NME takes a look back at the greatest high school movies of the '00s
NME is taking a look back at some of the best teen films from the ’00s. It’s a list featuring cheerleaders, social outcasts, vampires, a porn star and even a couple of impressive performances from Lindsay Lohan.
Bring It On (2000)
Our list of the greatest ’00s teen films begins with a cult classic starring Kirsten Dunst. Bring It On follows a high-school cheerleading squad scrambling to rebuild its reputation after discovering its key routine is stolen; it’s a fun, fast-paced romp that finds time to make some surprisingly insightful points about class, race and homophobia.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a troubled teenager plagued by visions of Frank the Rabbit, a man in a giant bunny costume who manipulates him into carrying out a series of dark deeds. This debut feature from writer-director Richard Kelly is a thrillingly original and memorably surreal drama that offers a uniquely freaky depiction of teen angst.
Ghost World (2001)
Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch play high school outcasts trying to work out what to do with their lives in this adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ popular comic book. Directed by Bad Santa‘s Terry Zwigoff, Ghost World is a hip and acerbic coming-of-age comedy that’s brave enough to give us lead characters that aren’t always very likeable.
Save The Last Dance (2001)
Julia Stiles plays a suburban teen whose promising dance career seems thwarted when she’s forced to transfer to a tough inner-city school following her mother’s death. The story is a little clichéd, but Save The Last Dance is always worth revisiting for its dazzling dance scenes and sensitive portrayal of an interracial teenage relationship.
Freaky Friday (2003)
Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan play a squabbling mother and daughter who switch bodies after eating some enchanted fortune cookies. Disney had already adapted Mary Rodgers’ classic children’s novel into a hit 1976 film starring a young Jodie Foster, but thanks to a fizzy script and brilliant comic performances, this remake is just as entertaining.
The Girl Next Door (2004)
Emile Hirsch’s Matthew falls head over heels for his hot new neighbour, Danielle (24‘s Elisha Cuthbert), but then learns that she used to be a porn star. It sounds like a dodgy subplot from an American Pie sequel, but this charmingly-performed teen comedy ultimately offers a surprisingly prudish view of teenage sexuality.
Mean Girls (2004)
Tina Fey’s satirical look at the high school clique system recently celebrated its 10th anniversary but remains as strangely quotable as ever – especially, as fans will know, on Wednesdays. Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Lizzy Caplan all went on to become big stars, and it’s still the film to reach for if you want to defend Lindsay Lohan’s acting talents.
Jonah Hill and Michael Cera play high school misfits desperate to get laid before graduation in this smart, smutty coming-of-age comedy. This Is The End‘s Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote the script’s first draft when they were 15, so it’s no surprise that Superbad offers such an authentic take on the prickly awkwardness of being a teenager.
This indie comedy about a smart, self-assured teenage girl dealing with an unplanned pregnancy became 2007’s big sleeper hit. Ellen Page shines as Juno, surely the wittiest 16-year-old in film history, and Diablo Cody deservedly won an Oscar for her sharp, unpreachy script. The hit soundtrack featuring songs by Kimya Dawson and Cat Power is awesome too.
The first film in the vampire franchise based on Stephanie Meyers’ blockbuster novels remains the best. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart became the biggest teen stars of their generation playing lovebirds Emma and Edward, while director Catherine Hardwicke supplies a stylishly gloomy setting for their doomed (and actually kind of emo) romance.
10 Teen Films From The 90s That Are Still Amazing Today
NME has also compiled a list of great teen films from the ’90s, featuring everything from Scream to She’s All That, and Clueless to Dazed And Confused. Check it out here.