If there is one thing that we all have in common, it is that we have all had to live through those awkward, puberty filled, hormone raging teenage years. A time when an uncontrollable chemical imbalance leaves all of us a little dazed and confused. It is no surprise then that Hollywood has jumped all over the subject and has given us some classic teen flicks that we can all, on one level or another, relate to.
A number of these films revolve around high school life and there is a couple that springs to mind immediately as the best of the bunch. “Fast Times At Ridgemont High,” does a great job of juggling some serious teen issues with great comedy. The movie is probably best known for the famous Phoebe Cates bikini scene, and for a brilliant performance from Sean Penn as the loveable surfer/stoner dude, Jeff Spicoli.
We have all sat in class and stared out the window, imagining all the things we could do if we could escape school for a day. All those wild fantasies are lived out onscreen in, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Matthew Broderick plays the lead role and is accompanied by his girlfriend (Mia Sara) and his neurotic best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck). The three embark on a series of adventures as their overbearing teacher tries to catch them paying hooky.
If our tastes run a little more on the dark side, then you should be sure to check out, “Heathers.” Christian Slater and Winona Ryder star as a couple of outsiders that, one by one, knock off the 3 most popular girls in school, all of whom just happen to be named Heather. Its brilliance comes in that it is the polar opposite of all the other teen movies that came before it and t succeeded in turning the genre on its head. It may have been that shift that made filmmakers turn to another genre in which to, pardon the pun, skewer teenage life……horror.
There have been countless PG-13 horror movies churned out over the past decade, most of them of the forgettable variety, but the one movie that really kick-started the whole trend remains the best of the bunch. “Scream,” featured a cast of hot young actors who fall victim to a merciless, mask wearing serial killer. The fun among the horror is that the cast spend a whole bunch of time talking about what not to do in a horror film before getting knocked off doing all of those things. The movie is worth seeing for the opening 15 minutes alone, a scene where Drew Barrymore is terrorized by a creepy caller.
If I am forced to choose just one movie that encompasses teenage life to perfection, it would have to be, “The Breakfast Club.” Five students (a jock, a princess, a nerd, a misfit and a bully) are forced to spend time together as they serve detention for various misdeeds. In my mind the movie worked so well because we all knew someone, just like those characters, in high school. It also served to show us that, despite our outward appearance, we all shared the same fears and neuroses in our teenage years.