Most adults today grew up knowing teen movies by heart. The 80’s had the Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and other John Hughes films. The 90’s had Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Cruel Intentions, and Empire Records. The noughties had EuroTrip, High School Musical, She’s the Man, Bring It On, and, of course, Mean Girls.
Most of these play with the most common teen flick tropes: high school setting, stereotypes, and a whole lot of pining. How come today’s teen films just don’t have the same feel anymore?
Let’s find out the answer to this question by looking closer at the genre and its evolution over the years.
What Happened to Teen Movies?
A lot of people are asking what really happened to teen movies. Back in the day, they were big and almost everyone you know is looking forward to them. Today, the ones you hear of don’t feel like they actually made a buzz.
To be fair, one of the most likely explanations for this is the fact that you got older. You’re not the target audience of these movies anymore if you’re already well into your twenties and thirties. It means that the marketing efforts of these movies are working because they’re not wasting their resources to reach people who aren’t in the age range of their target audience.
Then there’s also the fact that teens today don’t really have the same stereotypes portrayed in the teen movies of old. As 21 Jump Street demonstrated, nerds and geeks aren’t as ostracized as before since their interests are widely shared by the general populace nowadays. The divide between kids who like specific kinds of music is also not there anymore.
While social politics is still very much present nowadays, there has been a significant shift. The old stereotypes don’t necessarily apply anymore, although, they do have newer ones. These make the older teen movies feel quite archaic to today’s younger generation.
Some also speculate that teenagers aren’t the best target audience for movies anymore. With high-speed internet being easily available and a whole bunch of teen-oriented TV series, most of them might just prefer binge watching at home rather than go out.
Teen Movies Today
With the points mentioned above, it’s easy to see that teen movies didn’t necessarily die. They just took on a different form that is relatively alien to adults. This made a lot of folks wonder what happened and where the teen movies they know and love went.
Today, instead of promoting stereotypes, the most popular forms of teen flicks are adaptations of YA novels. Sure, there are still a few high school-themed releases that have made their mark with the younger audiences. In the recent years, however, YA novel adaptations made up the bulk of teen films that attracted adult viewers.
These YA novel adaptations don’t necessarily adhere to old teen movie tropes, though. In fact, the biggest box office hits in the recent years (The Hunger Games, Twilight series, and The Fault in Our Stars) are also classified as fantasy, adventure, and drama films. So it’s perfectly understandable for adults to miss the genre they know and love.
If there’s one thing that remains, however, is that romance is still a very common theme in today’s teen films. So if you enjoy young love and meet-cutes there’s still a good chance that you’ll find such in the latest movies made for and starring teens.
5 Upcoming Teen Movies You Should Look Forward To
Want to see a teen movie at your favorite Malco location sometime soon? Here are a few upcoming releases that can reintroduce you to teen flicks:
The Hate U Give
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall
This film centers on a teenage girl who became drawn to activism after witnessing a police officer shoot her friend. It’s a crime drama thriller that won’t just attract teen viewers.
The Darkest Minds
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie
This is a sci-fi thriller/adventure teen flick that features a group of teenagers who are running from the government after they acquired superpowers.
X-Men: The New Mutants
Starring: Maisie Williams, Alicia Braga, Anya Taylor-Joy
This movie presents another dimension to the X-Men franchise that fans shouldn’t miss.
Starring: Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, Kelvin Harrison
This is another loaded movie that tells about the story of a teenage boy who is on trial for murder. It’s lead actor, Kelvin Harrison, is considered as Sundance’s breakout star so a lot of people are looking forward to seeing this release in theaters.
Starring: Jaden Smith, Rachelle Vinberg
Proving that girls can definitely do anything, this women-led coming-of-age film features skateboarding teen girls. Not a lot of films feature such characters, so this might just be one of the freshest teen flicks of the year.