Teen movies can be so predictable, on so many levels. It is the rare movie that features teenagers and their struggles that goes beyond sex and partying to present characters as fully drawn as any adult drama or comedy.
We present 13 teen movies that break stereotypes, cross over into the realm of great movies and are not merely great teen movies.
Sure, these movies can have teens partying, hooking up and generally looking for a good time. But, the characters in these 13 films also go deeper and are searching for much more than immediate self satisfaction.
Click through these 13 teen movies that break the mold and we wouldn't be surprised if by the end, you think to yourself, "I'd better go and watch Breakfast Club online!"
1. Say Anything
Besides having one of the most iconic musical scenes of all time (thank you, Peter Gabriel), Say Anything is a teen romance that treats its leads like mature individuals. And... it has John Cusack at his best.
Reese Witherspoon truly announced herself to the world in Election opposite Matthew Broderick. It stands out because it's from the brilliant mind of Alexander Payne (who went on to make Sideways and The Descendants).
3. Dazed and Confused
Sure, Dazed and Confused was in many ways a party movie about the last day of school in 1976. But, it truly captured so much more about life's journey.
Heathers took the teen movie stereotype and basically added a bad boy who was truly lethal to the mix. With Christian Slater and Winona Ryder falling in love with explosive results, it couldn't lose.
5. Easy A
Easy A gave us the joy that is Emma Stone. That, and a sardonic wit about the perils of being a teenager in modern America.
6. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
You may sense a theme here, great directors getting their start making teen movies. Cameron Crowe wrote Fast Times at Ridgemont High and that could explain why it's so smart, savvy... and absolutely entertaining.
Few films have tackled teenage pregnancy as perfectly as Juno. There are laughs, tears, joy and love... like life itself.
Clueless is anything but, and few teen movies have had a title so innocently ironic. Alicia Silverstone is Cher and even to this day, she is one of the best teen movie characters ever.
9. Mean Girls
Mean Girls was way ahead of its time. Not only did it give us a breakout star in Rachel McAdams, it came from the wickedly smart mind of Tina Fey.
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is another example of how the teen movie genre can be powerful if it gives its characters something real to feel. In fact, few movies give their characters the emotional power of this film.
11. 10 Things I Hate About You
10 Things I Hate About You broke stereotypes left and right with its portrayal of high schoolers and their emotional rollercoasters. Perhaps because it was based on Shakespeare it could avoid teen movie potholes?!
12. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
John Hughes was a master at capturing the reality of being a teen, without ever talking down to his audience. Ferris Bueller Day's Off was good fun, but it also delved deeper into what it means to be a teen.