Writing by Christina Woodford // Illustration by Nazifatur Rahmi
Teen movies are the best. From teen classics The Breakfast Club, Clueless, and Mean Girls to modern gems such as The Duff and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, there are just so many great ones to watch. But what about the ones that are bad? So bad. So bad that they’re actually kind of the best? These are the movies you watch when you’re tired or sick or have a huge bowl of popcorn on a couch with your BFF. Here’s a few to add to your guilty pleasure watching list…
1) Space Camp (1986)
So, it’s the 80s and a bunch of teen stereotypes all go to space camp (yes, apparently that’s a real thing) and they accidentally get launched into space. I’m not even kidding. Worst idea for a movie ever? Yes. Totally ridiculous and unbelievable scenario? Yes. Camp shenanigans? Yes. Cheesy 80s clothes and hair? Yes. Starring 80s teen-idols Tate Donovan, Kelly Preston, Lea Thompson and Joaquin Phoenix? Yes. Truly terrible? Yes. Strangely impossible to stop watching the 80s fabulousness of it all? Absolutely.
2) Drive Me Crazy (1999)
Starring 90s teen TV superstar Melissa Joan Hart and future Entourage leader Adrian Grenier, this film was made at the height of the 90s teen movie craze and basically ripped off every other teen movie at the time. There’s the perky go-getting student Nicole (Joan Hart) and the LITERAL boy-next-door Chase (Grenier). Of course they used to be best friends but now she’s running school pep rallies and he’s the artsy rebel and they communicate through occasional waves via their bedroom windows that face each other. But after Nicole’s crush starts dating a cheerleader and Chase’s girlfriend dumps him, they join forces to convince everyone they’re dating, become the school’s new ‘IT’ couple and get their beau’s back. What do you think the chances are that they’ll fall in love along the way? There’s school pranks, jealous friends, big parties and, of course, prom. It’s terrible and yet…it’s just so so good.
3) Centrestage (2000)
Take a bunch of teens and put them in the incredibly competitive and bitchy American Ballet School. Watch drama unfold. With pretty ballet. Lots of pretty ballet. Naïve and sweet Jody just gets accepted into the school and finds herself under scrutiny from the company’s director who doesn’t think she’s up to standard. She’s also torn between her crush on the company’s big ballet superstar, Cooper, and her loveable classmate Charlie. There’s also a young Zoe Saldana starring as the brilliant dancer who can’t get ahead because of her tough attitude (and a subtle hint at the lack of diversity in dance). The film has some amazing choreography in it and genuinely shows the darker side of ballet but it’s cheesy lines and the almost sickly sweet lead Jody that keep this film on the worst side of teen movies. It is those things exactly though, the over-the-top dancing mixed with the cheesy lines that make this film a must-watch for guilty pleasure movie fans.
4) She’s the Man (2006)
Ahhh, She’s the Man. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched this movie. A lot. It’s awesome. But also terrible. But also really awesome. But also really, really terrible. A loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night, the film stars Amanda Bynes (remember her, anyone?) as soccer-obsessed Viola. When her school’s girls soccer team is cancelled to make way for the boys team, Viola decides to take her twin brother Sebastian’s place at his all boys boarding school and become the star soccer player there to prove a point. She moves in and her roommate and soccer teammate is adorkable jock Duke, a pre-famous Channing Tatum. Viola struggles to balance life as a girl pretending to be a boy. Which gets even more complicated when Duke’s crush falls for Sebastian (aka Viola). And then even more complicated when Viola (aka. Sebastian) develops her own feelings for Duke. It makes more sense when you watch it. Yes, it’s complicated but, trust me, it’s amazing.
5) Twilight (2008)
Is this a controversial choice? I don’t think so. Even if you LOVE the Twilight series, you have to admit the films were awful. Let’s recap the first film: Introverted teen Bella moves to a rainy town surrounded by super green forest. She meets a super creepy but super hot guy and falls for him. He tells her he’s a vampire and spends all their time together trying not to suck her blood until she dies. She’s cool with it. They overcome typical teen obstacles like running away from other vampires who for some reason make it their life’s mission to kill Bella. Yeah. Twilight is bad. However, it’s bad in kind of a good way. It’s cute, awkward, has dramatic scenery and just the right amount of silent, longing looks that you want in a teen vampire movie. Plus it has R-Patz and his perfectly ruffled hair. Whether you watch it as your guilty pleasure or to laugh at it – you still watch it.
6) Wild Child (2008)
Take a cocky Malibu misfit from America and put her in an Enid Blyton style English boarding school and what do you get? You get this movie and it’s terrible but also really endearing and adorable. Emma Roberts stars as a rich rebellious 16-year-old Poppy whose father sends her to English boarding school as punishment for her wild antics. She instantly makes it her mission to do whatever she can to get expelled, but of course Poppy makes some loveable friends and crushes on the school principal’s cute son along the way. The sheer exploitation of ‘British-ness’ in this film is awkward. So awkward. Poppy’s new friends say ‘English’ slang that definitely isn’t a real thing and the head girl/nemesis sucks up to the school’s principle by presenting her with pheasants. Pheasants. I’m not even kidding. If you can look past all of this and the formulaic plot, the film has real heart. I dare you to watch it and not want to instantly hang out with Poppy and her adorable British friends.[share]