The movies that defined my teen years ranged from cult classics from the 80’s to more modern picks like Donnie Darko, Harry Potter, and others and I learned various lessons about life from each of them at this point in my life, knee-deep in teen angst. I thought I would share these since my horrible films post was pretty popular so I hope you enjoy!
Movies that Defined My Teen Years
+ What They Taught Me About Life
Pretty In Pink (or anything John Hughes) // I love John Hughes.I don’t even know when I started watching his movies. Maybe they all just showed up one day when I was 15 like a teenage starter kit, but anyway. All teenagers should watch his films because they’re just as relevant now as they were when they first came out. The most notable ones include Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and yes, Pretty In Pink. While I love all of these, Pretty in Pink is one of my favorites because the main character, Andie, (played by Molly Ringwald) is such a strong female lead. She’s her own unique person and she’s not afraid to stand up for herself. So, although this film is technically a romantic chick flick, I really loved that aspect of this film. It definitely taught me to be myself. There’s a strong message that you should never try to change yourself to make a guy like you or have his friends or anyone else approve. Also, to defy stereotypes. We might appear to be something on the outside, but there’s a lot more going on on the inside. Also, 80’s music is amazing. Own it. Love it. Rock out to it.
Donnie Darko // Donnie Darko was insanely popular when I was a teenager. If you’ve never seen it, it’s the story about a troubled boy who survives a freak accident and begins questioning life’s meaning and becomes obsessed with time travel. I don’t want to give too much away, but this was one of the first movies I was super obsessed with. The first time I saw the film, it seriously freaked me out, but maybe that’s because I saw it in my friend’s basement at the time around 2 AM and anything seems scary when you’re tired enough. This was one of the first movies I saw where the main character’s sanity is questioned and you don’t know whether or not what he’s experiencing is reality or fantasy. Also, every living creature on this earth dies alone. Isn’t that a terrifying thought?
10 Things I Hate About You // I’m not a huge fan of Julia Stiles, but I love her in this movie. Her character is a pretty accurate portrayal of trust issues and I think that’s why I related so much to her character. This film taught me to be yourself and not care what other people think about you. People always find a reason to hate you even if it’s not the truth.If you’ve never seen this one, definitely give it a watch! It’s basically a modern day retelling of the Taming of the Shrew.
Igby Goes Down // This movie is a coming of age story that takes place in a seriously dysfunctional family. Igby is a troubled boy, stifled by his life of privilege, who is looking for a better kind of life. Don’t watch this movie if you’re easily offended. This movie is a very dark comedy
dramedy? and I’m not sure what I learned from it? That rich people also have problems? That social entitlement is a thing? Also, anything can be endured with a lot of sarcasm.
Harry Potter // When is Harry Potter not on one of my movie lists?
The answer is never. Harry Potter taught me so much about friendship and about courage. You guys should know what it’s about, but if not, I will sum it up for you. Boy wizard fights darkest wizard of all time. 😛
What Dreams May Come // What Dreams May Come is an older film starring Robin Williams and it’s one of my favorites of all time. It’s about a family torn apart by tragedy, heaven and hell, and one couple’s unconditional love. It’s like the ultimate expression of “love conquers all.” It taught me a lot about not giving up, what I wanted in a partner, and how death and depression can affect people differently.
Penelope // This film, although cheesy, taught me that it’s important to love yourself, first and foremost. We might think other people can solve our problems for us or that we should be the way others want us to be, but in the end, we can only be ourselves and only we can solve our problems. Definitely recommend this if you haven’t seen it yet! It’s based on a YA book of the same name and is about a girl named Penelope born with a pig’s nose thanks to her family curse.
Brick // Brick is a modern day film noir murder mystery about a high school drug and crime scene. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt before he was fully recognized (you know, in his adult life, not including 3rd Rock from the Sun). In the story, Brendan searches for the killer of his dead girlfriend. This film taught me that doing the right thing doesn’t always make you the most popular with people and JGL is a hottie.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind // This movie was the first movie I watched that really displayed what a real relationship looks like. It’s not all sunshine and daisies and I think it’s important to know that. I think we can be delusional about what we think love and relationships should be, but the truth is they are what you make of them. You get out what you put in. And also, as humans, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. It’s how we make up for them and learn from them that really matters. Anyway, if you have yet to see this awesome movie starring my favorites – Kate Winslet and Jim Carey – then definitely give it a watch! It’s basically about a guy who finds out his former girlfriend has her memories of him erased and decides to go through with the same procedure. Midway through, he changes his mind and tries to save what memories he can of her.