Posted by Rande Iaboni on April 28, 2013 at 5:13 pm
As I sit at home and ponder the upcoming films slated for release later this year, I am saddened by the complete lack of teen movies nowadays. You know the one’s I’m talking about, those ever popular but corny movies from the 90’s (I miss you so) starring 30 year old TV stars as 18 year old high schoolers. It was then that I decided to go through my DVD collection that has been forgotten since the days of Netflix and reminisce the days of the 90’s teen movie wave that I can only pray will one day make a comeback. Take a look below at the countless teen films in my collection and take a walk down 90’s memory lane….
Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Seth Green, Lauren Ambrose, Charlie Korsmo, and Peter Facinelli
Multicharacter teenage comedy about high school graduates with different agenda of life on graduation night.
The 90’s Breakfast Club is what I like to call this one. They take 6 different stereotypes and throw them in one room together (well, a house party filled with hundreds of other teens…) and in a matter of hours have a complete life transformation. The cast is top notch but most importantly these characters are real. They all start as campy caricatures but by the end will show you otherwise.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Starring Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
A new kid must find a guy to date the meanest girl in school, the older sister of the girl he has a crush on, who cannot date until her older sister does.
Who knew The Taming of the Shrew was so juicy with gossip? Okay so this is a “modern” re-telling of Shakespeare’s classic, but I have to be honest I enjoy this version much more. While many teen films of the 90’s suffered from embarrassing acting skills, this has some real heavy lifters involved. Stiles, Ledger, and Gordon-Levitt all bring their A-game and believability to their ever dynamic roles. And like many of its kind, this film has an unbelievable kick ass soundtrack.
Never Been Kissed (1999)
Starring Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan
A journalist enrolls in her old high schools as part of her research for a story.
This might be just because of my absolute adoration for all things Drew Barrymore, but I feel so nostalgic when thinking of this movie. Obviously I cannot relate to a 20-something reporter going back to high school undercover to infiltrate the popular kids, but it doesn’t mean the idea doesn’t sound enticing. And let’s be real, Mean Girls totally stole multiple plot points from this movie, whether that was unintentional or not.
Starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy
Plot: A parody of Jane Austen’s novel Emma, about Cher, a popular girl who spends her days playing matchmaker, helping friends with fashion choices, advising the new girl at school on a makeover, and looking for a boyfriend.
This might just be the best one of them all, and it came first! With the combination of Alicia Silverstone’s ingenious performance (despite never really having a career after this…) and a loveable supporting cast (hello Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd!), it also totally seemed to understand the teenage generation. Sure teenagers are superficial and most times only care about themselves, but when given the chance to help others they can make an astounding difference in the world. Plus, they’re great at making up new lingo…As if.
Drive Me Crazy (1999)
Starring Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier
Plot: A high school girl must find a substitute date to escort her to the prom.
Okay in all honesty, this film is probably the worst of the bunch. The acting is atrocious, Melissa Joan Hart would never be the most popular girl in school (and Adrian Grenier WOULD be the most popular guy in school), and the plot is so elementary it is better fitted for a middle school setting. But despite all of that I still adore this film to pieces. The music, the bitchy one-liners, and did I mention it stars Adrian Grenier? Yeah, it does.
Bring It On (2000)
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford
A champion high school cheerleading squad discovers its previous captain stole all their best routines from an inner-city school and must scramble to compete at this year’s championships.
Okay I know this technically isn’t a 90’s film, but all the same elements are there so it totally counts. A star making performance by Kirsten Dunst, a sexy supporting cast, and an incredibly witty screenplay, you almost forget this movie is about cheerleading. Don’t get my wrong, I have nothing against cheerleading, its just that it lessens the movie to say its all about cheerleading, because it’s got so much more than that.
Cruel Intentions (1999)
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon
Kathryn makes a bet that her step-brother, Sebastian, won’t be able to bed Annette (a virgin, who wants to wait until love). If he loses, Kathryn gets his Jaguar, if he wins, he gets Kathryn.
One of the more risqué movies of the bunch – I had to watch this one in secret so my parents wouldn’t catch me – while this may not have the most realistic portrayal of High School (it takes place during the summer mostly in NYC and the Hamptons with a bunch of prep school brats) it still captures the teen obsession with sex astonishingly. The sexual tension between step-siblings Philippe and Gellar is magnetic (and creepy…) and the intimacy shared between then real-life couple Phillippe and Witherspoon is just as addictive. Crass, sexy, and funny, this is one that is often overlooked that shouldn’t be.
She’s All That (1999)
Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, Anna Paquin
Similar to ‘Drive Me Crazy,’ this is probably one of the worst films in this group. I mean we are supposed to believe that Rachael Leigh Cook is considered one of the ugliest girls in school because she wears glasses, her hair in a ponytail, and overalls with paint on them? Sure. And almost every character in this movie is a caricature of what teenagers really are in life. But that’s probably what makes this film so addictive. It’s such a train wreck you can’t help but watch. And come on, who doesn’t love the makeover scene / epic walk down the stairs reveal?
And there you have it Banters, my complete collector’s guide to 90’s Teen Movies. If you haven’t seen some/all of these, please do so immediately, you haven’t lived the life of a 90’s child without these experiences.