Top Five - Teen Films 2004-2014

FILM | by Andrew Shawley | in Top Fives | 22nd January 2014 - 01:00
With 2014 comes the acknowledgement that it has been a full decade since 2004. Over the course of the décennie there have been some fantastic motion pictures aimed towards the teen/young adult market. These films have not only resonated with their target audience but some have been critically acknowledged too, proving that teen films should not be sniffed at.

Click on the numbers to reveal.

 5. Mean Girls (2004)

At number five we have the modern classic, Mean Girls. Despite being almost solely marketed towards the female teen demographic, the film has connected with not only with older women but men too. Mean Girls is a bizarre example of a 'girly' film that male teenagers can also sit through without smashing their brains out. The sharp wit of the actors and the quote abundant script, penned so brilliantly by Tina Fey, manages to capture the quintessential modern American High School experience. Though the stereotypes of contemporary teenage girls are vastly exaggerated, the film does state a message about the expectations and pressures on young women and the issues that entail.

4. Superbad (2007)

The film that launched Jonah Hill's now twice Academy Award Nominated career, Superbad is a fine example of how a trio comedy can work on comedic and emotional levels. While such films as Project X and 21 & Over have tried to emulate the success of Superbad, they have failed to inject as much heart as Superbad contained in its masterful script and its wonderful, Greg Mottola direction. The chemistry between the central three (Hill, Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse) was tangible and was one of the main reasons why the film worked so well. "McLovin" goes down as one of the greatest comedy characters of modern times and seven years later the jokes and general, Rogen-Goldberg humour of Superbad still rings true.

3. Easy A (2010)

Coming in at number three is Emma Stone's breakout film, Easy A, the modern retelling of the frequently referenced, "The Scarlet Letter". The film deals with the issues of rumours and expectations of young women nowadays, in a more down to earth way than Mean Girls ever does. This does not mean to say that it is not funny, it is hilarious at times and Amanda Bynes' final performance before her much published breakdown, is one to savour. The film went on to be a critical success as well as a financial one, making just under $75 million at the box office. The film ticks all the boxes that a teen film should: friendship, young love, pressures and self-exploration.

2. Juno (2007)

This highly intelligent, superbly acted comedy-drama took everyone by surprise back in 2007. Starring a breakout performance for lead actress Ellen Page, the film explores the relevant theme of unplanned, teenage pregnancy, a subject that was highly topical at the time of release. This lead to the film being a huge success, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and garnering nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress. The film also did exceedingly well at the box office making $231,411,584 on a budget of just $6.5 - $7 million, proving that there was a mass appeal for a film that dealt with the teenage pregnancy subject matter. Juno herself was also seen as a feminist icon due to her intelligence and confidence and the irrelevancy of men to her especially Paulie Bleeker, the father. The film came top of esteemed late critic Roger Ebert's best films of 2007 list.

1. Adventureland (2009)

Though the film deals with recent graduates, Adventureland is the archetypal example of a teen film. At its heart Adventureland is a coming of age drama. Set in the late 80s, the film follows James Brennan, a young man who has not found his place in life. He gets a part-time job at a theme park and learns more about himself than he ever expected. The film is based partly on writer-director Greg Mottola's own experiences and this comes through in the exceptional care given to the film. It is a wonderfully crafted and acted film. A pre-Zuckerberg Jesse Eisenberg is terrific in the lead role and Kristen Stewart is surprisingly brilliant as the troubled love interest. This sweet and nostalgic film is one that all teens should see at least once.

About the author: Andrew Shawley

The Owner, Developer and Editor of, Andrew is a Filmmaker and Developer with a passion for Television and Video Games as well as Film.

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