There is something endlessly soothing about teen movies, regardless of whether they’re good or bad. They’re comfort food that all hit on familiar, predictable territory, but they fill a necessary niche. Even the snootiest of cinephiles have likely vegged out to a silly teen movie at some point in their life. They speak to the human experience, and even though romantic comedies connect to people on a similar level, there’s something special about going back to those simpler (yet more complicated) teenage years.
This subset of cinema has catered to all different kinds of teen movies, whether it be something with a higher reputation like Risky Business or The Craft or the shlockier films that play into broader humor like American Pie. What’s beautiful about teen films is that they cover the whole spectrum and are just as capable of creating high art as they are at making something disposable. There’s also a growing market of Young Adult adaptations out there that continue to provide movies with stories that already have a built-in audience.
As cinema has evolved and exploded over the past decades, there has been an influx of teen movies. There are always going to be teens out there who want to see movies, so it’s a market with an endless audience. That being said, these teen films have also become more competent in their style and storytelling. As more teen movies are added to the genre, it’s easier to lose track of past titles.
Here are the 30 Forgettable Teen Movies Only True Fans Remember.
30 Confession Of A Teenage Drama Queen
Lindsay Lohan made some very successful movie for Disney, but Confession of a Teenage Drama Queen begins to mark the end of that box office fire. Lohan plays Lola Steppe, a spoiled city girl who receives a rude awakening when her family moves from the city to the suburbs. She’s faced with a number of typical problems as the fish out of water at her new school.
Confession of a Teenage Drama Queen has its heart in the right place and Lohan still provides a great performance.
Keep an eye out for Megan Fox in one of her first ever movie roles as the popular cheerleader who helps make Lola’s life miserable.
29 Not Another Teen Movie
Before the direct-to-video market was flooded with movies like Epic Movie, Date Movie, and Meet the Spartans, this film actually got ahead of the curve and turned out to be very intelligent parody of teen comedies. All of the homages and character tropes are delightful here, but what’s especially fun is that Jaime Pressly, Chyler Leigh, and Chris freaking Evans are all in the movie playing perfect archetypes.
It’s also rather entertaining to see some of the movies that qualify as a “Teen Movie,” like American Beauty or Cruel Intentions, but the jokes all land and the movie surprisingly still holds up.
28 What A Girl Wants
What A Girl Wants is from that sweet spot in time where naming a movie after a popular song was enough of a draw for people. That being said, What A Girl Wants bears no connection to the Christina Aguilera song, nor does it appear in the movie. Instead, what follows is a very My Fair Lady-like story where Amanda Bynes’ Daphne leaves her American lifestyle to connect with her posh father, Lord Dashwood (Colin Firth!).
Bynes has a lot of fun as she attempts to refine herself and acclimate to London’s customs.
Her and Firth both nail their performances, but it’s still easy to overlook this one.
27 Get Over It
Get Over It is such a bizarre combination of sensibilities that it's easy to see how it could be poorly marketed or lost in time to flashier teen movies. It’s your classic story about a guy who wants to win back his ex-girlfriend and relies on another girl's help to get closer. Who wants to bet that the guy and his friend realize that they're meant for each other in the end and he forgets about his ex?
The real exciting thing about the movie is its cast. While Kirsten Dunst, Mila Kunis, and Ben Foster headline the movie, it's also got the likes of Zoe Saldana, Colin Hanks, and Shane West aboard, too.
26 Sugar & Spice
Sugar & Spice comes on strong and presents quite the aggressive depiction of girl power, but that’s also what makes it such a distinct film. The movie examines some very ordinary teenagers who have to resort to extraordinary measures when an unexpected pregnancy happens.
The result is a cheerleading squad that robs a bank to help their friend, and overall, it’s a glowing testament to the power of friendship.
Sugar & Spice has surprises around every corner and does not disappoint. Plus, one of the characters is hopelessly in love with Conan O’Brien. It doesn’t get much better and edgier than that.
In theory, Eurotrip was supposed to cash in on the success of Tom Green’s Road Trip, but the movies bear little connection. In fact, Eurotrip actually comes from Veep and Seinfeld writers David Mandel, Alec Berg, and Jeff Schaffer, and the movie's sophisticated brand of comedy is much more in league with their television efforts.
