Autumn is a good time to devour movies. Sometimes on cloudy days all we want is to hide under a warm blanket and catch up on new movies or catch up on previously unseen classics. It’s also the perfect time to binge-watch series. Recently, the long-awaited third season of “Sex Education” appeared on Netflix. To mark the occasion, we’ve prepared a list of the top ten teen movies for you. We truly believe that it’s impossible to grow up without knowing the following titles.
Best Teen Movies – Top 10
“Mean Girls” (2004), dir. Mark Waters
Probably the most deserved spot on this list. Since its release, Waters’ film has become the most iconic teen comedy and has been called a pop culture phenomenon by Forbes magazine. The upcoming October 3 is officially Mean Girls Day on social media, and President Barack Obama quoted an excerpt from the film on camera. The film’s success was so great that a Broadway musical based on it was created.
The protagonist of “Mean Girls” is Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), who moves to America with her parents from a small African country. She starts high school, which turns out to be a truly wild environment. Cady makes friends with a group of the most popular girls in school. Their friendship is put to the test when the new student takes a liking to Aaron (Jonathan Bennett), the ex-boyfriend of the school’s hive-minded “queen bee”, Regina George (Rachel McAdams).
“American Pie” (1999), directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz
You can like the Weitz brothers’ comedy or you can hate it, but it’s impossible to pass it by indifferently. In the film, a group of high school virgin boys make a pact to lose their chastity before they even start college.
“American Pie” is the quintessential teen movie and the 1990s itself. Most of the actors featured here became teen idols, and some even went on to have dizzying careers. Shannon Elizabeth became a sex symbol after her role as an exchange student, and no one can imagine the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” without Alyson Hannigan. Thanks to Seann William Scott, the iconic hunk Steve Stifler was born, and Casey Affleck, today’s Oscar winner, got his acting training here. With a cameo appearance by the band Blink-182, “American Pie” inspired an army of other vulgar sex comedies, for which younger viewers are sure to be forever grateful to the filmmakers.
The best movies for teenagers – what to watch
“Ghost World” (2001), dir. Terry Zwigoff
Less peppy than “American Pie” turns out to be Terry Zwigoff’s “Ghost World,” but it’s undoubtedly better cinema that will also appeal to a more mature audience. The film stars Thora Birch as high school student Enid Coleslaw, who has no idea about herself and, to top it all off, has to repeat one of her failed subjects during the summer vacation. She’s blasé and spends her free time – which she has in abundance – wandering the streets of a deserted town. She is accompanied by her friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), who is a bit more open-minded. Enid’s life changes beyond recognition when she meets Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a quirky outsider who collects unique vinyl records.
“Ghost World” is life itself. Enid learns the bitter side of entering adulthood and quickly finds that she and Seymour have more in common than she would like. The film portrays teenage rebellion and angst through a tragicomic prism, and Birch creates the best performance of her career here. A review for Entertainment Weekly magazine found “Ghost World” to be the perfect entry for anyone who “feels trapped in their life but is crazy about it anyway.” After all, we only get one life.
“Ghost World” is a screen adaptation of the cult comic book by Daniel Clowes. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
“Booksmart” (2019), directed by Olivia Wilde
Underneath the rather trite title is a film that is an insightful observation of teenage life. Two model schoolgirls (Beanie Feldstein, and Kaitlyn Dever) realize they’ve wasted the last few years by dabbling too much and having too little fun. When it turns out that even the school’s misfits got into prestigious colleges, the girls decide to fix their “mistakes.” They want to make up for their partying in one crazy night.
“School of Mélange” is a giddy and comical film that is a fresh take on coming-of-age cinema and the buddy comedy subgenre. Stylized a bit like “Sweet Worries” and partly like “Supersam”, the picture benefits a lot from the genuine chemistry the lead actresses have developed with each other. In fact, all of the actors have a great time in their roles – the cast is powered by Lisa Kudrow, Jason Sudeikis and Maya Rudolph, among others – and Billie Lourd steals every scene she appears in the film. Her drug-crazed Gigi is one of the funniest characters you’ll ever see on screen.
