Earlier this year, we took a look at some life lessons given to us by B-list 90s teen films. But what did we learn from the teen films of the 00s? Let's take a look, shall we?
Bring It On (2000): The decade kicked off with a spin on the bitchy-cheerleader cliche in teen movies by presenting us with cheerleaders as both heroines and villains in the ridiculously silly Bring It On. Not only did the film poke fun at the world of competitive cheerleading, but it also presented cheerleaders, perhaps for the first time in the teen movie world, as legitimate athletes with serious skills.
Important Life Lesson To Remember: "This is not a democracy, it's a cheerocracy."
Save The Last Dance (2001): I'm using Save The Last Dance to represent every dance-will-save-you movie of the decade, a theme that seemed to run through the past 10 years the way extreme makeovers dominated the teen movies of the 90s. If you could dance in a teen film of the 00s, you could pretty much do anything. As long as you wore a "slammin'" outfit, of course.
Important Life Lesson To Remember: That outfit you're wearing from the Gap is "country, and you look country in it."
Saved, 2004: The dark comedy tale of an uber-religious teenager who becomes pregnant centers not only on the issues surrounding teen pregnancy, but on religion (and the hypocrisy within), abortion, sexuality, disability, love, and the difficulties of finding yourself in high school and breaking away from the worldview that is often imposed upon you by authority figures. It also taught us that it's a good idea to avoid crashing your van into Jesus.
Important Life Lesson To Remember: "So everything that doesn't fit into some stupid idea of what you think God wants you just try to hide or fix or get rid of? It's just all too much to live up to. No one fits in one hundred percent of the time. Not even you."
Mean Girls, 2004: The true heir to the great teen films of the 80s and 90s, Mean Girls stands out for its Tina Fey-penned script and stellar cast, including a top-of-her-game Lindsay Lohan and the always-excellent Rachel McAdams. And while the film is often name-checked and referenced due to its catchphrases, the true importance of the film lies in the exploration of bullying amongst girls in high school, a very real and difficult issue that still needs addressing. The film is already dated in the world of social networking (can you imagine what Regina George would have done with sexting and Facebook?), but the overall message of the film still rings true: high school, and the girls in it, can be a real bitch.
Important Life Lesson To Remember: "Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George's life definitely didn't make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you."
Juno, 2007: Diablo Cody won an Oscar for her screenplay about a 16-year-old girl who discovers she's pregnant, briefly considers abortion, and eventually decides to carry the child to term in order to give it up for adoption. Focusing on Juno's quirks, fears, and frustrations while attempting to navigate both high school and pregnancy, the film attempts to create a character who is much more than an afterschool special cliche. Whether it succeeds or not depends on who you talk to—in our comments, anyway, the film is always fairly divisive. In any case, for all the pop culture posturing and quippy dialogue, there is something quietly honest about Juno; she is depicted in moments of absurdity, weakness, strength, sadness, and acceptance; all elements of growing up and trying to figure out how to make sense of the world when it doesn't seem to make any sense at all.
Important Life Lesson To Remember: "Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with."
Did I miss any? Feel free to leave your favorite moments from the past 10 years in teen movies in the comments.