14 '90s Teen Movies That Should Have Been Way More Popular
So you've got a monthly Clueless ritual and you haven't stopped quoting Cruel Intentions since it came out in 1999. You know all the biggest teen movies of your formative years and still keep them on a pedestal. But that decade was an extremely fertile period for movies for and about teenagers, and the canon extends beyond the best-of Leonardo DiCaprio and Drew Barrymore. There are plenty of hidden gems just waiting to be rediscovered. These 14 '90s teen movies should have been way more popular than they were. It's time to give them the attention and love that they deserve.
Because here's the deal: while the '80s had the Brat Pack and the '60s had Frankie and Annette, no decade can match the '90s for a combination of wacky plotlines, inexplicable hair accessories, and Generation Y cockiness. And because teens were (and still are, for that matter) a desirable audience, studios built all kinds of movies around adolescent characters, from psychological thrillers to historical musicals to the darkest comedies. They star budding screen presences like Rose McGowan, Christian Bale, Kate Winslet, and Kenan Thompson. And even if you didn't see them when they first came out, I bet these movies will make you feel a twinge of nostalgia for the days of Y-necklaces and ripping out Tiger Beat centerfolds for your room.
Before Mean Girls, there were meaner girls. Jawbreaker is a viciously funny satire of high school social hierarchy.
2. Drive Me Crazy
In the midst of her stint as Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Melissa Joan Hart starred as an overachieving sweetheart who makes a social arrangement with her very antisocial neighbor.
Convertibles, rockabilly jamborees, and Johnny Depp in full teen-dream mode make this John Waters musical ode to living free and maybe dying young a movie you'll watch over and over again.
4. Pump Up The Volume
The angsty music nerds of the early '90s found their idol in Mark Hunter (Christian Slater), a high school student who takes over the radio waves from his basement.
5. Good Burger
The only All That sketch to make it to a feature film was one of its best: Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell as hapless but good-natured fast food employees.
This Disney musical was a major flop when it was released, but has found cult status since. It even became a long-running stage musical, though that version couldn't boast a singing Christian Bale with a wonky "New Yawk" accent.
7. All I Wanna Do
When a girls boarding school goes co-ed, the student body is divided on whether or not their new classmates will be a welcome distraction. Kirsten Dunst, Gaby Hoffman, and Rachel Leigh Cook are among the cast of this period comedy.
8. Camp Nowhere
Do you dream about going away with your friends where no real-life distractions can impede your good time? That's basically the plot of Camp Nowhere, except the friends are all minors who really probably should have a couple of chaperones.
9. Heavenly Creatures
Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet both take on their first feature film roles in Peter Jackson's disturbing re-telling of the real obsessive friendship between two Australian girls and the unspeakable crime that it inspired.
Awkward, overweight Angus is not your average teen leading man, which makes this quirky comedy about being yourself when yourself doesn't seem to be good enough so meaningful.
11. The Incredibly True Adventures Of Two Girls In Love
For anyone who had a life-changing first love when they were a teenager or anyone who just wishes that they had.
12. Dead Man On Campus
Tom Everett Scott and Mark-Paul Gosselaar are two roommates bound and determined to take advantage of a university loophole wherein they get straight A's if their roommate, well, takes a permanent leave.
Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams are irresistibly full-of-life in an offbeat comedy about two hippie chicks who have a run-in with President Richard Nixon.
14. October Sky
It moves at a calmer pace than some of these other movies and is perhaps not as showy, but this biopic about the son of a coal miner who aspires to touch the stars with NASA is a beautifully shot tribute to American ingenuity.
Thank you for helping me to rescue these tragically underrated teen movies from relative obscurity.