“10 Things I Hate About You” (1999), dir. Gil Junger
The year 1999 brought audiences a number of teen comedies – in addition to “American Pie,” there were “All of Her,” “Cheerleader,” “This Is Me Turning,” and “This First Time,” among others. A (very) loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” – with a similar title, “The Mischief Girl in Love” – was also a big success. Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Julia Stiles created their breakout roles in the film.
The protagonists are two sisters, one of whom is too young to date – at least according to her father. It’s not until Katarina (Stiles) finds a boyfriend that the younger Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) is able to follow in her footsteps. In love with Bianca, Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) is ready to do anything to make the capricious girl fall into the arms of a handsome man. He falls for a schoolboy gag (Ledger).
Best films for young people
“After” (2019), dir. by Jenny Gage
An adaptation of the book by Anna Todd. In the film, a young girl completely loses her head for a handsome boy with some dark secret. The couple’s relationship turns out to be extremely bumpy, and Tessa is introduced to a world of passion she’s never experienced before.
Although some critics handled “After” quite harshly and reproached the filmmakers for ennobling or even glorifying relationship violence, fans loved Tessa (Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). So much so that “After 1” was followed by two more sequels (“After 2,” “After. Save Me”), and another – “After Ever Happy” – is waiting for its premiere.
“The Craft” (1996), dir. Andrew Fleming
Teen movies often begin with a move: a new student is brought to a small town and – the story continues. In “The Craft,” that character is Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney), a troubled girl looking to find her place among her peers. She befriends three outsiders who are regarded as weird by their peers. In their free time, the trio dabbles in the occult and black magic.
“The Craft” is a postmodern film, interweaves teen cinema, paranormal horror, dark fantasy and a pinch of drama. This year it celebrates its twenty-fifth birthday and one has to admit that it has aged exceptionally well – both in terms of special effects, acting and overall tone. The film has a feminist subtext, which was developed in the sequel – “The Craft: Legacy”.
“Not Another Teen Movie” (2001), directed by Joel Gallen
What films like “The Whole Her” or “Mischief in Love” treated with a certain seriousness, Gallen’s picture brutally parodies. “Not Another Teen Movie” is the type of film parody that simply doesn’t get made anymore – biting, vulgar, politically incorrect, but undoubtedly funny. Twenty years after its premiere, “Not Another Teen Movie” still makes you laugh out loud.
Thanks to this production, Chris Evans became one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood, and Jaime Pressly got the role of the amazing Joy Turner in the sitcom “My Name is Earl”. The film has stood the test of time, unlike many similar parodies (such as InAPPropriate Comedy and Extreme Movie). It’s a wild, dynamic, exaggerated piece of work, but in the best sense of the word. It parodied, among others, “The Guilty Club,” “Crazy Party” and “School of Seduction,” with cameo roles from Molly Ringwald, Melissa Joan Hart, the band Good Charlotte and Mr. T.
Best Teen Movies – Golden Ten
“Love, Simon” (2018), directed by Greg Berlanti
Speaking of Ringwald and “The Guilty Club,” the movie “Your Simon,” which came out three years ago, was a successful attempt to reincarnate John Hughes-style teen comedies. Its protagonist, the titular Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), exchanges messages with an anonymous boy who may be his other half. However, they both hide their orientation in the school environment for fear of intolerance – it turns out, for good reason.
“Love, Simon” is a classic feel-good movie: it’s warm, positive, encouraging and confident. The main character’s homosexuality is portrayed as the most natural thing under the sun, and the romantic plot is handled with class, bringing an intriguing finale. It’s a film shot with heart and its strength is its diverse cast. It was nominated for four Teen Choice Awards and managed to win three of them – including Best Comedy of the Year.
“Lady Bird” (2017), directed by Greta Gerwig
The “Lady Bird” of the title is Christine – a rebellious teenager who often quarrels with her mother, although she loves her to the bone. The girl tries to leave her Catholic school, go far away and cut herself off from her family. She discovers herself and the charms of life on the threshold of adulthood.
An astute, emotionally resonant film about the glories and shadows of growing up. Actress Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut was considered her best in years and set her on a path to a future career behind the camera. “Lady Bird” was nominated for five Academy Awards and three BAFTAs. It also won Golden Globes for Best Comedy Film and Best Performance by a Lead Actor for Saoirse Ronan.