Queue: Teen Angst

Ella Helmuth, Contributing Reporter

Are you a #topnotchteen? Do you ever feel like you’re #toocoolforschool? Do you enjoy random #dancebattles? Then these movies are for you. Hop into identity crises, some serious animosity towards authority figures, and you know, drugs, with these three oh-so-teen classics.

The Breakfast Club: 5/5

Arguably the most iconic of teen movies, “The Breakfast Club” conducts that all too familiar social experiment of throwing a bunch of people with nothing in common together, and watching them interact.

From the moment they walk into the school building, to those final moments on the football field, we get an authentic glimpse of adolescent life. At the beginning of the movie, the group has nothing in common other than their attendance of the fictional Shermer High School, and the sentence of a Saturday detention, during which they must write an essay about who they are. At first they are reluctant to interact with one another, the stigma of crossing social groups holding them back. As the day goes on, however, each member of the group opens up to the rest. Their problems are predictable, but relatable, and almost comforting in their sense of urgent significance to each individual life.

By the end of detention, their natural personalities have emerged, and they see that they have more in common than not. John Hughes’s genius direction, paired with a soundtrack to rival the best, makes it very difficult not to fall in love with the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess and the criminal.

Footloose (1984): 4/5

When Chicago boy Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) moves to a small Midwestern town he is shocked to discover that dancing and rock music are illegal. He struggles to fit in, making only one friend, Willard (Chris Penn). Then preacher’s daughter Ariel Moore (Lori Singer), with a troubled past and a jealous boyfriend, sparks his eye.

They begin a battle against the ordinances in the town that ban dancing, using the Bible to back them up, but Ariel’s father, whose son’s death inspired the ordinance, can’t let it go. When he eventually realizes that the crusade has gone too far, he asks the church to pray for Ren and the other high schoolers as they throw a prom in a warehouse just outside of town.

This charming movie about fighting for the right to live life, teen friendship and romance, with some pretty eye catching dance numbers thrown in, will keep you empathetic with everyone involved, and cheering the teens on in their quest to dance.

Dazed and Confused: 4.5/5

It’s the last day at suburban Texas’ Lee High School in 1976. The new freshmen are getting hazed, the new seniors are ready to drink till they drop and there are drugs every which way.

On the surface this movie looks like a lighthearted coming of age comedy, but when you watch a little closer, sexually violent undertones become apparent, along with blatantly violent hazing rituals and the pressures of being a teenager expected to succeed. As we watch the characters, some relatable in comforting ways, some less so, progress through the night and into the morning it’s hard not to wonder about ourselves and some of the choices we made as young adolescents.

This film combines a truly top notch cast (Ben Affleck, Adam Goldberg, Matthew McConaughey) with witty dialogue, a familiar setting and nuances that make you think. It’s worth a watch whether you were a teenager in the seventies, or weren’t even born when the film came out in 1993.

Leave a Comment