Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Teen Comedies


It's Thursday, so that means it's another chance to dig into Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks!  This theme produced a bounty of options, like, SO MANY to choose from, because quit frankly there is one made every weekend.  That doesn't mean that there were a bounty of great choices, considering that this particular genre is all about quantity and not necessarily quality, but there are some really, really great ones.

But before we get into all that, it's April now, so let's recap:

March:
Black & White Movies (made since 1970)

February:

January:

And now for this week's theme:



Teen comedies have been a thing for decades, but I think we can all point to the 80's as the decade that kind of made them king.  So many that really struck a chord with America, and so it's no surprise that two of my three picks are 80's classics.  I even dug a little further and found an Oscar nominated Teen Comedy (Best Picture, no less).

And I have a bonus pick for you too!

American Graffiti
This may kind of be a stretch, but that's only kind of...I mean, the film is more reflective and soulful and calm than most comedies, but it is a comedy and it's downright funny in parts (lighthearted funny)...but most importantly, this movie is just so, SO GOOD!  The cast is all brilliant, with Dreyfuss delivering a star making turn (where was his Oscar nom?!?!) and a pre-Star Wars Lucas proving that he can direct tender and meaningful and poignant astonishingly well. 

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
I hate to admit that I kind of thought I would hate this movie when I sat down to watch it, but it's pretty much the quintesential teen comedy, when you think about it.  It encompasses everything that teen movies are supposed to be about and is just so damn likable/quotable/memorable!  That cast, that dialog, those characters, that scene...and that other scene...and then that scene...everything! 

Heathers
Before Mean Girls, there was Heathers.  Before Jawbreaker tried and failed, Heathers succeeded marvelously.  Yes, THIS MOVIE ROCKS!  Bitches, badasses, murderers, psychos, explosions...utter hilarity wrapped up in the movie that made Winona Ryder a star (and sports arguably her finest performance).   

BONUS

Not Another Teen Movie
LOL, like, this movie is so absurd and yet so hilariously conceptualized.  Like, the most memorable scenes from these teen comedies turned on their head...and then having Disney Princesses mocked in the process, like...effing brilliant!

34 comments:

  1. Great picks! I still have to watch Heathers, it seems like Winona Ryder was at her finest.

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    1. It's a star turn if I ever saw one, and probably my favorite performance of hers.

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  2. Interesting picks, haven't actually seen anyone (I find myself repeating this a lot this week)...really need to catch up with this genre.

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    1. I highly recommend American Graffiti. I thought I was going to hate it...but it's just beautiful!

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  3. I still have to finish Heathers. I know I've probably seen the whole thing in bits and pieces, but never in one sitting. It's in my Netflix queue.

    I like these picks. I've seen Fast Times so much that I'm a little sick of it, but it's definitely one of the best in that genre. and LOL to Not Another Teen Movie! I actually think I have that in one of my later themes. That movie is hilarious.

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    1. I will never get over the masturbation scene and the trivia fact that Judge was actually using a GIANT dildo that Phoebe wasn't aware of and that the shock and disgust on her face is genuine...

      ...and the fact that Spicoli has two Oscars.

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  4. I've heard praises about Not Another Teen Movie. Maybe it's a sign for me to finally watch the film.

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    1. It's film mockery at it's finest.

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  5. Great picks. I feel like we were all watching the same movies this week, which kind of makes it fun!

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  6. I'm ashamed to say except for Heathers, I haven't seen the rest of the picks. That screencap of Chris Evans is classic though.

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    1. Hungry?

      BAHAHAHA, that moment...like...they couldn't have spoofed that scene any better!

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  7. I still haven't seen American Graffiti and I kind of hate myself for it.

    Fast Times... and Heathers. YES. The 80s RULE.

    Not Another Teen Movie is so, so dumb, and I SO don't care. Mostly because of that shot of Chris Evans. But also because those 90s teen movies so needed spoofing (as much as I love them... hey, it's when I was a teen).

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    1. American Graffiti was a huge blindspot for me that I was actually OK with being blind because I thought I'd hate it...but then I watched it for Hit Me With Your Best Shot...and I absolutely LOVED it!

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  8. Excellent picks! American Graffiti never crossed my mind, I've never been a fan though I've revisited it a few times hoping that this time I won't be left with an indifferent feeling towards it, I always am. But it definitely fits even though it does have its somber vibe underlying.

    Even though the rest is fun Fast Times is all about Spicoli and Mr. Hand for me. Sean Penn has never been so relaxed on screen. Winona in Heathers is just great and even Christian Slater is appealing. I resisted Not Another Teen Movie for a long time since those spoofs can be moronic but it turned out to be funny.

    Mine this week with a couple extra:

    Fired Up! (2009)-Two high school jocks, played by two actors who are in their mid-twenties if they're a day, think they've discovered the perfect hunting ground for girls, Cheer Camp!! Zany, utterly ridiculous comedy has a game cast and two hilarious supporting performances by Juliette Goglia as Poppy, the mini tycoon sister of one of the main characters and John Michael Higgins as Coach Keith the clueless, hyperactively happy leader of the camp.

    Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991)-A breezy, silly comedy with good performances and a snappy pace. The whole setup is preposterous but once this one gets past its bumpy intro scenes it actually becomes a more focused story of a young girl finding her way through unexpected responsibilities. Christina Applegate, Joanna Cassidy and Keith Coogan make the film better than it should be.

    A Date with Judy (1948)-A time capsule of teen-hood in the movies in the 40's. Jane Powell and Elizabeth Taylor are best friends competing for the same guy, a young Robert Stack, and various other minor problems mixed in. Jane sings several songs along the way. The three young stars are good examples of the difficulties of transitioning out of childhood fame.

