Though the 1980s had John Hughes films, and 1999 was a peak year for the genre, the early 2000s is a veritable treasure trove of great teen flicks. From misfit best friends to bubbly cheerleaders to peak Lindsay Lohan, there's no other time like it. So here is a thought: the next time you're mulling over things for Netflix and chill night, maybe you could turn to these classic teen movies from the 2000s.
Maybe I'm biased: I actually became a teenager in the early 2000s, if you want to get technical. My 13th birthday (which involved an all-Hot Topic outfit and a custom Nightmare Before Christmas cake because I was that kid) was in 2004. The time before that was spent dreaming that I would have the same teen experiences as seen in some of these films. Or not. I don't know how I feel about switching bodies with my mom, to be honest.
In any case, I narrowed my list down to films that fell in line with the glorious ("glorious" meaning "delightfully cringe-worthy") time between 2000 and 2005. Some are cult classics, some are potent punches of nostalgia, and some are just truly delightful pieces of film. In any case, here are 21 fantastic teen movies from the first half of the 2000s.
For what it's worth, it's pretty fun to watch Britney Spears act, and hey, the screenplay is by Shonda Rhimes! Take it from me, in spite of its flaws, Crossroads most definitely worth a rewatch.
2. Bring It On
Any film that humanizes two gangs of pom-pom tossers is an effective piece of cinema. Also, Eliza Dushku is divine in this.
I needed whatever kind of black magic Anne Hathaway went through to get from that to Princess status.
Hey, young Kerry Washington is in this, baller! That aside, there's a lot more going on in this film than your average teen flick, with racial tensions, intensive drama, and, yes, dancing.
I only watched this movie a few months ago despite it staring at me from my local library for the past 10 years. Such a good pick, though, with lots of biting satire about religion. If you've never seen it, a Catholic schoolgirl gets herself pregnant in the effort to convert her gay boyfriend. Who hasn't been there before, you know?
Literally some of the biggest names in television combine forces, and their friendship chemistry is palpable. This will never not be a perfect film, and that's all there is to it.
A top notch remake. Lohan makes for a good bratty teenager, but Jamie Lee Curtis makes for an even better bratty teenager, and that's what makes it beautiful.
It's a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, so, by its very nature, it's kind of over-the-top. At the same time, Mandy Moore's performance could elicit real tears if you're not careful.
Meanwhile, in a whole different artistic direction. I'm not sure if a film about a porn star that moves next door is a great slumber party pick, but I personally find the execution pretty successful. Plus, Emile Hirsch looks like the hotter version of this guy I once dated, so I'm all about that.
10. Lords Of Dogtown
On a related note, if you're looking for a movie about hot skateboarders with great hair, look no further than Lords of Dogtown. It's poignant and rich with eye candy.
11. New York Minute
The Olsen twins made a lot of movies, but this is their only real feature film as a duo, right? Some not-Sum 41 pop punk band is prominently featured, and that's decidedly amusing. (JK, it's Simple Plan, remember them?)
This is a brilliant film that was actually co-written by Nikki Reed, who plays Evie. However, it's Evan Rachel Wood as Tracey that really gets into your head with her haunting transformation from troubled little girl to out-of-control problem child.
13. 13 Going On 30
You know what? I'm not 100 percent sure if this would qualify as a teen flick. Technically, our protagonist is trapped inside her 30-year-old body and having 30-year-old problems. But this is an adorable movie and what we ended up watching on my friend Melissa's actual 13th birthday, so on the list it shall stay.
This was quoted to death in 2004, but, when you give it some distance (say, a good seven to nine years,) and watch it again, it's suddenly as hilarious as it was the first time.
I have a habit of skewering Hilary Duff movies, and a disdain for Cinderella adaptations in general, but this is pretty cute for what it is. Like, great if you just need a happily ever after with some Chad Michael Murray along the way.
16. Sugar & Spice
Ahem. Any film that turns a gang of pom-pom tossers into criminals trying to support one of their own after she gets pregnant is an effective piece of cinema.
Not even that great of a film, but it's there whenever you find yourself missing Amanda Bynes the way she was.
18. Ghost World
One of my top 10 favorite films, and an accurate portrayal of my best friend and me when we were 18. It's great if you're sick of seeing Mean Girls for the millionth time and want something a little quirkier.
19. Mean Girls
Because you never get sick of watching it, even for the millionth time.
20. The Hot Chick
Definitely an acquired taste, you have to get behind the whole "Rob Schneider is..." schtick. But it's a good, if not far less intelligent, precursor to the previously mentioned film.
When you want a little bit of everything.
I think you get the picture. Now hop to Netflix and return to a simpler time of teen movies.
Images: Universal Pictures (1); Giphy (21)