Offbeat Teen Moviesby elizdere | created - 27 Mar 2016 | updated - 1 month ago | Public
This is a list for people who want to dig beyond the John Hughes movies, beyond the typical but somewhat clichéd teen movie to find something original or realistic or genuine. These are films about fitting in, making friends, falling in love, finding your purpose, or just figuring things out. Not every movie here is appropriate for every teenager, so read up on them. But they all offer something off the beaten path for those currently in their adolescence and those who have made it past those complicated years.
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1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
PG-13 | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.
Votes: 117,544 | Gross: $6.74M
Don't let the quirky characters and cheeky videos fool you; this movie is high impact. I can only hope the book is as good.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Romance
An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.
Votes: 437,516 | Gross: $17.74M
Just as good as the book. You won't want the emotional journey to end.
3. Rocket Science (2007)
R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama
Looking for answers to life's big questions, a stuttering boy joins his high school debate team.
Votes: 12,709 | Gross: $0.71M
5. Whip It (2009)
PG-13 | 111 min | Drama, Sport
In Bodeen, Texas, an indie-rock loving misfit finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin.
Votes: 62,353 | Gross: $13.04M
6. Heathers (1989)
R | 103 min | Comedy, Crime
In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.
Votes: 83,169 | Gross: $1.11M
Classic black comedy. Over the top and entertaining, but not for the weak.
9. Sweet Sixteen (I) (2002)
R | 106 min | Crime, Drama
Determined to have a normal family life once his mother gets out of prison, a Scottish teenager from a tough background sets out to raise the money for a home.
Votes: 12,492 | Gross: $0.03M
10. Ghost World (2001)
R | 111 min | Comedy, Drama
With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.
Votes: 109,667 | Gross: $6.22M
11. Donnie Darko (2001)
R | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.
Votes: 717,126 | Gross: $1.48M
Dark and twisty. Contemplative is probably the best word for it.
12. It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
PG-13 | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward.
Votes: 129,988 | Gross: $6.35M
13. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)
PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
High school student Nick O'Leary, member of the Queercore band The Jerk Offs, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg when she asks him to be her boyfriend for five minutes.
Votes: 86,514 | Gross: $31.49M
14. Adventureland (2009)
R | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
In the summer of 1987, a college graduate takes a 'nowhere' job at his local amusement park, only to find it's the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world.
Votes: 149,278 | Gross: $16.03M
15. Superbad (2007)
R | 113 min | Comedy
Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.
Votes: 501,582 | Gross: $121.46M
Hilarious. Their friendship is absolutely adorable.
16. Easy A (2010)
PG-13 | 92 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A clean-cut high school student relies on the school's rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.
Votes: 342,999 | Gross: $58.40M
Emma Stone is spot on, the kind of girl we all probably want to be in high school.
17. This Is England (2006)
Not Rated | 101 min | Crime, Drama
A young boy becomes friends with a gang of skinheads. Friends soon become like family, and relationships will be pushed to the very limit.
Votes: 112,604 | Gross: $0.33M
A young boy seeks friendship with a group of skinheads. Heavy stuff, but the need for connection is universal.
18. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
R | 97 min | Comedy, Romance
Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, a group of counselors try to complete their unfinished business before the day ends.
Votes: 52,138 | Gross: $0.29M
Fantastic teen ensemble comedy. Lots of fun characters and hijinks.
19. Kick-Ass (2010)
R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a superhero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.
Votes: 511,254 | Gross: $48.07M
20. Submarine (2010)
R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
15-year-old Oliver Tate has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life.
Votes: 82,455 | Gross: $0.47M
21. Rushmore (1998)
R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama
The extracurricular king of Rushmore Preparatory School is put on academic probation.
Votes: 162,448 | Gross: $17.11M
Not one of Wes Anderson's most likable characters, but that's part of the point. A bunch of hard to like people struggling when they discover they like someone and want to be liked back.
22. Saved! (2004)
PG-13 | 92 min | Comedy, Drama
When a girl attending a Christian high school becomes pregnant, she finds herself ostracized and demonized, as all of her former friends turn on her.
Votes: 43,754 | Gross: $8.94M
23. Clueless (1995)
PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Romance
A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil's popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way.
Votes: 166,620 | Gross: $56.63M
This film is in a world of its own, from the clothes to the lingo, everything is interesting and memorable, but with imperfect characters you really care about. Loosely based on Jane Austen's Emma.
24. The Bling Ring (2013)
R | 90 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes.
Votes: 80,227 | Gross: $5.84M
25. Thirteen (2003)
R | 100 min | Drama
A thirteen-year-old girl's relationship with her mother is put to the test as she discovers drugs, sex, and petty crime in the company of her cool but troubled best friend.
Votes: 77,479 | Gross: $4.60M
Explores the darkest sides of adolescence, one that you hope never to have any experiences with.
26. The Virgin Suicides (1999)
R | 97 min | Drama, Romance
A group of male friends become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents in suburban Detroit in the mid 1970s.
Votes: 138,528 | Gross: $4.86M
27. Running with Scissors (2006)
R | 116 min | Comedy, Drama
Young Augusten Burroughs absorbs experiences that could make for a shocking memoir: the son of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he's handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch, and spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family.
Votes: 21,558 | Gross: $6.75M
28. The Life Before Her Eyes (2007)
R | 90 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
A woman's survivor's guilt from a Columbine-like event twenty years ago causes her present-day idyllic life to fall apart.
Votes: 13,312 | Gross: $0.30M
29. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
R | 106 min | Drama
In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.
Votes: 110,813 | Gross: $13.62M
Realistic look at teenage boys in Mexico, doing everything that guys do at that age: smoke weed, masturbate, have sex, hang out, and try to figure out what they're doing. Also, it's a beautifully shot road trip.
30. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
R | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother's boyfriend.
Votes: 28,227 | Gross: $1.48M
Great exploration of a teenage girl's sexuality. Nice change of pace compared to focusing on the man's side of things.
31. Election (1999)
R | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.
Votes: 85,887 | Gross: $14.88M
Another black comedy. Absolutely brutal.
32. October Sky (1999)
PG | 108 min | Biography, Drama, Family
The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes.
Votes: 78,181 | Gross: $32.48M
Based on the memoir, Rocket Boys. It's a bit more straightforward than other films on this list, but it's inspiring and sincere and not everyone's go-to teen film.
33. Sing Street (2016)
PG-13 | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.
Votes: 79,825 | Gross: $3.24M
35. Empire Records (1995)
PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
Twenty-four hours in the lives of the young employees at Empire Records when they all grow up and become young adults thanks to each other and the manager. They all face the store joining a chain store with strict rules.
Votes: 47,267 | Gross: $0.30M
36. Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018)
PG-13 | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A case of mistaken identity results in unexpected romance when the most popular girl in high school and the biggest loser must come together to win over their crushes.