    Topline star Jane Powell had broken through as a sort of replacement teen Judy Garland. She's full of youthful exuberance but that very spryness became a type of prison limiting her casting and when musicals declined in popularity in the mid-fifties made it impossible for her to transition to other types of pictures, she remained an active performer but mostly on stage.

    Elizabeth Taylor, just 16 and a knockout, was just starting to flirt with adulthood on screen after a successful period as a child star, obviously she made the transition-within two years she had moved into adult roles and the superstardom that lasted until her death. Fun fact: she and Jane Powell were bridesmaids at each others first weddings-For Jane the first of five, for Liz the first of eight!

    Scotty Beckett as Jane's gangly boyfriend and Elizabeth's brother, the unfortunately named Oogie, a major child star during his youth was struggling to move into adult stardom. He couldn't make the leap and within the year started the long slide into trouble with the law, a drunk driving accident that left him crippled and drug addiction that ended in his suicide two decades later at 38. Along with Bobby Driscoll, a similarly successful child actor, he was the model for Disney's Peter Pan, whose career also faltered as he grew ending up a hopeless drug addict dying at 31 in an abandoned tenement in New York unknown, unclaimed and buried in Potter's Field, he's one of the more heartbreaking of Hollywood stories.

    Honorable Mentions-Can't Buy Me Love (1987)/She's All That (1999)-In Can't Buy Me Love when a nerd played by Patrick Dempsey realizes the most popular girl in school is in a spot he pays her to help him get noticed by the IN crowd. In She's All That jock Freddie Prinze, Jr. makes a bet that he can turn wallflower Rachael Leigh Cook into the prom queen. Best part-the prom turns into a full blown musical number with EVERYONE knowing the steps to a complicated dance routine!

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    1. Aw, I'm sad that you don't like American Graffiti. I just heart that movie so much.

      I love that you found a teen comedy from the 40's! Bringing the classic cinema! I also love the Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead mention. Saw that recently and really liked it.

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  9. Oh great choices and I still have not seen Fast Times or Heathers but it is on the list:) I like that you don't give anything away either but still give a great critique. I have to choose Beach Blanket Bingo because it is so ....so.... keen and groovy. I can't even picture kids like this back then. I also have to pick The Girl in the Invisible Bikini. I always loved those stupid motorcycle gang who would follow their leader who was not exactly bright. It also has Boris Karloff in it so it gets my vote. I will pick Ferris Bueller's Day Off. There are so many '80's teen comedies it is hard to pick which one but I have a soft spot for this one and it has something more meaningful than just surface crap. His friend especially has so much going on.

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    1. Well, now I want to see this girl with the invisible bikini!

      I love Ferris...such a great film. I almost went with that one too!

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  10. Somehow I missed seeing both American Graffiti and Fast Times -- maybe I should give them a try.

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  11. I have seen AG and FTaRH. But remember nothing. I have to watch them, and Dazed and Confuse, another one that I can't remember, again one of these days.

    Spoofs haven't really work for me. I saw I think the first two Scary Movies and didn't like them. Is NATM better than Scary Movie?

    Wandering through the Shelves

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    1. Spoofs really rarely work. I kind of loved Scary Movie, but the sequels were awful. Not Another Teen Movie is incredibly stupid, but it spoofs the best scenes from a catalog of films we've all seen, and so I think that helps make the spoof work, because we remember the source and so the spoof becomes funnier...we get it.

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  12. Love Fast Times and Heathers. The latter is just deliciously dark-hearted while Fast Times is classic for all the reasons you gave. You'll appreciate this, too. Out of what was then an almost totally unknown cast 3 guys went on to win Oscars for Best Actor (Penn, Whitaker, Cage). Jennifer Jason Leigh probably should've won one for Best Actress at some point. Even Judge Reinhold became a major part in some huge blockbuster hits.

    Not Another Teen Movie was okay, but I've forgotten everything about it except for the "foreign" chick walking around naked. Go figure. Somehow I haven't seen American Graffiti yet. I keep telling myself I am, but whenever I've had the chance I've passed it up for something else.

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    1. LOL! That naked chick is kind of the best part...when she sings and the cartoon birds land on her boobs!!!

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  13. Ah... Fast Times... what straight male doesn't enjoy that scene.

    Heathers is awesome. It's funny that Chris Evans would be introduced in a spoof film but managed to have a long career afterwards while a lot of the people in that film.... where are they?

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    1. LOL, that scene is kind of everything.

      Chris Evans career birth and sustenance is kind of...odd.

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  14. American Graffiti is a beautiful piece of cinema, man! And an excellent example of this genre. Fast Times at Ridgemont High only worked for me the first time. Even still, I quote Spicoli constantly with my best work friend. Phoebe Cates, too!!!! Heathers is dark comedy brilliance! I thought of this movie directed by the writer of that one when this topic came up. It's called Happy Campers. Did you ever see that one? It's really cool and nearly as dark.

    I have to give you some major cred for pulling out Not Another Teen Movie here. That is one of the only spoofs that really works as an actual movie.

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    1. I have never heard of Happy Campers. I'll have to check it out.

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  15. I loved American Graffiti and Heathers. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was just okay as far as I'm concerned, and I'm not at all interested in seeing Not Another Teen Movie -- especially after that disturbing screenshot you posted, haha Great picks.

    Mike's Cinema

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    1. LOL, Not Another Teen Movie is one of the better spoofs, to be honest, and that scene in particular is just hilarious!

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  16. Haha, great choices. It amazes me that Lucas doesn't get more credit for American Graffiti. I know Star Wars is/was huge, but AG is a masterpiece. Admittedly, I didn't love Heathers, but Ryder is great in it.

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    1. It may not be his most iconic film...but it may be his best.

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  17. So much YES to Heathers!! I love that movie. Parts of it may be dated, but it's still a cult classic!

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