Eurotrip sees recently dejected Scott attempt to get over a bad break-up by heading to Europe with his friends so he can make a move on his German pen pal. Much hilarious chaos ensues. If “Scotty Doesn’t Know” isn’t stuck in your head by the time that the film’s over, then you’re not human.
24 The New Guy
The New Guy gets by on its charm as it depicts the story of Dizzy Harrison, a lovable loser who gets the chance to reinvent himself and “start over” when he’s forced to attend a new school. The New Guy is your basic rags to riches tale, but D.J. Qualls finds a weird humanity in Dizzy. He’s someone who you want to root for, as you find yourself constantly hoping that no one will figure out his lies.
Maligned by critics and overlooked at the box office, The New Guy never had huge visibility, even if Qualls and Eliza Dushku have an odd chemistry.
23 John Tucker Must Die
John Tucker Must Die is an angst-filled teen revenge comedy that’s dripping in melodrama.
When three girls from different cliqués at school all learn that they're dating the same guy (Jesse Metcalfe), they seek the help of the new girl in town to get revenge and teach him the ultimate lesson.
Deep down there's a strong message about female empowerment and men being held responsible for their actions, but there are still some problematic moments in the movie, like when the girls mess with John Tucker's estrogen levels. In spite of the good intentions, the movie failed to connect with audiences.
22 The Prince And Me
Julia Stiles has a certain flair for romantic comedies, but The Prince and Me definitely flew under the radar. If people want to watch Stiles in a solid "opposites attract" rom-com, they’ll go for Ten Things I Hate About You and often ignore this one.
The Prince and Me sees Stiles’ character, Paige, fall in love with Edvard, who turns out to secretly be the Prince of Denmark. What follows is Paige’s journey to determine if she can marry a Prince and enter this royal family and if their relationship is worth the stress. Despite the movie's lackluster results, it still spawned three direct-to-DVD sequels, so clearly there’s an audience for this somewhere.
21 Little Darlings
Little Darlings is a teen comedy from the 1980s that’s pretty emblematic of the era. Is there anything that screams the ‘80s more than a clumsy intimate contest? The movie stars Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol as Ferris and Angel, two girls from very different backgrounds who find themselves in a strange competition.
Ferris and Angel set out to see which one of them can lose sleep with someone before the other. In spite of its crude premise, Little Darlings is all about the wonderful chemistry between O’Neal and McNichol. They do great work here and it’s interesting to see a movie of this nature from the female perspective for once.
20 Ella Enchanted
Ella Enchanted attempts to be a progressive take on fairy tales and tries to push the genre to challenging new ground. This is a movie that plays into most of the classical fantasy tropes, but then it poignantly chooses to question them.
This is a movie that’s self-aware and has something to say, but it perhaps just came along too early in time and before Anne Hathaway’s star status had fully set in (she’s perfect in this role, by the way).
Ella Enchanted sees Hathaway’s Ella on a journey to reverse a “curse” that’s been placed on her that makes her endlessly compliant. What follows is an exciting adventure of self-discovery.
Flirting is a movie from 1992 that sets Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts up against Thandie Newton when it comes to matters of the heart. Noah Taylor plays Danny Embling, who joins an all-boys boarding school.
When social events put the boys' school and all-girls prep school in contact, Danny finds himself falling for Newton's character. Danny tries to negotiate this awkward romance as the eyes of social expectations and racial prejudice weigh down on them and other girls try to wedge them apart. Flirting is a fun, albeit forgettable movie, but it shows how wonderful Kidman is, even at an earlier age.
18 First Daughter
First Daughter tells another story about complicated families getting in the way of romance. The movie stars Katie Holmes as Samanta, the president’s daughter. Samanta’s finally off to college, but she’s a little swamped by the constant secret service that’s on her tail.
She longs for a more typical college experience and her father complies, but doesn’t tell her he’s put an undercover agent into the school as a student to watch over her. Of course, Samantha falls in love with this undercover agent, but their genuine love takes a harsh hit when she learns the truth about him.
17 Just My Luck
Lindsay Lohan has put out some questionable comedies, but none seem to be as reviled as Just My Luck. Rather than going the usual body switching route (which Lohan has done before), this movie instead explores the idea of two people exchanging their luck.
Lohan’s character is the luckiest person in the world, while Chris Pine’s character has the worst luck.
