ByMara Mullikin, writer at
I'm an aspiring writer, filmmaker, actress and werewolf.
Mara Mullikin

This isn't old news, but being a teen can suck. Your hormones are raging, you're faced with overwhelming pressures from school and home and other teens can make your already miserable existence even more miserable. I'm not saying there isn't anything positive about being a teenager, but it is/was definitely a turbulent and perplexing period in our lives. You're probably trying to find yourself, and encounter opportunities to experiment with sex, substances and other illicit activities. However, I believe comfort can be found watching certain movies with teens that delve into issues. I think these seven features below represent the positives and negatives of teenage life. Chances are you've most likely seen one or more of these flicks, but hopefully there's one you haven't that might be able to brighten your teen years.

7. Daria: Is it College Yet?

The series Daria was quite an accomplishment, as it didn't sugar coat adolescence and its audience were able to resonate with its cast- specifically Daria. In the show's final send off and TV movie Daria: Is it College Yet?, Daria and her peers are preparing for life after graduation. Daria is in dismay about her relationship, Jane (her best friend) is contemplating whether to go to school or completely forgo it and other dilemmas. In the end, while some of them don't have everything figured out, they realize it's best to press on forward and brace the cryptic future.

6. My First Mister

My First Mister's protagonist Jennifer a.k.a. 'J' seems like a typical goth-chick who isolates herself from the world and is obsessed with death. However, this isn't entirely true. It's shown that 'J' in her own way is outgoing, and she sees the world in a different light. She forms an unlikely friendship with a middle-aged man named Randal a.k.a. 'R'; and from there she becomes more loving, forgiving and open-minded. It's a slightly depressing, but inspiring picture.

5. Mean Girls

Mean Girls was not only a hilarious comedy, but it touched upon teenage issues. It also raised an important point that we're all mean girls. Regina George is an obvious mean girl (rich, spoiled and self-entitled) then there's Janis Ian, who seems like an underdog. Yet, she plans this elaborate scheme to discredit and ruin Regina George over an incident that happened years ago. Despite this, it teaches the audience that we have the power to change ourselves and realize a negative mindset won't get us anywhere in life. Just as Cady said, " Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George's life definitely didn't make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you."

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The synopsis of The Perks of Being a Wallflower may sound like an unrealistic, and cliche high school movie; "an introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world." However, in reality, it's such an emotionally substantial and profound movie that it'll rock your world. Many people can relate to the main cast- especially Charlie. At first, some may assume he's quiet and socially awkward just for the sake of being so, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. It delves into topics regarding sexuality, abuse and societal expectations. You won't regret seeing it.

3. The Breakfast Club

This is a classic, and many have seen this already, but it's always worth re-watching one more time. It's slightly a romanticized version of high school; however, many can relate with the central characters. They initially come off as stereotypes: the jock, nerd, rebel, popular girl and weirdo. Yet, as the film progresses it shows that these teenagers are beyond their designated roles and they can connect with each other in some way or another; despite the fact they're in separate high school social classes.

2. Grave of the Fireflies

Now, this may seem like an odd choice; and to those of you who've already seen this, you may be telling me to fuck off. Yet, this is an important movie to watch. Grave of the Fireflies takes place in Japan during World War II, and the film's protagonist Seita explains how he ended up dead. Seita's a proud and independent spirit who's left taking care of his sister after their mother passes and their father is away fighting. Seita goes to great lengths to take care of Setsuko; although it's his pride and inability to accept help that becomes his downfall. Some teenagers feel they know everything, and don't need help from anyone based on the fact they are teenagers (apparently, thirteen is the cut-off age for accepting advice and consolation). However, what they need to learn is that swallowing their pride and asking for help isn't any failure on their part. We all (no matter how old we get) seek assistance during distressing times, and there's no shame in that.

1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

An interesting fact; the film's screenwriter Cameron Crowe posed as a high school student to understand what teens did and how they interacted. The film covers various perspectives, including Spicoli (a stoner surfer), Brad (golden boy) and Stacy (naive virgin) (e.g.). These characters face peer pressure, experiment with drugs and intercourse, and face the harsh realities of their actions. It's incredibly funny, but characters' characters' reactions and actions are also heartfelt and surprisingly authentic.

Many stereotypical TV shows and movies about teens tend to put a lot of unrealistic scenarios in them. They portray teens as either being these perfect goodie two-shoes or as rebellious ingrates who occasionally get involved in harmful situations. Compared to these movies they give teenagers dignity by giving them complex personalities, and problems that show everything isn't always black and white. Yet, they also show that some of these age-related difficulties will pass and in the end, they'll be better people for having experienced them.


Which movie would you watch?


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