My Favourite Teen Movies: Part 2 – the 2000’s
It’s time for the second part of my favourite teen movies retrospective! This part is going to cover films from the 2000s, the majority of which are from the earlier part of the decade though there are a couple of later ones that snuck their way onto my list.
I was actually surprised by how many of my favourites fell into this time period – I felt for sure that the majority of my preferences would slew towards the 1990s era but I ended up pruning a lot from this list to narrow it down to twenty when I only had to cut one or two from the 1990s segment. Weird, huh?
The 2000s were actually quite a strong decade for teen flicks even if their popularity had diminished somewhat. I also find that they haven’t aged the same way that a lot of the 1990s picks have. I think it’s probably because there isn’t a whole lot of time between then and now. The 1990s feels like so long ago whereas I feel the movies after the turn of the century aren’t so very different in style to the movies today, if that makes sense? I’m waffling a bit now but basically I feel that the jump in technology and technical styles doesn’t feel as vast between the early aughts to more recent films.
Like my last set of choices, the majority of these are films set during the high school years though there are a couple that have teenage characters but the story itself is not strictly about the school years. Several of the protagonists are college-aged but for simplicity I have lumped them in with the teen movie genre because the aesthetic is very similar and they fall into a related ouvre (or that’s how I’ve twisted it, anyways haha!)
So, without any further ado, here are twenty of my favourite teen films that hit the silver screens in the 2000s – hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much I have!
1. Almost Famous (2000)
I’m definitely not alone in thinking that this is one of the best films to come out at the turn of the new century (even if the film itself is set in the 1970s). Featuring a stunning cast (Kate Hudson seems to have been destined to play Penny Lane and she is fabulous here) including the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman in a scene stealing turn, this film has everything going for it. It’s a blindingly good film and one of my all-time favourites.
2. Bring it On (2000)
The seminal noughties flick, Bring it On is a delight – fun, fresh, and surprisingly witty – it’s definitely the one that immediately sprung to mind when I was considering films for this list. A modern-day classic, for sure and Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku are endlessly charming in it.
3. John Tucker Must Die (2006)
This film is a total blast even if it’s not exactly high-brow cinema haha! I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did as the story itself is nothing to really write home about. What elevates this film is the chemistry between the actors and the genuinely laugh-out-loud moments (seriously, I was guffawing in places the first time I watched this – it really is a funny film).
4. 17 Again (2009)
The film where I realised that Zac Efron could actually act! I was pleasantly surprised by this movie – it’s charming, and a little bit schmaltzy at times but it balances that with its sense of humour and the fact it never seems to take itself overly seriously. I really loved it then and still do now.
5. It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006)
Body-swap films are nothing new but this one had a lot more black comedy than was expected and yet it ended up being kind-of sweet at the same time? Not sure how it managed to charm me because some parts are more than a little problematic but it ended up working for me anyways.
6. Final Destination (2000)
The endless sequels may have milked the theme to death (heh) but the first film is just so bonkers and inventive I have to give it major props (and I feel that the sequels are a bit of a guilty pleasure watch for me so…) Definitely a film that keeps you on your toes!
7. She’s the Man (2006)
Inspired by Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night (and has a plot very similar to, and scenes that could have been lifted from, 1980’s flick Just One of the Guys) this film is nevertheless one of my favourites, thanks in no small part to the performance of Amanda Bynes (who was perfect as Viola – funny and very charming in the main role).
8. Remember the Titans (2000)
Gah, this film is just so heart-warming (and gives me the warm and fuzzies just thinking about it!) I think categorising it as a teen film is not entirely accurate (it definitely leans more into a family-oriented flick) but I’m including it because it is a brilliant depiction of a school football team following integration. It’s nota perfect film but it is a moving one.
9. Whatever it Takes (2000)
Another modern retelling (this time it’s Cyrano de Bergerac!) Whatever it Takes is not as well-known as some of the others on this list (and some of the humour certainly doesn’t work as well seeing it through a modern eye), but I remember enjoying it at the time quite a bit. It has a very young Aaron Paul in a minor role (for all of you Breaking Bad fans out there!)
