As an adult this movie doesn’t hold up as well as I would have hoped, but it sure meant a lot to the intimidated teens of alternative leanings in the late ’90s, and if we have to throw a nostalgia festival of the years 90, message, we could certainly do worse than this matter of finding your power and figuring out who your true friends are.
Can’t Remember: Idle Hands (1999)
Another supernatural teen movie, this one was about teenage boys rather than teenage girls, and rather than dealing with bullying and date rape, it was about, uh, jerking off and killing your parents. And then having to cut your hand off, because it harbored an evil spirit. It’s a strange concept that is surprisingly well sold by Devon Sawa. And the comedy sidekicks, played by Elden Henson and Seth Green are pretty good too. Its dance scene even has a well-known and well-known band playing – The Offspring goes through two songs before the Demonic Hand attacks them. I don’t know why this one isn’t better known – it even features Jessica Alba.
Remember: She’s All That (1999)
Everyone knows this one. This iconic scene where the newly premiered on Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) walks down the stairs, in slow motion, with Sixpence None The Richer playing, is indelibly imprinted on all of our brains.
What you might not remember is that this movie is terrible. No, really, it’s terrible. The whole idea of a gamble to make an unpopular girl a prom queen is both unforgivably obnoxious and ridiculously dated, and the supporting characters are just plain gruesome. There’s a whole subplot about how Zack has to win Laney back because otherwise she’s going to get raped by Dean (a very young, incredibly arrogant Paul Walker). Matthew Lillard’s handful of scenes are pretty fun, but the rest is crap.
Can’t Remember: Drive Me Crazy (1999)
Maybe it’s just that the British don’t make prom that big a deal, but it’s really hard to relate to some of those movies where the general idea is that PROM HAS TO BE PERFECT OR ELSEWHERE. Make me crazy, named for a Britney Spears song that doesn’t affect the plot, stars a preppy Melissa Joan Hart trying to turn an alternative (and incredibly beautiful) Adrian Grenier into her idea of the perfect prom date , because the guy she was expecting to ask him decided not to. Inevitably, they fall in love with each other, although they have nothing in common. The last twist about their parents only adds to the awkwardness. It’s … you know what, it’s not as obnoxious as She is all that. But it’s not great either.
You Remember: Dazed and Confused (1993)
It’s yet another coming-of-age offering, taking place over a few days in early summer, when high school kids torment the new class of freshmen. It’s another one of those movies that seems to feature young versions of anyone who would ever become famous. While Matthew McConaughey as sleazy Wooderson is the one that stands out, the film also features Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Renee Zellweger, and many more. Set in the 70s, it doesn’t sound like a “90s teen movie” the same way many of those other movies do; he has a slightly different view of his teenagers, their politics and their ideals. But it’s still about high school kids, cliques, and young lovers, so in fact, if you squint at all the hairstyles and bells, it’s not that different after all.