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General discussion about what's out for the couch.
274

Movies for and about Teens n' Middle Schoolers
Topic by: underdog
Posted: February 3, 2006 - 3:26 PM PST
Last Reply: February 6, 2006 - 2:05 PM PST

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author topic: Movies for and about Teens n' Middle Schoolers
underdog
post #1  on February 3, 2006 - 3:26 PM PST  
Hey all,
I'm co-teaching a workshop for middle-school age kids on writing about film (film reviews, whatever you want to call them). It's going to be a fun class. We'll watch movie clips, one-full length movie, read reviews aloud, and the kids will write their own movies. They wanted us to focus this a bit so the kids would be particularly into it, so that's why it's specifically teen-themed films.

Hopefully, if it all works out, we'll collect the best of them and then make a booklet and a web site/blog for them.

Anyway, I'll post the list of teen/coming of age-themed films we came up with to recommend to the kids for review. Some of these we'll show clips from and they probably won't watch on their own. This is after some debate with the workshop coordinators on what would constitute a good, diverse list of films, and after eliminating some we love that are too R-rated for this crowd (still a few R-rated titles on here, but ones we and they thought barely deserved their R rating).

If you have any suggestions for other teen-themed films to add to this list, keeping in mind the above criteria, let us know! Which films would you show a 12-15 yr old that would be stimulating for them to write about?

And which films did you love when you were that age? Whenever that was...
underdog
post #2  on February 3, 2006 - 3:27 PM PST  
And here's the list as of now:

Mad Hot Ballroom
Manny & Lo
Bring It On
Freaks and Geeks
Hoop Dreams
I'm Not Scared
Mean Creek
Mean Girls
Napoleon Dynamite
Our Song
Promises
Raising Victor Vargas
Remember the Titans
Rushmore
Whale Rider
Last Picture Show
Breaking Away
10 Things I Hate About You
Pleasantville
Rebel Without a Cause
Rabbit Proof Fence
hamano
post #3  on February 3, 2006 - 4:50 PM PST  
Looks fine, but you should check to make sure the films don't have to be "parent-friendly"... we know you and the kids are okay with Napoleon Dynamite and Mean Girls, but how about the kids' parents? You don't want to land the teacher in hot water with the school board.

If you're sure you have a bunch of sophisticated kids with cool parents, you might want to throw in Saved! which was really cute.

Hey, where's Footloose?? Good thing Reckless (Aidan Quinn, Daryl Hannah) isn't available here... That's probably too hot.

I came of age with Molly Ringwald...
The Breakfast Club
Sixteen Candles
Pretty in Pink

Well, actually it was Bertolucci's LUNA, but hey, how about Valley Girl? Great music!

If you're really talking "coming of age" there's always Blue Lagoon but I bet the parents aren't THAT cool, since you didn't inclued Fast Times... If that was just an oversight, try Thirteen and Gas Food Lodging.

This movie is about a plucky orphan girl...
hamano
post #4  on February 3, 2006 - 4:57 PM PST  
Did this film really lead to Columbine? Discuss.
hamano
post #5  on February 3, 2006 - 5:04 PM PST  
Does it have to be American? I guess not if Whale Rider is there. Billy Elliot is more down to earth...

And if you're including Mean Girls, how about Clueless? It's Jane Austin!
underdog
post #6  on February 3, 2006 - 5:08 PM PST  
> On February 3, 2006 - 5:04 PM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Does it have to be American? I guess not if Whale Rider is there. Billy Elliot is more down to earth...
>
> And if you're including Mean Girls, how about Clueless? It's Jane Austin!
> ---------------------------------


Yeah, Billy Elliot's a great suggestion!

True - I had Clueless on the original list. I don't know why the others weren't as hot on it. Maybe I should add it, or maybe it's too redundant with some of the others... Maybe we felt like everyone's seen it already. We wanted to introduce them to some films they may not have seen already.

hamano
post #7  on February 3, 2006 - 5:12 PM PST  
Flirting is a good one from Down Under. And there's Gregory's Girl from Scotland.

I liked Mermaids but I guess that's more of a "family" film than a "school" film...
underdog
post #8  on February 3, 2006 - 5:13 PM PST  
> On February 3, 2006 - 4:50 PM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Looks fine, but you should check to make sure the films don't have to be "parent-friendly"... we know you and the kids are okay with Napoleon Dynamite and Mean Girls, but how about the kids' parents? You don't want to land the teacher in hot water with the school board.
>

Yeah, the school approved this list so hopefully we won't be sued. ;-) But we do have a waiver form and will talk with them about each film first.

