September 8, 2010

MRQE Rewind: Cinema's 50 Best Teen Movies

With The Virginity Hit heading into theaters in limited release, and with kids everywhere heading back to school this week, we decided the time was ripe for us to dust off an old list and update it. So, pick up that boombox, dance in your underwear--but don't touch that pie--as we head back in time and go back to school with Cinema's 50 Best Teen Movies. From rebels without a cause to angst-ridden vampires, they're all here. We highlight the top five below, but head over to MRQE to check out the full list.

5. The Breakfast Club (1985)
MRQE Metric: 80

Five teenagers from five different cliques converge in this genre-defining film from John Hughes. This low-budget film, has not only become a cult classic, but has also gone on to inspire many other coming of age films. Taking place over the course of a Saturday afternoon in detention, The Breakfast Club, finds five teens breaking through their high school stereotypes, learning more about themselves and each other. As Brian Orndorf of eFilmCritic says, "It’s the quintessential teen drama; a compassionate, insightful, and intense motion picture that brings to life the soulful concerns of high schoolers without reducing them to bottom-feeding cliché or marketable MySpace bullet points." Don't you forget it!

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at

4. Rushmore (1998)
MRQE Metric: 82
Born from the boyhood experiences of writers Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, Rushmore centers on Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), an eccentric teen very out of place at Rushmore Academy. Max soon meets Herman Blume (Bill Murray), an industrialist who's frustrated with his marriage and his kids. Max and Herman strike a friendship that soon gets tested as they both fall for the new first grade teacher, Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). Like many of Anderson's movies, Rushmore is also known for its soundtrack, comprised mostly of British Invasion acts from the '60s--music that Anderson felt went hand-in-hand with Max's character.

3. Say Anything… (1989)
MRQE Metric: 83
If you remember anything from Cameron Crowe's directorial debut, its John Cusack holding a boombox over his head, playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" in order to win back the heart of Ione Skye. This is certainly the film's most iconic scene, and both the scene, and its song, underpins the emotional desperation of Cusack's character Lloyd Dobler, and his unlikely romance with valedictorian Diane Court (Skye). Say Anything… struck a similar emotional chord with critics like Roger Ebert, who noted the character-driven romance is very much grounded in reality. Ebert notes, "What's unique to this movie is how surefooted it is in presenting the ordinary everyday lives and rituals of kids in their late teens . . . These teenagers are not simply empty-headed 'Animal House' retreads; the movie pays them the compliment of seeing them as actual people with opinions and futures."

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at

2. American Graffiti (1973)
MRQE Metric: 86
George Lucas's American Graffiti, was a first of its kind. You can blame this film for every movie that has since taken a nostalgic look back at what it was like growing up 20 years ago. For Lucas, that era was the early 1960's, and never before was it glorified on screen in quite an all-encompassing way. With hits from the '50s & '60s filling the soundtrack, and era hotrods fueling the seduction, American Graffiti went on to become the surprise hit upon its release. The film also helped spawn the careers of Richard Dreyfuss, Suzanne Somers, Harrison Ford, and Ron Howard--the latter of whom would go onto star in Happy Days, a TV series very much inspired by American Graffiti.

1. Back to the Future (1985)
MRQE Metric: 90
An unlikely topper, but Back to the Future surely is one of the most notable, entertaining films of the 1980s. After all, what teen doesn't wonder what their parents were like when they were in high school? Of course, the film is responsible for the popularization of DeLoreans, and a great many of us soon waisted valuable time researching and studying the film's time travel science, and the resulting paradoxes. But, we won't hold that to Robert Zemeckis; we'll just jam out to Huey Lewis's "Power of Love" . . . ok, that we'll hold Zemeckis for!

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at

The list doesn't end here. Head over to MRQE to catch the whole list of Cinema's 50 Best Teen Movies


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