It’s time to revisit a few old favorites.
When I grew up in my house, television was the glue that held the family together. From an Aladdin session on Sunday night to a late-night Lethal Weapon watch with mom, movies were an omniscient, always exciting portrayal of a big bad world that I would probably never attend.
But no movie has ever been more impactful than the teen movie. That feeling of being alone for two hours on a Saturday afternoon and the VCR remote was yours, oh boy, there wasn’t anything else on the damn planet that meant more.
I was blessed to have grown up in the late 90s when teen movies hit their all-out cheesy climax with butterfly clips. From you, to cruel intentions … 10 things I hate about you, to American pie, there have been dozens of cool US high schoolers out there having their best lives.
And while every iconic memory shaper would have an absolute stinker from someone else (Drive Me Crazy, I’m looking at you right now), you’d devour every single one of them without a discerning thought – usually after telling dad in Civic Video that they’d ” just die “if you couldn’t see it … which means a lot of high-quality films have passed by unnoticed.
So turn on the Netflix / Amazon / iTunes / DVD player and give your adult a touch of nostalgia.
In a kind of binge-watching mood? Find out the real story behind the most scandalous episode of ‘The Crown’ or the message in these sexy scenes from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Why You Loved It Back then: Every single high school stereotype was present in this movie. The princess, the Scot, the bad boy, the madman, the nerd … no matter how awkward you felt invisible, you were right up there on the screen.
Why You’re Going to Love It Now: Aside from problematic topics (including the still nerve-wracking appeal of Bender – a giant asshole), The Breakfast Club is a reminder of how awful high school really was. No romanticization can hide the memories of feeling left out, under pressure, and constantly worrying about what others think of you. Just look how far you’ve come.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Why you loved it back then: Ferris wags the school – and despite all his sister’s best efforts, gets away with it completely. Also the (not yet infected) Charlie Sheen cameo.
Why are you going to love it now: Where do I start ?! The soundtrack, the outfits, the crazy cuteness of Ferris and the insane scared moments of Cameron. This movie may seem like a slow burn, but looking back as an adult offers a slew of unprecedented moments – and at times … you may even feel inexplicably rooted in Mr Rooney.
Why You Loved It Back then: Cher lives a Hollywood life beyond your wildest teenage dreams – Beverly Hills mansions, brand new cars, unlimited shopping … plus the outfits. All the wonderful outfits!
Why you’re going to love it now: nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia. The cranberries, the fluffy pencils, the mini skirts, the hair accessories, Breckin Meyer. You will be catapulted deep into the vaults of your Smash Hits-loving youthful mind as you remember how the body glitter gel and hair clips you bought from Sportsgirl were your way of reinterpreting (and honestly) the trends Cher started said not at all)).
Mean Girls (2004)
Why you loved it back then: It’s funny.
Why you’ll love it now: It’s still fun. The script, written by Tina Fey, is sharp as hell and adds another layer to the typical “simple girl meets cute boy, has glo-up and gets cool”. Mean Girls was one of the first films to teach us that you never have to change who you are … and Karma is a slut.
Why You Loved It Back then: Review rewind views of Seth being nudged by this car.
Why you’ll love it now: Superbad is at the heart of absolutely everything and is about friendship. Evan and Seth have the same relationship that got you and your best friend through high school. Your perfect jokes, little fights, and emotional confessions are life. Oh, and McLovin – that one weird buddy who was just … there.
Easy A (2010)
Why You Loved It Back then: Your first real introduction to Crazy Stupid Love in Emma Stone, the future crush for girls.
Why You’re Going to Love It Now: Aside from Olive’s wonderfully hilarious sarcasm (and possibly the best TV parents of all time in Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson), this movie is one of the first teen movies to actually be sex positive. After Olive pretends to have lost her virginity, the well-worn insults of “girl is a slut” (of course her male colleagues are heroes) begin before somehow turning into a fond reminder that there is no shame in your sexuality own – and your virginity is none of your business but you.