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The 5 Most Underrated Teen Movies

The 5 Most Underrated Teen Movies

By Jason Saenz

Barnes and Noble / Featureflash / Shutterstock

Teen movies absolutely kill the in the box office (cough* The Hunger Games*cough) and many are actually great movies for anyone to enjoy. But with so many new teen movies coming out each year (cough *Mockingjay*), some real gems have been buried in the giant sandpit that is Hollywood. Take these five winners from the achives:

1. Monster Squad (1987)
As a teenager you have a lot to deal with: dating, school, parents, clothes, acne... does it ever stop? Well image handling all that AND fighting the forces of evil! Definitely a unique coming of age story, where we all learned that yes, "Wolfman has nards."

Why it deserves more recognition: You could argue that this movie started the whole teen vs. monster genre. Without it, we would have such huge franchises like Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Twilight, and I don't want to think of a world without Sarah Michelle Gellar.

2. Clueless (1995)
Alicia Silverstone shines as "Cher" in this teen remake of Jane Austen's Emma centered on being a rich girl in the 90s' L.A., but she's not the only future star that makes an appearance. The film also brought us Paul Rudd, Donald Faison (Scrubs), an adorable Britney Murphy, Suburgatory's Jeremy Sisto, and Robot Chicken regular Breckin Meyer. Plus, no movie has made teens more horrified to drive on the freeway.

Why it deserves more recognition: Because it covers everything a teenager deals with in high school: dating, malls, getting your license, gossip, virginity, homosexuality, drugs, fashion, school work, overbearing family members, partying, shaving your head, crushes, and of course valleygirl catch phrases ("AS IF!"). No rock is left, like, unturned, ya know?

3. Heathers (1998)
Heathers is movie about a girl who, after constant abused by the popular girls, decides to take them all out. The black comedy stars a young Winoda Ryder (before the eye shadow), with Christian Slater as the ultimate bad boy and Shannon Doherty as one of the popular, nasty girls (all called Heather). The movie was really the first to explore teen social dynamics in such a dark way (well, not as dark as Lord of the Flies) and ends in quite the explosive fashion! (Spoiler!) (But really, it's been 26 years. You should have watched it by now).


(YouTube / cmmaes)

Why it deserves more recognition: Heathers set the tone for the many "cool clique" movies to come, like Mean Girls and Jaw Breaker, and also features on of the coolest good girl/bad guy romances since Breakfast Club. It was dark, it was edgy, it was pure '80s, and it caused a brief spike in croquet kit sales.

4. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Not since Hamlet Me Out of Here has a teen movie been based on a work of Shakespeare, but that's exactly what this movie was, adapting "The Taming of the Shrew" for the big screen. And who better to play the shrew than Julia Stiles?

Why it deserves more recognition: Aside from bringing us Heath Ledger singing a Four Seasons song on a bandstand, the movie brought us our first glimpse of a two-piece prom dress (THIS MOVIE WAS 15 YEARS AHEAD OF ITS TIME), a paintball makeout scene, and a memorably cool dad. Also, the movie gets a big bonus since you could watch it and still get credit in English class.

5. Saved! (2004)
This quirky movie starring Mandy Moore might seem like a "goody two-shoes" take on religion, but really it's a quirky, satirical look at how we judge each other and what real understanding and acceptance is all about.

Why it deserves more recognition: Adolescence is when most people begin asking the bigger questions of life, like "What is the deal with love, death and religion?" Most teen movies want to joke about dating, but Saved! doesn't shy away from the bigger picture. Plus, it co-stars Macaulay Culkin, who now, by the way, leads a pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band called, the Pizza Underground. That's awesome!

Have you seen any of these lost teen classics?

Topics: Entertainment
Tags: movies, adolescence, teen movies, films we love, lost treasures, cinematic greats, alicia silverstone, donald faison

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About the Author
Jason Saenz

Jason Saenz is a writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @JasonSaenz!

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