Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Teens in Tinseltown

After my teenage daughter left for school this morning, I went on my usual walk. 

I wore thermal leggings under my yoga pants, a quilted lining in my ski parka, fleece gloves and hat, plus two scarves — one around my neck, one tied tightly over my mouth and nose. 

It was 12-degrees, and even though the air was crisp and clear and the frozen harbor sparkled, my walk ... well ... it pretty much sucked.

Here in New England, winter is the perfect season to ski and skate and snowshoe. If you're so inclined. Myself? I'd rather be reclined. Temperatures dropping mean couches beckoning. 

Winter is the perfect season for an on-demand film festival. 

Sadly, video stores are few and far between these days. But, thanks to the combined magic of Fios, Netflix and Amazon Prime, I can pretty much find any movie I want. And, with my daughter's competition season still a few months away  we do sometimes find ourselves together in front of the TV. Recently we watched Love Actually (for about the three thousandth time).  

For future film festival reference (ours and yours), here are some of Hollywood's best teen girl titles.

Mean Girls
Pre-lunatic Lindsay Lohan is terrific in this inside look at high school politics and popularity. It was written by and co-stars the brilliant Tina Fey, so you can count on it being smart and funny.

The Hunger Games and Divergent
I'll list these together, because they're cinematic soulmates. Dystopian drama wouldn't be my thing if I weren't always looking for common ground with my own teen. And how can any feminist argue when the heroines are so heroic?

Easy A
With The Scarlet Letter as her inspiration, a fairly straight and literate young woman makes a name for herself (and amasses a wallet-ful of gift cards) pretending to be the school's raciest adulteress.

Funky teen finds out she's with child (thanks to single coupling with the world's nerdiest boyfriend) and decides to go through with the pregnancy and put the baby up for adoption. A movie pro-choicers and pro-lifers can agree on! 

High School Musical
Okay, this title may be better suited for tweens, but the singing and dancing (and singing and dancing and then some more singing and dancing) is so adorable. It predates (and outglees) Glee.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
This one's a little long and a little preachy at points, but the collection of denim-clad besties is diverse (well, not racially, of course; they're all white, white, white). Their quirky personalities and love for each other are endearing.

"Okay, so you’re probably going, “Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?” But seriously, Cher actually has a way normal life for a teenage girl. As if! And besides, a watch doesn't really go with her outfit."

Sixteen Candles
This one my daughter didn't dig so much, but I think 16-year old Samantha's birthday was as "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad" as any day Alexander ever had. Brutal bridesmaid dress, public panty humiliation. Bad but pretty funny.

Bend it Like Beckham
'Love this cross-culture girl-power story with Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (pre his stint on The Tudors). There aren't enough movies about girls and sports and this one is a winner on so many levels.

Dirty Dancing
My husband complains that this is always on, and it does seem to enjoy a fairly heavy cable rotation. I probably know it by heart (and we may even have the DVD somewhere), but I still have to stop and watch. No one puts Baby in a corner!

There were pretty much no teens in this classic teen movie from the late 70s. (I remember thinking 'They all look so old.' Now, of course, they look pretty young. And so it goes, right?) Regardless, it's still just so fun!

Actually, they're all so fun. Pass the microwave popcorn. (And if I've missed any, please post your favorite in the comments.)

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of Lovin' the Alien at  


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