Teen Movies II
Coming of Age films
This had to be listed separate from comedies.
For a great full list, go here:
Wikipedia: coming of age films
Thirteen of my favorite coming-of-age films, restricted to characters in their teens:
1. To Sir, With Love (1967) Sidney Poitier, Lulu. I know. I wasn't born yet when this film came out. I caught it on TV one rainy Saturday when I was a teen, though, and enjoyed it immensely. Even British teens have the same angst we do.
2. Carrie (1976). The scariest King movie, and the first. Awesome book, of course. Abused, misunderstood girl gathers frightening telekinetic power and gets her revenge. If you were put down or bullied at all in school (I was), you will enjoy this film. For dark teens acting badly, see The Craft (1996)
3. The Lords of Discipline (1983) David Keith. Forget Taps (1981), this is the military academy movie to see.
4. Reckless (1984) Daryl Hannah, Aidan Quinn. Another rainy Saturday find. Something in the hopeless, dead-end, steel-town feel of it called to me. [For more steel-town angst, see All the Right Moves (1983), made before Tom Cruise was anybody.] Sex with the fifth-year senior bad boy in the school boiler room seemed so…so…reckless.
5. The Karate Kid (1984) Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita. Wax on, wax off. Mr. Miyagi is the mentor we all want to find. Especially interesting since I started studying karate myself. (Yeah, we really hit each other. Yeah, it hurts. But my butt is toned after only six months – I recommend martial arts training to every woman.) Skinny new kid Daniel trains with Mr. Miyagi to learn karate at black belt level in time for the big tournament—to show the bullies he won't back down. Spawned a couple of sequels. Rumor has it that Will Smith is soon to direct a remake of this movie. Why?
6. The Breakfast Club (1985) Do I need to name who was in this, or tell you anything about the film? Really? Are you breathing?
7. Lucas (1986) Corey Haim, Keri Green, Charlie Sheen, Wynona Ryder, Courtney Thorne-Smith. Accelerated student Lucas tries to play football, refusing to be intimidated regarding his lack of stature, and win the heart of the popular girl he fancies. Fitting in. Finding friends. Unrequited love. Not backing down to a bully. And teens that would become stars within ten years. All the good stuff.
8. The Lost Boys (1987) Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patrick, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz. This was the age of the Coreys. Gosh, they were cute. (They have a TV series out this year, "The Two Coreys." Desperate come-back and "where are they now?" show.) Vampires on the boardwalk. Jami Gertz as the vampiric gang leader's girlfriend, drawn to a rebel and regretting it. Jason Patrick, reaching manhood as his mother re-discovers her sexuality—can the brothers reconcile Mom's new relationship? Great music, too.
9. Say Anything (1989) John Cusak, Ione Skye. Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes. 'Nuff said. Still, in keeping with the list…Who would we pair up with if there were no social boundaries? When high school ends, will you let it end and follow your heart? Separation from parents and from childhood, first love. And kickboxing—the sport of the future.
10. Pump up the Volume (1990) Christian Slater. OK, yeah, I know there were other people in this film but I have no memory of who they were. It was the music and the Slater that stuck. Fight the system. For a campy, less dark version, see Footloose (1984)
11. School Ties (1992) Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O'Donnell. A hot-fest of young male actors. More than that, it was an excellent story. I adore Brendan Fraser. Almost listed Encino Man (2000) in the comedies just for him, but refrained.
12. Never Been Kissed (1999) Drew Barrymore, David Arquette [and cousin movie Hiding Out (1987) Jon Cryer] Dude! What any of us wouldn't do differently if given another shot at high school…Cameron Crowe actually did go back, spawning both a book and a movie about Ridgemont High. Look for Jessica Alba and Molly Shannon.
13. American Pie 2 (2001) Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eugene Levy. I liked 1 and 3 also, but the second was the best one, IMO. OK, coulda been in the comedies list, but there wasn't room. Sometimes, love sneaks up on you, at band camp, and hits you over the head with a flute.
You might notice most of these films are during my own coming of age years (1983-1993)…makes sense.
Photos from IMDb