Yes, Another Teen Movie!
This month I list my picks of the “teen” movies currently available on Netflix UK & Ireland.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
dir. John Hughes – ★★★★★
I’m not really a big fan of the John Hughes canon but this was one of my favourite movies as a young lad and it’s almost unthinkable that there’s a whole generation out there who might not know this film even exists.
Matthew Broderick stars as the eponymous “hero” of the film, who decides he’s not going to school and has an elaborate plan in place to make sure he gets away with it. However, he’s tried pulling this off a few too many times before and the school principal decides he’s going to catch him out no matter what it takes. The film works for a few reasons but mainly because it’s really funny, has bucket loads of charm and great set pieces built into it. It also captures that bittersweet moment that the best coming of age movies always seem to, when teens have to grow up a bit and sometimes have to prepare for a parting of the ways as they enter adulthood. It’s also funny how my opinion of the movie has changed as I’ve gotten older as well, you start to hero worship Ferris less and less each time and be more on Cameron’s wavelength of thinking and sometimes even willing Ferris to get caught, the cheeky git!
dir. Richard Kelly – ★★★★½
Richard Kelly’s debut centres on the plight of Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) a troubled teenager who has visions of a six foot bunny rabbit (this ain’t Harvey though) who one night causes Donnie to sleepwalk and leave his house.
The Rabbit tells Donnie that the world will end in 28 days and when Donnie wakes up he finds out that a plane engine had landed on his bedroom while he was out. The film makes thing as clear as mud and is all the more intriguing for it. There’s an amazing sense of dread or doom throughout the film and it also boasts one of Patrick Swayze’s best performances.
I also recommend you watch the original rather than the Director’s cut (both available); the original leaves more to your imagination, is shorter and also has Echo and The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” as an opener, the Director’s cut does have more special effects, better sound mixing and score though.
dir. Amy Heckerling – ★★★★
A film now celebrating its 20th anniversary believe it or not, Alicia Silverstone (in her breakthrough role) plays Cher an over privileged Valley Girl navigating her way through her teen and high school life. After a bout of matchmaking makes her feel good, she takes a new young student under her wing and teaches her to be cool as a way of giving back to the community.
There was a wave of literary classics being turned into very modern teen movies in the 90’s and Clueless was one of them, based on Jane Austen’s “Emma”. While a lot of the jokes are about the superficiality, vanity and, eh well I suppose cluelessness of the characters, there is real heart here on show. Its real strong point however is the dialogue with gems such as “Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.” and “Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value.”
The film also starred Paull Rudd, Brittany Murphy, Dan Hedaya and Donald Faison and was directed by Amy Heckerling whose films I seem to have a soft spot for, I even owned “Loser” on VHS, true story.
Wet Hot American Summer
dir. David Wain – ★★★★
Now this is worth getting into for a number of reasons, mainly because it’s great fun but also because Netflix are launching the prequel series at the end of this month. The film, a bona fide cult classic in the U.S., is a parody of summer camp movies that were prevalent for a while, so it will help if you’ve seen some of them but the comedy is quite surreal and self-contained anyway. It’s the last day of camp and the camp counsellors are tying up their love lives and finishing up their work before its back to normality.
The jokes come thick and fast and the film has its own internal logic that works if you go with it, and also has one of the great comedy montages halfway through. The cast list is incredible, it was made in 2001 and featured members of The State, an MTV sketch show full of faces you’d recognise nowadays, Janeane Garofolo, David Hyde Pierce and also starred Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks. Christopher Meloni from Law & Order SVU steals the show though as the unhinged chef.
Latest posts by Mick McGovern (see all)
- ADIFF Reviews: Departure // 100 Yen Love // Time Out of Mind // Miles Ahead // Son of Saul // Viva - March 2, 2016
- ADIFF Reviews: Anomalisa // Green Room // My King (Mon Roi) - March 1, 2016
- ADIFF Reviews: Truth // Louder Than Bombs // The Truth Commissioner // The Brand New Testament // High-Rise - February 24, 2016
- ADIFF Reviews: Maggie’s Plan // Hail, Caesar! // Nasty Baby - February 23, 2016