10. Crazy/Beautiful (2001)
I really loved this film when it was first released. It deals with heavier subjects than most on this list and is quite a thought-provoking teen film that has lots of layers. It also gives Kirsten Dunst a chance to show her range.
11. Get Over It (2001)
A teen screwball comedy loosely based on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (lots of Shakespeare retellings in teen films come to think of it…) This stars Kirsten Dunst (the third film of hers on this list heh!) and Ben Foster (an actor who I’ve always been surprised isn’t a bigger star because he is crazy talented). The plot’s only passable but the performances elevate the material a lot. Just a good time movie.
12. The Girl Next Door (2004)
This film on paper sounds like something I would hate (teenage boy falls for porn star who moves in next door – WTH!!) but I actually… don’t hate it? It’s surprisingly a really entertaining film and sweeter than you would expect (though some parts are eh…) A couple of really great performances from Timothy Oliphant, Paul Dano, and Chris Marquette (where did this dude go?) in supporting roles plus the leads are likable enough to make it work.
13. 13 Going on 30 (2004)
I just had to make this one number 13 haha! This one is reeaaalllly pushing the teen movie category but I’m including it because the character is a 13 year old transformed into her future 30 year old body so it totally counts! 13 Going on 30 is just such a lovely, feel-good flick and remains a favourite of mine to this day.
14. The Perfect Score (2004)
A lesser-known Chris Evans film about a bunch of teens determined to cheat on the SATS. This movie was pretty fun even if the plot was somewhat flimsy and really got by on the talent of the majority of the cast (it also has future Black Widow Scarlett Johansson in it – an early team-up with frequent Marvel co-star Chris Evans!) 😉
15. Adventureland (2009)
This one came and went with little fanfare (despite a now pretty well-known cast) but I went to the cinema to see it and never once regretted it. I’ve watched it many times since and it’s definitely one of my all-time favourites (I’ll be honest though, I initially went to see it because of Martin Starr who played my favourite character in Freaks and Geeks – a show I was really devoted to).
16. EuroTrip (2004)
I’m going to be brutally honest here – this film isn’t the best but I have such fondness for it anyway. This has a lot to do with the song that becomes a major theme in the movie ‘Scotty Doesn’t Know’ which is hilariously sung (well, mimed ha!) in the film by a cameoing Matt Damon! If that doesn’t make you want to see it well I don’t know what will! (Trust me – it’s side-splittingly funny!)
17. Donnie Darko (2001)
Probably a contender for the weirdest film on this list, Donnie Darko quickly became a cult favourite and it’s not hard to see why. You never really know what the heck is going on most of the time but it definitely is an interesting piece of cinema that is always worth a watch.
18. Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Jennifer’s Body is a film I had zero expectations for but ended up loving how satirical and dark the film actually was. Great performances from both of the leading ladies and a banging soundtrack made this an instant classic for me.
19. Legally Blonde (2001)
I used to be embarrassed by how much I actually like this film (I did film studies at University and everyone used to stick up their nose if you admitted to liking this film). I got over myself though (like seriously, you like what you like – don’t let anyone dictate what you can and cannot enjoy!) and consider this one of the best, popcorn, fluffy films out there. I like that Elle Woods is a nice, popular type girl for once. The sequel really dumbed down the characters but the original is still a great subversion of tropes that I will always defend.
20. Bend it Like Beckham (2002)
Hey look, a British film made this list! It might be because a lot of teen movies from the UK can be somewhat dreary and heavy-hitting (no shade – I love those kind of movies!) but it’s rare to get a fluffy teen drama and Bend it Like Beckham is one of the exceptions. This film is feel-good extraordinaire and despite it being about football (I’m really not a fan hehe!) it’s a great little flick.
Welp, that took ages but it was fun revisiting a lot of these films in my head and has really made me want to watch a good three quarters of them! Hope you have enjoyed this little stroll down (my) memory lane and stay tuned for more movie talk soon!