my all-time favourites! And Charlie Bartlett, omg. Was totally unprepared for how much I would love it!

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Great list...I'd add all the ones Jen added too...but they are from my generation.

Glad to hear Easy A is so good. I loved the premise and Scarltett Letter, so I'm glad it lives up to all that(and beyond, it sounds like).

Finally, your should add an oldie Some Kind of Wonderful to your list if you haven't yet. It contains one of my all-time favorite movie lines: "I'd rather be alone for the right reasons than with someone for the wrong ones."

Erica said...

I've only seen 9 of those - I guess I better get working on the rest of those lol. I really need to see Easy A soon - it looks so great!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I've almost every movie on the list (still haven't seen Charlie Bartlett and Easy A). I saw the rest of them before I was 20, but I've run out of time for the other two. =(

Steph said...

omg, Saved is one of my all time fav's! Great list!

Bee said...

You got some of my faves up there!

Shame Adventureland's missing from the list. It's the best teen movie I've seen in a couple of years.

Claire Dawn said...

I loved John Tucker Must Die. lol.

Have to wait for the DVD for Easy A, but I'm really looking forward to it.

Gem said...

I demand you get a copy of Heathers and watch it asap! My favourite movie of all time - some all time classic one-liners.

Great list. I loved Easy A - Emma Stone is my new girl crush

Loretta Nyhan said...

I'm an 80s kid, so I'm glad to see John Hughes is well covered. His movies meant SO much.

This is a great list, but I'll add Rebel Without a Cause, the original angsty teen movie.

Anonymous said...

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lauralascarso said...

Love this list. A few more of my favs...Blue Crush, Freaky Friday, Center Stage (I'm a sucker for dance movies), Bring It On, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and a classic, Dazed and Confused.

Joanna said...

love x 20 <3

Donna Gambale said...

Great, great list --- and so many other notables in the comments!!!

rhed said...

I really love your post keep up the good work.

Theresa said...

Great list, but one you didn't mention that was my favorite as a teen Dazed and Confused. I also have yet to sit down and watch Heathers. I had a friend insist I see it and even gave me her DVD. That was three years ago and the DVD is still at my parents house, collecting dust. One of these days.

Cupcake said...

I love Mean Girls. :)

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