For some reason, a kiss at a costume party exchanges their luck and soon Lohan’s character is on a quest to find the guy and retrieve her good fortune. A thin, nonsensical premise and the questionable chemistry between Lohan and Pine hold this one back.
PCU is from 1994 and takes a look at the ins and out of politically correct college life. There are plenty of teen comedies that are set at college, but PCU embraces the clichéd nature of the genre and tells a broad story that pits an irresponsible frat house against the hard-working students and Port Chester University’s no-nonsense president.
They even need to throw a wild party to help save the frat when all else fails. PCU didn’t make a strong impression, but it’s a wild ride since it pits Jeremy Piven against David Spade. Jessica Walter also plays PCU’s president.
Gossip is a movie from the year 2000 that is actually decent teen thriller. Gossip puts James Marsden, Norman Reedus, and Lena Headey all together as college roommates who work together on a curious assignment.
The three do a report on “gossip” and start a rumor that Naomi (Kate Hudson) was seen at a party sleeping with her boyfriend (Joshua Jackson), even though she’s publicly said that she’s saving herself for marriage The three chart how the gossip evolves and who it affects, but things take a dark turn when Naomi adds to the rumor and starts to manipulate it in a vicious way.
14 The Doom Generation
The Doom Generation is a movie by Gregg Araki from 1995 that attempts to capitalize on the violent, extreme films of the time, like Pulp Fiction. In fact, The Doom Generation almost feels like a teen version of Natural Born Killers.
It features three disaffected youths, Jordan, Amy (Rose McGowan), and Red, who go on a cross-country journey where they continuously face mayhem and chaos.
The three hide between their twisted “romance” and refuse to confront the dark things that they do. The movie is much more about flashy acts than about their consequences. In fact, the movie's anger left most people cold.
Aquamarine plays hard into the female demographic with a fantastical coming of age story that combines true love and mermaids. A storm happens to wash a mermaid named Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) on shore where two human girls discover her and take her under her wing.
Aquamarine is determined to prove to her father that true love exists, but she also has a lot to learn about the world outside of the ocean, too. Aquamarine is a fun, playful fish out of water story (literally). It also features a young Emma Roberts playing a sugary sweet character. Claire Brown is no Madison Montgomery, that’s for sure.
12 Vision Quest
Vision Quest is a film about high school wrestling. In it, Matthew Modine's Louden Swain finds himself at a crossroads after turning 18. Louden becomes obsessed with greater things and wants to figure out how to stand out. He decides to errantly lose 20 pounds so he'll be able to wrestle in a lower weight class and become their new champion.
Vision Quest taps into the aimlessness of being a teenager in flux, and Louden faces plenty of tough decisions when it comes to both family and love. The movie's not exactly subtle with its messages, but it's one of the more unusual coming of age wrestling movies that are out there.
11 Camp Nowhere
Camp Nowhere is that sort of rambunctious comedy that’s all about the unlimited potential during summer vacation. It’s a movie that pits kids against adults. However, the younger generation simply wants to have fun. It’s not a complicated goal, but the purity of the movie is one of the main reasons why it works so well.
Camp Nowhere sees a bunch of children who hate the camps that they go to every summer band together with an eccentric ex-teacher (played gleefully by Christopher Lloyd) to form a fake camp where they can do whatever they want.
Problems arise when the parents want to pay the camp a visit, but something beautiful grows in the process.
10 The Hot Chick
In The Hot Chick, Rob Schneider and Rachel McAdams switch bodies. Overall, it's an abysmal, misguided comedy that involves magical earrings and sees Rob Schneider’s conniving criminal switch bodies with Rachel McAdam’s high school alpha dog.
The whole thing is ridiculous from the start, but the movie at least at least is a bit self-aware about its response to just how crazy this all is. Schneider’s performance is sure to make many cringe, but McAdams taps into something interesting in her portrayal of the criminal.
9 Whatever It Takes
Whatever It Takes is a modern take on the story of Cyrano de Bergerac. In it, two out on their luck high school students decide to enlist the help of one other to further their romantic pursuits. The two work to subtly influence their friends to fall for each other, but as time goes on, they suddenly realize that they might have been in love with the wrong person.
Whatever It Takes fumbles with its execution, but it properly captures freewheeling teen energy. The movie's cast is also ridiculously stacked, with James Franco, Shane West, Colin Hanks, and Aaron Paul all playing roles in the film.
