Given we’ve already picked the best coming-of-age movie soundtracks and given you a stellar list of 80s movies to revisit – we thought it was high time NME counted down our favourite teen flicks as well.
The best teen films accurately meld the awkwardness and pathos of being adolescent with a scurrilous wit, some ace pop-culture moments and a wonderfully judged soundtrack. They’re a melting pot of all the things every teen wishes their life included. Here are five of the best.
Frankly, any film whose running gag is the imaginary europop hit ‘Teen Suicide (Don’t Do It)’ is A-OK by us. The cold, harsh reality of selfish teens living in 80s yuppie America unfolds with cold clarity in Michael Lehmann’s film; Daniel Waters’ script is filled with massively quotable lines and Winona Ryder and Christian Slater give possibly their best performances to date.
Pretty In Pink
For many, The Breakfast Club will be John Hughes’ finest teen moment, but for me Pretty In Pink pips it to the post. The love triangle of Duckie, Andie and Blaine (“a major household appliance”) is given added believability due to the simmering inter-class tensions and real sparks that fly between Molly Ringwald and John Cryer. An excellent soundtrack (New Order, The Psychedelic Furs) and a record store setting also adds to the kinetic vibrancy of the flick.
Dazed & Confused
Richard Linklater’s impressionistic look at the last day of school in 1976 flows by at a breakneck speed, thanks, in part, to a rolling cast of characters that make you wish you were there getting stoned with them. The non-stop, pre-punk soundtrack is perfectly judged too and if you find yourself subsequently listening to Ted Nugent on repeat, don’t blame us.
The Breakfast Club
Totemic in its influence, John Hughes film was essentially a very simple character study of five high school ‘types’: the jock, the nerd, the rebel, the beauty and the weirdo. The dialogue was acutely intense and hauntingly realistic and there was a naturalistic, reality show-like way the ‘Brat Pack’ cast performed their parts.
Tina Fey’s update of Heathers was a brilliant satire not only of Generation Y but of the American educational system and how massive the child-parent divide had become. Lohan’s performance was rated but, like Annie Potts’ Iona in Pretty In Pink, the real stars were Lohan’s hilariously out of step friends Janis and Damian (Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese).
The Sure Thing
A classic double hander from Rob Reiner featuring a young John Cusack and Daphene Zuniga who end up doing a ‘planes, trains and automobiles’ despite hating each other. The dialogue sparkles as do the minor characters, like Tim Robbins’ hideous Gary Cooper and Anthony Edwards’ Lance, who make this flick a classic of the genre.
So argue! What’s the best teen movie you’ve seen? Top 5 best ever?