Top 10 teen flicks

Updated on 11 May, 2012 at 10:28 am


The teenage is considered as the most drama filled part of your aliveness. During this golden period of your life, you watch movies which cater specifically to your character and dreams. Amid the stack of flicks, some are absolute flops but some are charming enough to send a chill down your spine. Topyaps asks you to watch out these movies as a remembrance of what happened during those years.

10. Can’t Hardly Wait:

This movie is a multicharacter teenage comedy starring Jennifer Love Hewitt as Amanda Beckett, Ethan Embry as Preston Meyers, Charlie Korsmo as William Lichter, Lauren Ambrose as Denise Fleming, Peter Facinelli as Mike Dexter and Seth Green as Kenny Fisher. Written and directed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, Can’t Hardly Wait was a hit at the time of its release even though it has got mixed reviews, and panned on several occasions by critics stating that it fails short of the essential elements which made up the teen flicks of the 80s. It might have its shortcomings but I am going to suggest it nonetheless because I grew up on it and I had a blast while watching it back then.
Can’t Hardly Wait narrates the events of the night of the high school graduation where the seniors from different social cliques come together to let down their hair, kick up their heels and party. Some of them have a hidden agenda; for instance a boy who’s been in love with this girl wants to win her heart that night because she’s recently broken up with her boyfriend and he sees this as a perfect opportunity to swoop in and tell her how he feels about her, and then there is a geeky nutbag who wants nothing more than to take revenge on his lifelong bully in school and since high school is over he doesn’t have to worry about the consequences anymore. But all said and done, this is a typical teenage flick where there’s an abundant amount of alcohol, promiscuity and chicks clad in bare minimum which makes for an awesome graduation party. But what truly makes this movie different from the usual teen flicks and stand out is the fact that every character is very well etched out and substantial.
9. Crazy/Beautiful:
Starring Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez is a likeable movie about teenage love between two 17 year olds from different social and economic backgrounds. Nicole is the typical angry youngster who comes from an affluent family with a US senator for a father whereas Carlos is a poor inner city grade A student who travels two hours one-way to get to the prestigious Pacific Palisades High where they both go. The story again is clichéd, but the dialogues especially between the/by the lead actors seems improvisational and the romance between the two highly convincing. Dunst as the screwed up, self-destructive rebel and Hernandez as the controlled, focussed student are perfect in their casting. This is a film which is not aiming at greatness or claiming to be preachy. It is a simple film about complicated people falling in love and being happy together by the end of it. It is directed by John Stockwell and written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi and the music provided by an assortment of renowned bands including the Dandy Warhols and David Grey among others.
8. Teenage Dirtbag:
A  low-budget independent film both written and directed by Regina Crosby is a tragic unrequited love story about a delinquent junkie trouble-maker played by Scott Michael Foster and Noa Hegesh as the beautiful, popular high school girl. Thayer Mangeris (Foster) has a bad reputation and rage issues and is initially shown to harass Amber Lane (Hegesh) until they are put together in the same creative writing class where they get to know each other and Amber becomes enamoured by Thayer’s beautiful writing. They strike an unlikely friendship and Amber possibly becomes the only person who truly gets an insight of the traumatic childhood Thayer has had and the kind of abuse he has been exposed to at the hands of his father. Amber realises that the teasing and harassment which she has been subjected to at the hands of Thayer was a way of getting her attention because he liked her. Amber and Thayer never get to profess their love for each other and the entire story is told from Amber’s perspective a long time after high school has ended and she is pregnant with someone else’s child, right after she is informed of Thayer’s death. Even though the storyline might come off as being a little clichéd, the characters are definitely not. Thayer is not the typical buff bad boy with tattoos on his body which is a common characteristic of a kid with a broken home. Amber is a rich popular kid but grounded and sympathetic. Moreover, the characters are extremely real and have a very earthen quality to them. Also the soundtrack of this teenage drama was quite surprising; it complemented the film very well. Even though the supporting characters weren’t developed properly, the lead actors more than made up for it. Despite its many flaws, Teenage Dirtbag is one of those rare, unheard-of gems and totally worth the watch.

7. American Pie:
In this coming of age comedy, a group of friends/typical losers make a pact to lose their virginity before the end of senior year, that is, by the prom night. And in their rush to get laid, they are willing to go to any length, not surprisingly with hilarious outcomes. Directors Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz with writer Adam Herz have managed to pull off two hours worth of a good laugh. The film is unashamedly honest and unapologetic about its heavy sexual content. The clumsiness and unsynchronised body movements of most of the first-timers around women especially Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) is oddly endearing and gets the audience to empathise with the characters even though they might be complete douches at times. Jim’s father (Eugene Levy), unlike most passive parents in teen flicks, is always providing his son with unsolicited sexual advice and is a great source of comic relief. The moments created where things go horribly wrong are the times when you feel like helping Jim cover up but at the same time can’t help laughing at his misfortune. All in all, American Pie is a movie worth the watch.
Disclaimer: It is advisable to watch it with friends; it might get a little awkward/ uncomfortable with parents/relatives.

