Jenna’s recent blog on teen romance novels reminded me of another teen love: The teen romance movie. It seemed like the 80s and 90s were full of high school romantic adventures. These days those simpler tales have been replaced by renditions of vampires and werewolves such as in Twilight, witches as in Beautiful Creatures or angels like in City of Bones. But I am a sucker for the old boy meets girl and they fall into first love. Here are a few of my favorites.
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
The original teen love story, complete with endless angst., this is hands down my favorite film version of the classic tale of the Montagues and Capulets. The leads are lovely and do an outstanding job of capturing the myriad of emotions felt by the characters. What truly sets the film apart is the song What is a Youth by Nino Rota. It haunted me for days after the first time I saw the film.
Quarterback Princess (1983)
Moving from Canada to America has meant experiencing some big changes for Tami Maida. The biggest? That American football doesn’t include girls. She tries out for the team anyway and surprises most by earning a spot. Everyone may be against her but she not only wins over her critics but catches the heart of one of her fellow students as well. This film has a great buddy scene where the guys on her team buy her a dress for the dance.
Sixteen Candles (1984)
The film that launched several careers, this story centers around Samantha’s sixteenth birthday and the numerous humiliations she faces on her way to her HEA. What I loved about this movie is that it captured a common experience and turned it into something memorable. Who hasn’t had a crush on the most popular guy in school or some other out of our league hero? Watching Jake realize that treasure sometimes comes in a quiet package was wonderful and very romantic.
Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
Before Patrick Dempsey was Dr. Dreamy he was a nerdy outcast looking to buy his way into popularity. High school “It” girl Cindy is in desperate need of money and agrees to his plan to pretend to be his girlfriend and boost his image. There are some tough moments before each of them figures out what they really want from life and love.
Say Anything (1989)
He’s an underachiever with a heart of gold. She’s an overachiever with a controlling dad. When Lloyd and Diane hook up the summer after senior year they learn just what it means to grow up, fall in love and face difficult life choices.
One of my favorite teen romance movies, this gentle and fun update of Jane Austen’s Emma is an absolute gem. Sweet but rather silly high school princess Cher begins her matchmaking career by matching two teachers determined to give her less than stellar grades. Their successful union makes her a high school hero as the grading curve is positively influenced (in the student’s favor) by their happy hearts. The buzz from her success has Cher finding partners for all her friends, with occasionally hilarious results.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Great music, great acting and a wonderful story make this send up of The Taming of the Shrew a true classic. Cameron wants Bianca but she can’t date until Kat does. And Kat is one nasty, angry, angsty teen. Enter Patrick, a boy who has more violent rumors swirling around him than cheerleaders have pom-poms. A ridiculously complicated matchmaking scheme has Patrick and Kat treading the course to true love. Adore the scene with the paint ball fight.
She’s All That (1999)
When high school jock and all around cool guy Zack Tyler is dumped by his popular girlfriend he bets his buddies he can make any girl into prom queen material. Enter Laney Boggs, social zero who is average on just about every level but her art. Can love survive a dishonest and shaky start? Just thinking about the graduation cap scene brings a smile to my face.
This wonderful version of the classic musical stars John Travolta and Zac Efron, who sing and dance their hearts out while telling us a tale of unlikely high school hookups. Pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad loves to dance. But it seems several people plan to get in the way of that dream. Especially if it includes winning the heart of Link Larkin, the coolest guy in school. Great tunes, terrific dance numbers and a gentle and beautiful message about love crossing the barriers of size and color make this one a must see.
Easy A (2010)
Clean cut scholar Olive has always played by the rules. But using the high school rumor mill to help a friend shows her just how nasty being the target of gossip can be. Can she overcome a bad reputation to win the boy of her dreams? I still get a giggle from the boy who tried to pay her off with a discount at Bath and Body Works.
Of course this is just a very small sampling of the teen movies that have captured my heart over the years Which ones have captured yours?
– Maggie Boyd