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Teen films is a film genre targeted at teenagers and young adults in which the plot is based upon the special interests of teenagers, such as coming of age, first love, rebellion, conflict with parents, teen angst or alienation. Often these normally serious subject matters are presented in a glossy, stereotyped or trivialized way. For legal reasons, many teenage characters are portrayed by young adults. Some teen films appeal to young males while others appeal to young females.
As well as the classic teen film, which is similar to a romantic comedy, there are hybrid genres including:
There are many more types of teen films which can then be divided again into sub-categories. This can be found at list of teen films.
Codes and conventions
Codes and conventions of teen films vary depending on the cultural context of the film, but they can include proms, alcohol, illegal substances, high school, parties, losing one's virginity, social groups and cliques, interpersonal conflict with peers and/or the older generations, and American pop culture.
The classic codes and conventions of teen film come from American films where one of the most widely used conventions are the stereotypes and social groups. The wide range stereotypes most commonly used include:
- The Jock/Cheerleader
- School Diva
- The Geek/Nerd
- The Rebel
- The Misfit, or The Outcast
- The Boy/Girl next door
- The New Girl/Boy
- The Loner
- The Band Geek
- Class Hottie
- Class Clown
- The Stoner
American teen films often leave out or skim over characters who are minorities, gay/lesbian, or working class teens.
Apart from the characters there are many other codes and conventions of teen film. These films are often set in or around high schools as this allows for many different social cliques to be shown. This is different in hybrid teen films, but for the classic romantic comedy teen film this is almost always the case.
The effect that these characteristics/stereotypes have on Teen Film
The initial stereotypes for Teen Film were established by the film The Breakfast Club in the 1980s and proved to be an effective short cut to character introduction with the audience who identified and recognized them as stereotypes. The Jock, Cheerleader and social outcast become a familiar and pleasurable feature for the audience. However genres are dynamic, they change and develop to meet the expectations of their target audience, teenagers, films such as Funsize have most of the basic stereotypes that one would expect, the jocks and cheerleaders, the outcasts and geeks, the older and younger sibling disagreements etc.
Noteworthy writers and directors
The genre gained more credibility during the 1980s with the appearance of writer/director John Hughes. His legacy of teen films (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, etc.) proved to be popular not only with audiences, but with critics also.
Éric Rohmer, a pioneering director from the French New Wave, was notable for focusing on young adults or youth and their complications with love in a number of his films. Some of such works include La Collectionneuse, Claire's Knee, Pauline at the Beach, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, and A Summer's Tale.
Popular actors in teen films have included Annette Funicello, Hayley Mills, and Sal Mineo, in the 1960s and 70s, members of the Brat Pack, John Cusack in the 80s and early 90s, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Jason Biggs, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Hilary Duff, Mandy Moore and other teenage sensations in the late 90s and throughout the 2000s, who were either pre-teens or teens at the time of the movies themselves.
- List of teen films
- List of film genres
- Teen drama (List of teen dramas)
- Teen sitcom (List of Teen sitcoms)
- Teen pop
- Teen magazine (List of teen magazines)
- Brat Pack
- Gross-out film
- Kaveney, Roz (2006-07-11). Teen Dreams: Reading Teen Film and Television from 'Heathers' to 'Veronica Mars'. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781845111847.
- Driscoll, Catherine (2011-06-15). Teen Film: A Critical Introduction. Berg. ISBN 9781847886866.
- Hentges, Sarah (2006). Pictures of Girlhood: Modern Female Adolescence on Film. McFarland and Company Inc., Publishers. ISBN 0786424028.
- Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies
- High School Reunion Collection
- LIKE THE 80S - THE 80S TEEN MOVIE SITE