6. 10 Things I Hate About You:

Written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kristen Smith and directed by Gil Junger is loosely based on the Shakespearean play The Taming of the Shrew. Set in a modern high school, it stars Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona and Julia Stiles as Kat Stratford in the lead roles. The film starts with off with Cameron, a new student at Padua High, wanting to take out the beautiful sophomore Bianca Stratford for a date. But there’s a problem- Bianca is not allowed to date. And neither is her “shrew” sister, Kat- a headstrong senior at the same school who loves indie rock, feminist prose and is intolerant towards conformity. But when Bianca complains regarding the dating rule, her control-freak doctor dad modifies it stating that Bianca can only date if her sister decides to as well, knowing fully well that Kat doesn’t date. Cameron, desperate, strikes a deal with Patrick, a badass, where he pays him to tame the “shrew” and get Kat to go out with him so that he can take out Bianca. Things get a little complicated when Patrick begins to fall for Kat but eventually, as is typical of every comedy, things work out for everyone and they all live happily ever after. There is an assortment of other characters, a common feature of all Shakespearean plays. Julia Stiles is superb as Kat and Heath Ledger is pretty awesome himself. It is clever movie, with well-written lines. It’s a must watch for all teen flicks junkies.

5. Mean Girls:

Starring Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron, and Rachel McAdams as Regina George, Lacey Chabert as Gretchen Weiners and Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith formed the core of the movie. Regina, Gretchen and Karen were The Plastics, the highest order of the social clique. Cady, who was raised in the jungles of Africa and home-schooled by her parents till the age of 16, thought she knew it all before she came to high school only to be confronted with a completely different social jungle altogether. She makes friends with social outcasts, Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese), who have been ruthlessly tortured by The Plastics for being different. Janis and Damien convince Cady to infiltrate the trio of The Plastics and destroy it from within. As Cady gets more and more involved with the trio, she gradually becomes like them, using their mischievous often deceitful ways of getting things done. Her grades start to suffer even though she is an ace-student as she knowingly fails her tests so that Aaron (Jonathan Bennett), Regina’s ex-boyfriend would tutor her after school. In the meantime, Cady has been doing her best to take out Regina and fill her spot as the leader of the clique with herself. But Regina is not ready to give up her position without a mean fight. Regina circulates the contents of her ‘Burn Book’, which she along with the other Plastics maintained, around the school leading the female students into a bitchy cat fight. The fight is eventually quelled by the principal and the girls led to the gym area where everyone is made to confess and apologise to the rest of the girls. In the process, Regina finds out about Janis’ plan and leaves in anger. Cady follows her to apologise for her behaviour but in her haste to get away from her, Regina is hit by a bus. Rumour spreads that Cady pushed her in front of the bus on purpose and she is isolated by everyone in the school. Cady finally apologises to the entire school in the Spring Fling Dance where she is elected the queen and distributes her tiara among the girls of her class. The film ends on a positive note with the beginning of a senior year and The Plastics disbanding to do different things.

Loosely based on the non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, director Mark Waters along with screenplay writer Tina Fey have done a great job of portraying a miniature version of the American society with special reference to the girl world which is wrought with endless and often bitter competition and constant rivalry. Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams have done justice to their characters and the rest of the cast fit the bill perfectly.

4. Easy A:

This is one of the better teenage/high school films in a long, long time, especially one with the story revolving around a female protagonist. It is quirky, witty, inventive, charming and all in all an extremely well made film by Will Gluck, and written by Bert V. Royal. Easy A tells the story of Olive Penderghast, portrayed by the rising star Emma Stone, an intelligent and conscientious student who goes unnoticed for the most of her life in school until the rumour mills start churning (fuelled by a devout Christian, an extremely active member in the school co-curricula, and highly annoying Marianne played by Amanda Bynes) about her infamous loss of virginity to a grad student, a rumour which she inadvertently helped in spreading, and overnight she becomes the talk of the school and the most popular girl of her class. Apprehensive and overwhelmed by her newfound popularity at first, soon she realises that highs of it and without giving much thought to the lows of being in the scrutiny of her peers, she uses the grapevine to advance her social and financial standing. Olive is bent on setting the record straight right after the first rumour, but is emotionally blackmailed into ‘helping’ a friend by using her ‘reputation’ and soon it snowballs into something completely out of her control. ‘Losers’, in order to up their social standing, use her reputation in return for cash or kind. But as Olive’s ‘sexual exploits’ get out of hand, she is shunned by everyone including her loud-mouthed best friend, Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) and her favourite teacher (English literature) Mr. Griffith (Thomas Haden Church). At the time that all this drama happens in her life, Olive is reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter and associates herself with the protagonist, who like her, is also ostracized by the society. Even though Olive is not the person she is made out to be, she embraces her ‘sexuality’ and dresses up as a provocateur with a letter ‘A’ in red attached to all her garments. She tries to be the rebel and scorn the system but realises that she has hurt a lot of people in the process, and as much as she wants she cannot go on living in an isolated island. Her only support throughout this are her parents (Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci) who believe in her to set things right. Watch the film to find out how exactly she makes an epic apology.

