Teen flicks have had a rep for being fluff since the days when Annette and Frankie were playing beach blanket bingo. But there are many adolescent movies that are far more than teenybopper fare. Sophisticated humor, adult situations, and cerebral subject matter make the following five flicks equally suitable for mature audiences.
In this hilarious adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, Alicia Silverstone is a rich, teenage airhead who plays matchmaker — until she realizes she wants a love of her own.
Why teens like it: Alicia Silverstone is adorable! Girls want to be her. Boys want to date her.
Why adults like it, too: Hysterical one-liners mocking pubescence, most of which are lost on your average teen viewer.
Wynona Ryder and Christian Slater headline this black comedy about social conformity, serial killing, and an insane high-school feudal system.
Why teens like it: What kid hasn’t dream of taking down bullies or bitchy cliques? Unless you’re one of the in-crowd, revenge here is sweet.
Why adults like it, too: What a great reminder to grown-ups that their best years are not behind them.
Red Dawn (1984)
A fresh-faced cast of Hollywood hunks (Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze) learn how to kill Commies who are invading the U.S.A.
Why teens like it: Teachers are executed, parents are locked away, and teens turn into freedom fighters. If only!
Why adults like it, too: Red Dawn is actually a campy character-driven war drama in which the underdogs are fighting the good fight. Isn’t that true in real life too?
Cold War politics and nuclear menace take center stage when a computer whiz (Matthew Broderick) accidentally sets off World War III with his Apple IIe.
Why teens like it: An ordinary if supercute kid has the power to save the world — and also get the girl. The ultimate fantasy.
Why adults like it, too: Because grownups remember a time when the possibility of atomic annihilation felt around the corner and wasn’t just relegated to movies.
Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
In director Todd Solondz’s debut feature, a 7th-grade nerd is humiliated by teachers, classmates, and her own family.
Why teens like it: It’s a relief to know that your life could never be as bad as Dawn’s.
Why adults like it, too: Ditto.