12 '90s Teen Movies That Changed Our Lives, Ranked
Where would we be without the teen movies of the '90s? They taught us how to live, how to love and how to refrain from having sex with baked goods. The decade that brought us chokers, “TRL” and NSYNC also gave us 12 movies that we'll never forget, ranked from alright to downright iconic.
12. 'Drive Me Crazy' (1999)
The most important thing to come out of this film? The Britney Spears single of the same name that accompanied it. Next door neighbors, from differing cliques, pretending to couple up in order to spite their exes is totally formulaic -- but we'll re-watch this sleeper any day.
11. 'Empire Records' (1995)
If you were coming-of-age in the '90s, there's a good chance you wished you worked at Empire Records. Those skirts. The music. The drama. Rex Manning Day. To this day, we still sing “Sugar High” into our hairbrushes.
10. 'Varsity Blues' (1999)
This football flick is no “Friday Night Lights” (clear eyes, full hearts, etc.) but it definitely had its own little impact on the American youth of the late '90s. Unfortunately, we never really bought Dawson Leery as a defiant, Texan quarterback.
9. 'Never Been Kissed' (1999)
"Never Been Kissed" straddles the teen movie line because its main lead is in her 20s, which always struck us as mildly inappropriate, considering that the teacher who falls for her thinks she's a student the whole time... Anywho … it features a former "nerd" who exposes the horrors of high school (and gets the guy, while she's at it), so it's hard not to root for her. Plus, Drew Barrymore is at her most charmingly adorable.
8. 'Can't Hardly Wait' (1998)
Whether you identify with Amanda Beckett, Mike Dexter, Preston Meyers, Denise Fleming, or the “they're all sheep” girl, it's hard not to enjoy this quintessential high school film. It has everything the genre looks for: An end-of-year blowout, a goofy smart guy who lands the prom queen, and a quarterback who (at least temporarily) gets what he deserves.
7. 'The Craft (1996)
Before “American Horror Story: Coven” and even “Harry Potter,” the tweens and teens of the '90s had these witches to look up to. (There’s a deluxe Blu-ray release coming from the good folks at Shout Factory this week.) Except for when Nancy, like, gets really mean.
6. '10 Things I Hate About You' (1999)
Before Kat Stratford, there weren't very many unconventional indie-rock loving feminists in high school movies. This film taught us that you could find true love in the most unexpected of people -- and that you don't always have to follow the pack to be cool AF.
5. 'She's All That' (1999)
Where were you when you first heard Laney Boggs utter the epic words, "Am I a bet?" This whole movie rests on the ridiculous fallacy that Rachael Leigh Cook was unattractive just because she wore glasses and a falafel hat. But any movie where someone does spoken-word poetry, while playing hackey-sack, demands some respect.
4. 'Cruel Intentions' (1999)
This movie is royally effed up, and the teenagers who play life-ruining psychological warfare like it's field hockey should by no means be anyone's role models. Despite all that, it still holds up today, and we probably wouldn't have shows like “Gossip Girl,” "Riverdale" or “Pretty Little Liars” without it.
3. 'Scream' (1996)
Yes, this is one of the best horror movies ever, but it's also one of the best teen movies of the '90s, too. “Scream” was a game-changer for both genres; it paved the way for the new slasher generation while also helping bring high school films back into mainstream.
2. 'American Pie' (1999)
“American Pie” captures what it feels like to be a teenager who will do anything to grow up. Whether you're 16 or 61, it's hard not to feel the pull of nostalgia while watching this group desperately try and take control over their own identities, futures, and sexual destinies. Also, a guy does it with a pie.
1. 'Clueless' (1995)
As long as words are spoken, the immortal wisdom of “Clueless” will be quoted. Amy Heckerling's smart and endlessly influential classic is a staple of the decade. To not put it at number one on this list? Ugh, as if!