Emma Stone is at her best in this film with her dry humour and her natural, spontaneous performance along with a strong supporting cast. Anytime a particular scene gets too emotional or soppy, it is as quickly nullified by the delivery of a clever one-liner. It also pays homage to several cult films of the 80s such as Heathers, Sixteen Candles and Say Anything.

3. Juno:

Written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman, Juno is a low-budget independent film with a refreshing take on teenage pregnancies. Ellen Page as Juno and Michael Cera as Paulie Bleeker are wonderful as a young, naive couple in love who also happen to be having a child together. They are nothing like the stereotypical high school sweethearts, and at the end of the movie Juno professes her love for Paulie with the line, “You’re the cheese to my macaroni.” It is a very unusual but heart-rending story of self-realisation and finding love.

Juno and Paulie were best friends and Paulie was always in love with the headstrong Juno who never paid any heed to his affections. A night of passion, strangely initiated by Juno, changed the dynamics between the two and for a while they had a falling out. During this time, Juno found out about her pregnancy and decided to get an abortion. But after the anti-choice protesters outside the abortion clinic told her that even a few weeks old baby has fingernails, the seed of guilt was planted within her and she decided to go through with the pregnancy and give up the baby to a caring family/adoptive couple. She finds Vanessa and Mark Loring (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman respectively) in the PennySavers column and contacts them before telling her father (J.K. Simmons) and step-mother (Allison Janney) about her ‘condition.’ Her parents are supportive and Juno continues with school with a devil-may-care, tough attitude much like her namesake the goddess Juno, regardless of what her peers might be saying behind her back.

Juno is a sensitive film spread over four seasons, starting in autumn, about a teenager’s transition into womanhood without her even knowing of it. It starts off with Juno wanting nothing to do with the baby, wanting to get rid of it as soon as possible but over the period of her pregnancy she gets attached to her child and faces an inner dilemma when the time comes to hand her baby to Vanessa. Juno is a beautiful, feel-food movie about self-discovery, love and relationships with brilliant shots and a killer soundtrack.

2. Superbad:

Superbad  is a teen comedy written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed by Greg Mottola featuring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as the two co-dependent best friends trying their best to avoid the separation anxiety as high school is about to end. They also want to get some action before graduation. They’re the geeks who never get invited to any cool parties. They finally get the chance when Seth (Hill) is invited by Jules (Emma Stone) to a party at her place but on one condition- they have to get the booze. Superbad is the story, much like the prototype of The Hangover, about one evening where things go awry with the boys trying to use fake identification to get alcohol, getting caught by the cops, going to an adult party with grown-ups doing drugs to managing an escape, finally getting to the party and becoming a hero for successfully delivering the booze, hooking up with the girls of their dreams to coming to face the fact that Seth and Evan (Cera) will not be together anymore and dealing with the situation in a mature way with a declaration of their undying bro-love for each other. This movie is fast-paced and promises many laugh-out-loud moments to the audience. Hill is great as the quick-talking, seemingly sexist but eventually sweet jerk and Cera is perfect with his characteristic calm, composed exterior.


1. Rushmore:

Rushmore  is a cult favourite among cinephiles and film critics for its quirky humour and controlled but excellent performances by Jason Swartzmann and Bill Murray combined with director/auteur Wes Anderson’s distinct style. The dialogue delivery especially is very well executed and stands out for the deadpan tonal quality to it.

The film revolves around the life of Max Fischer, a precocious 15 year old whose sole purpose in life is to attend Rushmore, a private school. He was transferred from a public school on the basis of a scholarship he received in the second grade. His father is a barber and thus, cannot afford most of the luxuries his peers in the school are subject to. He does not complain even though he is ashamed of it; he lies to cover up for his ‘inadequacies’  and states at several points that his father is a neurosurgeon. He strives to involve himself in all the extra-curricular activities offered in the school which affects his studies gravely and is put on academic probation. His life takes a complete turn when he meets a young teacher at the Rushmore elementary school, Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) and falls in love with her. Simultaneously, he strikes an interesting friendship with Herman Blume, a successful industrialist and the father of two kids at Rushmore. Herman and Max also happen to be in love with the same person, Miss Cross who is still in love with her dead husband. As the story progresses, Max already on probation is expelled from school when he tries to build an aquarium in order to please Miss Cross on the school premises. He is sent away to a public school. After a brief spell of dejection, Max’s spirit resurfaces again with the help of his friend from his old school, Dirk and he goes on to write another fabulous play which is praised by all. He sorts out the love triangle and patches up with Miss Cross and Herman with whom he had a falling out earlier in the story, introduces his father finally to his friends and gets a girlfriend his own age.

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