16 Early '00s Movies That Totally Lied About the Teenage Experience

If you were a teen in the early '00s, then there were certain films you saw that acted as a sort-of "how to" of teenagerdom. These movies supposedly represented some faction of the common high school (or just post-grad) experience. Of course, because movies are, well, movies, they weren't 100% truthful — even if your teenage self really, really wished that they were. Check out the movies that defined your adolescence and, more importantly, the huge lies that they told.

by Kaitlin Reilly

'Bring It On' (2000)

What It’s About: New cheer captain Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) attempts to lead her team to victory while going head-to-head with the rival cheer squad who had their routines stolen by the previous captain of Torrance’s squad.

Why It Lied To Us: There’s more to school than cheer, and for the schools where that’s not actually true (like in Texas) the squads would be far less diplomatic than Torrance is in Bring It On. I mean, paying for your competition to go to finals? No. Just no.

Image: Universal Pictures

'Almost Famous' (2000)

What It’s About: A teenage journalist is hired to write a story about ’70s band Stillwater and falls in love with one of their groupies in the process.

Why It Lied To Us: Rolling Stone isn’t exactly in the practice of hiring inexperienced high schoolers to write profiles of rock stars. Unless you’re writer/director Cameron Crowe, apparently.

Image: DreamWorks

'Donnie Darko' (2001)

What It’s About: Teenager Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) begins seeing visions of a man in a rabbit costume who warns him about end of the world.

Why It Lied To Us: Hallucinations are more likely to be caused by a gas leak than by a visitor from the future.

'The Rules of Attraction' (2002)

What It’s About: College students party, have sex, and ruin lives, all while trying (and failing) to make meaningful connections.

Why It Lied To Us: Your college parties will probably never be as fun as they are depicted in The Rules of Attraction, but, hopefully, your friends will be better people.

Image: Lions Gate Films

'Crossroads' (2002)

What It’s About: Three old friends, Lucy (Britney freakin’ Spears), Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning), drive cross country so that they can fulfill their dreams.

Why It Lied To Us: You probably grew apart from your childhood friends for a reason. Also, driving cross country with a stranger (and potential murderer) will almost always end badly.

Image: Paramount Pictures

'Swimfan' (2002)

What It’s About: A swimmer is stalked by the woman he has a one-night stand with in this ”Fatal Attraction for teens” thriller.

Why It Lied To Us: If your boyfriend cheats on you, it’s not because the girl was so completely obsessed with him that he couldn’t turn down her advances. He’s just an asshole.

Image: 20th Century Fox

'How To Deal' (2003)

What It’s About: Halley (Mandy Moore), a teen disillusioned by love, nevertheless manages to find it with Macon (Trent Ford), the “bad boy” in town.

Why It Lied To Us: Sometimes bad boys don’t have hearts of gold. In fact, most of the time bad boys don’t have hearts of gold, hence the term “bad boys.”

Image: New Line Cinema

'A Cinderella Story' (2004)

What It’s About: A modernization of the classic fairytale in which Hilary Duff plays a version of Cinderella and Chad Michael Murray plays a version of the prince. This time, the would-be lovers are separated by popularity and brought together by a misplaced cell phone.

Why It Lied To Us: Anyone who can’t identify a person because they are wearing a mask that literally only covers a quarter of their face is an idiot who doesn’t deserve your love.

Image: Warner Bros.

'The Girl Next Door' (2004)

What It’s About: A straight-laced student’s life is turned upside down when he falls for a former porn star.

Why It Lied To Us: Making a porno in your high school will never benefit anyone at all and will absolutely get you expelled.

Image: 20th Century Fox

'A Walk To Remember' (2002)

What It’s About: Popular bad boy Landon (Shane West) falls for Christian girl Jamie (Mandy Moore) and makes a complete 180 from his douchey ways.

Why It Lied To Us: Sorry, but the whole “bad-boy-changing-for-love” thing is100% just a fantasy. Ask anyone who has ever dated John Mayer.

Image: Warner Bros.

'The Perfect Score' (2004)

What It’s About: A group of not-so-great test takers team up to steal the SATs.

Why It Lied To Us: Sure, the SATs are important. Just not that important. Did no one think to bulk up on extracurriculars?

Image: Paramount Pictures

'Freaky Friday' (2003)

What It’s About: In this remake of the 1976 film, Anna (Lindsay Lohan) and her mother (Jamie Lee Curtis) switch bodies days before her mother’s wedding. Unfortunately, Anna’s crush (Chad Michael Murray) decides that he’s going to fall back in love with Anna — while she’s stuck in the body of her 40-something mother.

Why It Lied To Us: There’s nothing romantic about a teenage guy falling for you in your (soon-to-be married) mother’s body. It’s gross on the “Stacy’s Mom” level.

Image: Buena Vista Pictures

'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' (2005)

What It’s About: Four best friends spend a summer apart but stay in touch by passing one magical pair of pants back and forth to one another.

Why It Lied To Us: Finding a pair of jeans that fits your own body perfectly is enough of a struggle, but finding one to fit the very different body types of all of your friends is downright impossible. You know what fits everyone? Friendship socks.

Image: Warner Bros.

'Mean Girls' (2004)

What It’s About: Former home schooled student Cady (Lindsay Lohan) tries to take down the popular “Plastics,” only to slowly turn into the very thing she hated the most.

Why It Lied To Us: Real-life mean girls rarely give up their power the moment they are hit by a school bus.

Image: Paramount Pictures

'The Notebook' (2004)

What It’s About: Teens Noah and Allie (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) fall in love over the course of one magical summer, break up, and find their way back to one another.

Why It Lied To Us: We will never find our own Noah, mainly because there’s only one Ryan Gosling and he just had a baby with Eva Mendes.

Image: New Line Cinema

'High School Musical' (2006)

What It’s About: “Jock” Troy (Zac Efron) and “brainiac” Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) want to audition for the school musical, but their friends want them to “stick to the status quo.”

Why It Lied To Us: Your friends probably won’t totally freak out if you decide to audition for a musical, especially if they themselves are prone to breaking out into song midway through sixth period.

Image: Walt Disney Studios