Napoleon Dynamite, what was risky in that one? It was made by Churchgoing Mormons who are against cursing! Gosh!

> If you're sure you have a bunch of sophisticated kids with cool parents, you might want to throw in Saved! which was really cute.
>

I liked Saved! and had it on the original list, but wasn't there some controversial, R-rated stuff in there, too? Abortions and sex and so on...

They were trying to steer us away from some "dated" movies, or older ones - better to connect them to more recent fare. Except for some classics. But that meant removing a lot of my favorites, too.


> If you're really talking "coming of age" there's always Blue Lagoon but I bet the parents aren't THAT cool, since you didn't inclued Fast Times... If that was just an oversight, try Thirteen and Gas Food Lodging.
>

Yeah, Thirteen - too controversial. Fast Times was on my list but that and Dazed and Confused had to go. :-( Oh well, when we do this class again when they're a couple of years older...

Gas Food Lodging was a good one... I can't remember it in great detail. Girls may like it. Is there anything too adult in it?

Thanks for the ideas and thoughts! This is tricky business. But should be fun ultimately!
underdog
post #9  on February 3, 2006 - 5:15 PM PST  
Oh, and I love Gregory's Girl, too. I wonder how they'd like that one... It's very 80s in some ways and also very Scottish. I remember having trouble understanding their accents, but not as badly as in his first film, That Sinking Feeling, in which you need to turn subtitles on!

Flirting is a great suggestion! I'm adding that to the list. Hm, I wonder about The Year My Voice Broke, too.

C
hamano
post #10  on February 3, 2006 - 5:19 PM PST  
In Country might have resonance for these IRAQ era kids.
Grave of the Fireflies might be a bit much. Evangelion and Sailor Moon are about 14-year olds! But probably no, eh?


Days of Heaven is a great story told from the pov of a young girl.
hamano
post #11  on February 3, 2006 - 5:49 PM PST  
> On February 3, 2006 - 5:13 PM PST underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Napoleon Dynamite, what was risky in that one? It was made by Churchgoing Mormons who are against cursing! Gosh!

Exactly! My parents would never have let me watch it!
^_^

> I liked Saved! and had it on the original list, but wasn't there some controversial, R-rated stuff in there, too? Abortions and sex and so on...

You threw me with Mean Girls (a lot of talk about sex in it) and The Last Picture Show (Cybill Shepherd!) These are MIDDLE school kids, right? My nephews are in middle school.... admittedly Baltimore ain't as worldly as San Francisco, but we have John Waters. I think my nephews will be "confused" by seeing Cybill Shepherd like that. Middle school is that fuzzy age when kids aren't necessarily preoccupied by "coming of age" themes, which seems to be the main plot point of many of the films here. These kids are imaginative, too, so it might be better to skew to non-school films, if the aim is for them to write scripts and write criticism... like The Jungle Book, a film made FOR middle schoolers.

> Gas Food Lodging was a good one... I can't remember it in great detail. Girls may like it. Is there anything too adult in it?

A bit of that losing virginity thing, I seem to recall. I can't remember if it was depicted chastely or not...
hamano
post #12  on February 3, 2006 - 5:58 PM PST  
Stand by Me?

Stand and Deliver?
hamano
post #13  on February 3, 2006 - 6:00 PM PST  
Spellbound?
hamano
post #14  on February 3, 2006 - 6:03 PM PST  
My Life as a Dog!!
hamano
post #15  on February 3, 2006 - 6:05 PM PST  
Chick Flick ALERT!
hamano
post #16  on February 3, 2006 - 6:14 PM PST  
Not One Less would be a great entry from China.

Marzieh Meshkini's The Day I Became a Woman doesn't seem to be available here, but it would be a good Iranian entry.
hamano
post #17  on February 3, 2006 - 6:20 PM PST  

Show Me Love
is a really good one from Sweden. Good thing they didn't use the original title...
hamano
post #18  on February 3, 2006 - 6:54 PM PST  
Welcome to the Dollhouse was rated R wasn't it.... and White Oleander was PG-13?

The Yearling... classic "coming of age"...

If we can get away from school themed films and look at the crazy world of adults from a child's POV, we can put in The Bicycle Thief and maybe Pelle the Conqueror...
hamano
post #19  on February 3, 2006 - 6:59 PM PST  
Oh, don't forget Walkabout... Sure there's Jenny Agutter goodness that might be too good for middle school kids, but nobody does anything naughty. And your dad took YOU to see it, right?
hamano
post #20  on February 3, 2006 - 7:03 PM PST  
This one looks pretty cool...
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