Hollywood owes a lot to Shakespeare. The British playwright has blessed the movie industry with a bounty of dramatic and comedic material that keeps getting used and used ... and used. Ole Willie has inspired many a film, but not all adaptations are created equal. Hark! Here we rank nine Shakespeare-based teen movies, from worst to best.
9. 'Rome & Jewel' (2006)
Don't feel bad that you didn't catch 2006's "Rome & Jewel." You're probably not alone. This "Romeo & Juliet"-based hip-hopera about a teen from Compton who falls for a girl from Beverly Hills didn't exactly make the rounds on the award circuit that year.
8. 'Motocrossed' (2001)
Yes, Disney Channel got into the Shakespeare game with 2001's "Twelfth Night-"based "Motocrossed." The predictable feel-good motorcycle racing flick about a girl posing as her injured brother isn't exactly edgy, but we give it credit for being inspirational, empowering, family-friendly fun.
7. 'Just One of the Guys' (1985)
Another "Twelfth Night" adaptation, "Just One of the Guys" follows a teen who disguises herself as a boy in order to get her journalistic endeavors taken seriously at school. It's got its '80s charms, high school movie cliches (nerds, cliques, prom, etc.), and a feminist female lead we can all root for. We think it deserves the cult status it's garnered over the years.
7. 'O' (2001)
This ambitious adaptation of "Othello" is seriously heavy stuff for a high school film. The prep school scenery works as a contemporary backdrop for the twisted tragedy of jealousy, revenge, racism, and violence. Too bad that some of the message gets lost in modern translation.
5. 'Get Over It' (2001)
Very loosely based on "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Get Over It" is an often overlooked teen movie from the genre's resurgence in the late '90s/early 2000s. It's charming, sweet, and a little meta since the whole thing revolves around putting on the play it's based on. There are even dreamy surrealist elements, including a musical number by the incomparable Vitamin C, but that's what makes it stand out among the crowded pack.
4. 'She's the Man' (2006)
We have to thank you, Amanda Bynes. Your bumbling portrayal of a girl pretending to be a guy so she can join the school soccer team is comedy gold. That random awkward accent. Those kooky faces. The whole pretending-to-be-macho act. It just works. And this movie is when we first realized Channing Tatum was capable of being funny. Like, really funny. Points go to the third "Twelfth Night" adaptation on this list.
3. 'Romeo + Juliet' (1996)
If you were a tween or teen when this movie was released, it probably meant a lot to you at the time. Just thinking about Des'ree slowly singing while these two ill-fated lovebirds first cross paths gives me chills. Another thing I get while watching this movie? A tiny bit dizzy. Baz Luhrmann sure loves that sped-up footage thing...
But there's still heartbreakingly beautiful cinematography here, two young actors who went on to become some of the most sought-after in the biz, and A LOT of feelings. And kudos for sticking to the OG words of Shakespeare himself.
2. 'Valley Girl' (1983)
"Grody." "Pukeoid." "Trippin-dicular." These are just some of the choice words you can use from 1983's "Romeo and Juliet"-esque "Valley Girl." Like "Clueless" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," it's a smart satirical look at growing up in La La Land. This tale of punk rocker meets popular gal, featuring a young Nic Cage in a breakout role, is, like, totally worth your time. Plus, it's got a bitchin' soundtrack.
1. '10 Things I Hate About You' (1999)
This isn't just one the best Shakespeare-inspired films out there, it's right up there as a sparkling jewel in the teen movie canon crown. This is the film that brought us great lines like "you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?" and a scene where Julia Stiles drunkenly dances to "Hypnotize." It's an iconic high school love story for the ages that's equal parts funny and emotional.