8 Win A Date With Tad Hamilton!
Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! predicates itself on a rather ridiculous premise. However, some of the best romantic comedies do exactly that. The movie is an earnest rom-com centering on Topher Grace and Kate Bosworth. Grace’s character, Pete, is hopelessly in love with his best friend, Rosalee.
Pete is always just about to confess his love to Rosalee, but something always gets in the way.
The latest obstacle happens when Rosalee wins a contest to go on a date with smug actor Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel). To make matters even worse, Tad even relocates to their small town when they hit it off. After that, the pressure’s really on for Pete.
7 She’s The Man
She’s the Man is a modern update of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but while Shakespeare’s comedy could handle such sprawling storylines and complicated love hexagons that trip over each other, teen comedies are not always as resilient.
She’s the Man stars Amanda Bynes as Viola Johnson, a girl who invades her twin brother’s campus while he’s away so she can play on the boy’s soccer team. Numerous complications arise as love pops up in unexpected places. The movie is anchored by Amanda Bynes' and a budding Channing Tatum's strong performancea. This is hardly the best Shakespeare adaptation out there, but at least it’s having fun.
6 Slums Of Beverly Hills
Slums of Beverly Hills isn't exactly a forgotten movie, but it did take some time for the film to grow into a cult classic. At the time, it presented a very original, authentic story, but this is no longer as unique anymore. However, Slums is surely an inspiration for plenty of modern movies.
The 1998 movie jumps back twenty years and looks at the struggles of Vivian Abromowitz when her family relocates to California and tries to restart their lives. While the struggles that Vivien and her family face are hardly original, the movie provides us with a breakout performance from Natasha Lyonne. Marisa Tomei and Alan Arkin also have roles in the movie.
5 Dead Man On Campus
Dead Man On Campus features one of the more outlandish, tasteless plots of a teen movie. It needs to be seen to be believed. Two college freshman are more interested in partying than they are in their education and are well on their way to flunking out of school.
However, their school features an inexplicable loophole where you’re rewarded straight A’s if your roommate takes their own life.
Thus, Josh and Cooper become determined to shack up with someone who will do so. Believe it or not, the movie actually showcases a talented cast that features the likes of Alyson Hannigan and Mark-Paul Gosselaar in a role that was more of a change of pace for the Saved By the Bell actor.
4 Sky High
Sky High has a lot going for it and it actually sticks the landing for the most part, which is why it’s so frustrating that this movie came and went to little fanfare. Critics were in favor of the film’s ambition, but this would prove to not be enough.
Sky High mashes together teen high school drama with superhero theatrics. The movie creates a wonderfully fleshed out world that’s full of heroes and villains. It then plays into the classic Montagues and Capulets angle. Sky High does a good job at balancing the movie's tones. It also has strong actors like Kurt Russell and a young Mary Elizabeth Winstead to sell the material.
Loser should have been a total success. It’s Amy Heckerling of Clueless fame behind a new vehicle that puts American Pie’s Jason Biggs front and center in a hapless look at college life. It has all the right ingredients, yet it’s a movie that’s often entirely overlooked.
Biggs’ Paul Tannek is a small town boy who’s now in the city for college. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the easiest transition. Paul lets the many aspect of dorm life and the college experience take him over as he tries to figure out who he is in the process.
2 Sydney White
She’s the Man is an Amanda Bynes’ movie that flew under the radar, but Sydney White is an even more obscure title and is hardly ever remembered by fans. Both movies give classic stories a modern update.
However, in the case of Sydney White, the movie modernizes the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The movie's setting takes place in a sorority and frat house environment, with a jealous sorority president stepping in as the Wicked Queen. When the movie reveals that Sydney White’s reluctant allies are going to be the seven dorks, it becomes clear that this isn’t exactly the deepest of adaptations.
1 Bubble Boy
Bubble Boy tells the absurd coming of age story of Jimmy Livingston, a boy who has lived in a “bubble” his entire life due to his lack of immunities. When Jimmy learns that the love of his life is going to get married in a week, he concocts a mobile bubble suit to travel across the country and profess his love to her.
Bubble Boy tells a sweet, albeit strange, story. It even carries a bit of a Tim Burton vibe at times. However, its craziest detail is that Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jimmy. It’s weird to see how far along he’s come as an actor. This movie is a great throwback.
Are there any other forgotten teen movies that we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments!