Evolution of Teenage Movies


Edward Lopez, Staff Writer

As movies have changed, so has the society built around it. One thing that hasn’t changed, is the over-glorified, superficial, almost surreal aspect of teenage movies.

There have been different cornerstones for the teen genre.

One of the first being Rebel Without a Cause, set in the 1950s with actor James Dean representing multiple themes such as rebellion, adolescence, and homosexuality.

The society built around these types of movies are to rebel against or show different archetypes of what might be seen as the average teen. So early in the 1950s, we typically saw movies that depicted the adolescence of Baby Boomers and their life during the post-war peace.

Over the years, movies depicting teenagers have portrayed one change: the struggles of teens.

Back then, we saw psychological concepts like the need to belong. We went from James Dean slicking his hair back in a greaser jacket to guys with bandanas over their head. Girls who went from queen bees to Thrasher-wearing overfiltered groups.

In movies now, we see more vulnerability; now, phones take up our attention span and colleges are more competitive, so a passion might come off as a time waster rather than a hobby.

It’s important to realize that adolescence comes with its own struggles, and movies are able to highlight such tragedies and even over-glorify them, bringing forth the birth of different cliches such as greasers and arrogant jocks, preppy queen bees, and cheerleaders.

Teenagers take up a demographic of the population and are willing to go to a theatre to relate to their situations on the big screen.

With the continuation of the teen genre, there should be new plots displaying different interpretations of the average teen. The future of cinema should invest in the development and potential growth of these movies, as they will hopefully improve over the years. We can only look forward to how these movies show us youth in its finest.