It’s a busy time for teen movie anniversaries. “Heathers” is now 25 years old, “Mean Girls” is 10, and “Sixteen Candles” is turning 30… 30!
Our high school movie diagram (below) charts out where these classics of youth angst fall on the spectrum of teen movie reality — from the painfully real to the crazily surreal.
High school movie nostalgia has reached a fever pitch, and while the knee jerk reaction is to “feel old” about the aging of these films…and ourselves, instead, let’s celebrate how these movies cemented themselves in our teen brains.
Some of these benchmark films are relatable because they hit so close to home in a very real way. “Elephant,” for example, depicts a Columbine-like on-campus massacre. The perils of being a smart underclassman in love are explored in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
Others high school flicks cut to the core of our teen selves in spite of being, well, psychotropic — literally and figuratively — like Donnie Darko’s hallucination, which takes up the entire length of his namesake’s film, or the abundance of satirical suicide in “Heathers.”
Check out where your favorites fall on our chart above.
Infographic design by Jayme Perry, concept by Meriah Doty.