The Top Ten Angsty Movie Teenagers
The best thing that ever happened to Hollywood was J.D. Salinger's refusal to turn The Catcher in the Rye into a movie. If he’d simply said “yeah, sure, where do I sign, Daddy needs a new tank full of bannafish” Hollywood would have made it, it would have stunk, Hollywood would have thought “this whole troubled teen thing is just a fad like those Eragon books and Howard the Duck” and angst-ridden teenagers would be as common on the big screen today as female action heroes or Bill Cosby. Instead Salinger kept his book and moved into a shack, Hollywood said “eh, let’s just rip off the basic idea” and today sulky teenagers with heavy issues are as common on the big screen as they are in shopping centre food courts. This week, The Perks of Being a Wallflower hit cinemas, and, based on Stephen Chbosky's novel that chronicles "an introvert freshman taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world" we look back at our top 10 apprehensive on-screen adolescents.
10. Rebel Without a Cause
Presumably it would've been at least possible for teen angst to have become a thing in movies without it being permanently linked to some pretty heavy over-acting. But in our universe, James Dean’s startlingly scenery-crushing method acting - symbolising the way today’s yoof (okay, 1955's youth) were completely alien to their stuffy elders - would be forever linked to the way troubled teens are shown on the big screen. Can you blame him when said elders were The Chief in Get Smart and Thurston Howell the Third from Gilligan’s Island, though? Dean also inspired Fry’s outfit on Futurama, which, let’s be honest, more of us have seen than this film.
9. Say Anything
When people say that John Cusack embodies a certain kind of teenage experience, this is the film they’re thinking of. He’s not even that angsty here – yeah, he’s got to work to get the girl, but he gets the girl pretty early on so all he’s got to do after that is keep her, which isn’t all that easy between her dodgy dad and Europe calling – but as teen romance movies go this is pure uncut awesome. So really, when it comes to teen angst, the teenager being angsty is the one watching the movie (that’s you) when you burst into tears during the boombox scene. Did I mention this film is awesome?