What are the most iconic teen movies ever?
Teen movies have certainly evolved over the years, but the reason why people love them is they provide variations on common formulas. Teens enjoy these movies, but everyone loves to reminisce on the days in which they came of age, the bizarre world of high school, and the ecstasy of our first loves.
There are tons of movies where teens come of age, and everyone has their favorites. Age comes into play, of course, as we often relate most to the movies in which the teens grow up in similar times as we did. However, the real winners are the teen movies that any generation can enjoy, and these are the titles that last the test of time. We’ve gathered a list of our favorite movies to get in touch with our inner teens.
Can’t Hardly Wait
Unrequited love is perhaps the cornerstone of teen angst. For many of us, part of the experience of growing up is learning life ain’t easy, and we often find this out when we can’t get the person holding our hearts from afar.
1998’s Can’t Hardly Wait follows the story of our hero Preston Meyers, who plans to finally spill his guts to his teen queen crush Amanda Beckett at the graduation house party to end all graduation house parties. What follows is an unmitigated blast filled with laughs & tears only the end of high school can bring.
Millennials know the movie is an absolute time capsule with an incredible 90s soundtrack to boot, but new fans will discover this is simply the cherry on top of a timeless story of growth & faith.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
2018’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before proved they still can make them like they used to. When buzz for the new film went viral leading up to its release, fans didn’t know just what to expect. However, no one thought the film would live up to the hype. They were wrong.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before gives the next generation a take on a tired teen movie trope ala Can’t Buy Me Love & She’s All That, and manages to un-white wash the story and equip it with genuine style, warmth, and real humor. We’re not surprised the film got a sequel, but we say fans didn’t really need one.
2004’s Mean Girls reinvented the teen movie. Sure, the picture draws from 1988’s Heathers, unearthing the dark side of growing up as a teen girl in the U.S.
However, the movie is more smoothed out and captures something sincere & sweet, as its edgy humor delivers some serious laughs. Furthermore, the reaction to the film secured its place in teen movie history.
Mean Girls captures the type of movie magic fans can’t quite put their finger on. However, the film has all the hallmarks of a lasting iconic movie – the lines get stuck in our heads in daily life for years to come, and the movie is somehow endlessly rewatchable. Mean Girls is the antithesis of “fetch” – more than a fad, simply evergreen.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High may be the most iconic teen movie of all time, and damn it, it’s for good reason. The film is almost too 80s for its own good, but unlike so many films of the time period, the movie somehow doesn’t feel dated.
Yes, the film is a time capsule, but most movies from the early 80s don’t resonate with teens of later generations – there is usually some sort of disconnect in humor or attention. However, Fast Times is laugh-out-loud funny, has an epic soundtrack, and is somehow edgier than most contemporary stories for teens out there now (Euphoria notwithstanding).
The movie transcends its reputation, and became a jumping-off point for so many of today’s stars, from Nic Cage to Sean Penn to Forest Whitaker. There’s nothing like Fast Times, and there won’t likely be another movie like it for years to come.
What’s your desert island teen movie? Sound off in the comments below!