2017 is set to be an exciting year as far as movie releases go. There's a new Transformers flick on the horizon, and of course Star Wars: Episode VIII will hit theaters in December. But what of the lives of adolescents? What movies will be exploring and delving into the emotional turmoil that teenagers experience?
Thanks to the power of YA authors, as well as creative scriptwriters, there are a host of movies slated to hit theaters during the first half of 2017 that will leave people clamoring for more pubescent action. Let's take a look at them chronologically, starting with the first release of January.
1. A Monster Calls — January 6
It's hard enough growing up. But being a youth whose parent is dying must be unfathomable. Not only are you trying to navigate your own swirling emotions, but to try to understand the helplessness and sheer anger you feel at the thought of losing a loved one, probably for the first time in your life, would be truly terrifying.
Lewis MacDougall plays 12-year-old Conor, a boy trying to cope with the impending loss of his Mum (#RogueOne's Felicity Jones) in this fantasy drama. J.A. Bayona directs, while Patrick Ness wrote the screenplay.
#AMonsterCalls was originally conceived by writer and activists Siobhan Dowd, who came up with the concept during her own battle with terminal illness. Ness ultimately penned the story after Dowd's death in 2007.
2. Bad Kids Of Crestview Academy — January 13
With less than three weeks to go before this one hits theaters, Bad Kids of Crestview Academy is something of a sequel to 2012's Bad Kids Go to Hell. In this film follow-up, six new students are placed on Saturday detention and ultimately must battle their way out when they're locked inside the school and, one by one, they fall victim to a string of mysterious and grisly deaths.
In what was surely the biggest Easter Egg of the first film, former on-screen teenage bad-boy Judd Nelson starred as Headmaster Nash. Bad Kids of Crestview Academy sees Nelson being replaced by another teen mainstay in Sean Astin. Not for the fainthearted, this comedy-thriller has been garnished with an R rating, so it's sure to freak out some younger viewers.
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3. Growing Up Smith — February 3
This flick wrapped production in 2015 and since then had been waiting for a distributor. Now, Growing Up Smith is set to hit theaters in early February 2017. Tagged as a feel-good coming-of-age piece about an irrepressibly likable 10-year-old from India who longs to be a good ol' boy (Good ol' Boy was the potential title for the movie), Growing Up Smith is already puling in strong reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
Along with Roni Akurati as the titular Smith, this comedy drama also stars Jason Lee of My Name Is Earl fame.
4. Before I Fall — March 3
This one first found life as a YA novel written by Lauren Oliver. Before I Fall is a first-person narrative of 17-year-old Sam, who is forced to relive the day of her death every day until she makes things right.
Sam is played by Zoey Deutch of Everybody Wants Some!!, while actress-director Ry Russo-Young — who directed 2012's Nobody Walks — is helming this film.
5. Power Rangers — March 24
What if you discovered you could become something extraordinary? This is the idea often explored by Saban's Power Rangers franchise, which has enjoyed longevity on various platforms for more than 20 years. The overall storyline tells the tale of five ordinary high school kids chosen, seemingly at random, by an alien entity to band together and save the world. The #PowerRangers will be getting a serious upgrade in next year's film release.
The impressive cast features #BreakingBad's Bryan Cranston as the voice of Zordon. And this is not Cranston's first stint in a Power Rangers enterprise; he was the voice of Snizard and Twinman in the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1993.
6. Wonder — April 7
Jacob Tremblay, the kid who wowed audiences in 2015's Oscar-winning Room, is back on the big screen as Auggie Pullman, an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face. With this film touting such big names as Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts, the story of a young boy just trying to fit in is something anyone of any age can relate too. After all, we all want somewhere to belong.
Wonder is directed by Stephen Chbosky, who also directed The Perks of Being a Wallflower, starring Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.
7. Sleight — April 7
This flick brings magic to the fore and shows that just because someone might be young, doesn't mean they're not clever. Jacob Latimore plays Bo, a budding street magician who, following the death of his parents, must turn to crime in order to keep a roof over his head and that of his kid sister's. But when his sister is kidnapped, Bo must use his wits — and sleight of hand — to keep them both alive.
8. Fast & Furious 8 — April 14
After the wild success of Furious 7, there was no question that there would be a Furious 8. While the stars are all adults (and some might even be considered middle aged) there are themes within the film that almost any teen can relate to — betrayal and loyalty chief among them.
#VinDiesel's Dom seems happy in marriage and with the somewhat normal life that he's beginning to assume. However, that soon changes with the arrival of Charlize Theron's villain, who entices Dom into a life of crime that he can't easily escape from.
#FastandFurious8 is directed by F. Gary Gray, who most recently blitzed us with Straight Outta Compton.
9. Lowriders — May 12
Lowriders explores the custom muscle car scene of Southern California and features, among other young stars, Melissa Benoist of #Supergirl. In this drama, a teen must decide whether to compete against his older brother, a known felon, or work with him to help him win a big lowrider event.
Directed by Ricardo de Montreuil, who's made a name for himself making music videos for Latin American musicians.
10. Wonder Woman — June 2
While clearly not just a movie aimed at teens, Wonder Woman makes the list for being a true superhero role model and the stuff of teenage dreams. Diana Prince lives a contented existence in seclusion on the island of #Themyscira — until World War I pilot Steve Trevor washes ashore. Up to this point, Diana had never even seen a man; her island contains only female Amazon inhabitants. She learns of what's going on in the world and, determined to bring an end to the war, leaves the island with Trevor.
In 2016 the character of #WonderWoman was named a United Nations honorary ambassador, only for the decision to later be reversed amid outcry from many UN workers, who decried what they saw as her oversexualized image. Even so, many fans of Wonder Woman see her as a symbol of empowerment for girls to fight against stereotypes and discrimination.
Wonder Woman is directed by Patty Jenkins, who also helmed the Oscar-winning Monster, which starred Charlize Theron.
2017 Can't Come Soon Enough!
With such fantastic adolescent-slanted films on tap for 2017, there are sure to be more than a few popcorn favorites for at least the next six months. Whether you're a teen or just love this sort of moviegoing fare, odds are there'll be at least one or two films on this list to entice you to the cinema in 2017.
Tell me about your favorite young adult film in the comments below.
[Main image: Power Rangers via Lionsgate]