Teen movies are a longtime staple of many viewers' cinematic diet, but the best new teen films really raise the bar. The genre first gained a measure of popularity in the early 1980s, with a string of raunchy comedies, many of which centered around teenagers going on spring break or having some other kind of escapade. Hardbodies and Porky's are just two examples from that era. These were exploitation flicks, usually telling stories about young men looking to "get lucky" with their beautiful classmates. John Hughes turned the tide with a string of smart, sensitive teen stories that began with 1984's Sixteen Candles and also included The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful. Suddenly, it was proven that real teenagers didn't want to see an exaggerated version of themselves; they wanted honest stories they could relate to.
The best new teen films carry on that tradition, and even expand it. Current movies like The Edge of Seventeen, Eighth Grade, and Love, Simon all speak to what it's like to be an adolescent in modern times. Of course, there are genre films centered around -- and geared toward -- teens, as well. Some of them manage to offer insights, despite telling stories steeped in fantasy.
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