I love a good teen movie, but they can be ridiculously unrealistic! Before you start calling me the fun police, hear me out. I know that almost nothing in the media depicts teenagers is 100 percent realistic or reflective of the average teenager’s life. We watch movies about teens to see an exaggerated and dramatized depiction, and we often love them all the same. Hell, even unrealistic movies have elements of realism in them. But there are some movies that–whether they’re great, so bad they’re good, or legitimately awful–are so unrealistic that’s it’s almost distracting. I’m not talking supernatural movies or anything like that either. Just plain old movies that feature scenarios or outcomes that are presented to us as cool and real and are anything but.
The Breakfast ClubYou know, this movie would have been a lot less unrealistic if it stuck with its general themes of cliques and the weirdness of high school social hierarchy. There was even a part in which, despite all the bonding that these five totally different people did during the Saturday detention, queen bee Claire admits that she probably would pretend that none of it ever happened by Monday and would ignore them in the hallways as usual. Harsh, but it was probably the most real moment of the entire movie. And yet, by the end, the movie devolves into this cheesy opposites attract rom com and suddenly everybody is paired up and in love? Y'all just started talking to each other a few hours ago, now you want to date? Okay. Sure.
John Tucker Must DieSure, it's believable that a scumbag womanizer broke the hearts of plenty of girls. Unfortunately, what's less realistic is the idea that these girls who were being played would band together to inact revenge. Why? Because we live in a world where girls hating other girls is practically encouraged and internalized misogyny runs rampant. That's why it's so common to witness two girls who were being cheated on by the same dude go at each other's throats instead of putting the blame on the dude who was actually two timing them. John Tucker Must Die is only realistic in some sort of feminist utopia or something, not the real world.
Paper TownsOh, where to start? First of all, Margo's revenge plot makes for a good movie, but would she really have sought out the help of Quentin to do the job? Would you ask that of a friend you've barely spoken to in ages? Moving on to Margo's disappearance and the search to try to find out where she ran off: I'm not going to give too much away, but I'll say that I think this movie wants us to believe that Margo is a cool person and that there are a lot more Margos out there than there really are. In reality, Margo's flaws aren't endearing. Also, I'm not convinced that there are that many super self-aware and precocious teen girls out there who Have The World Figured Out and give teen boys a sense of living just by being vivacious and hot. Maybe your high school is full of people like that. Mine wasn't.
American PieThis raunchy '90s teen movie is as infamous as it is vulgar. The main characters' objective to lose their virginity by graduation, and their hilariously terrible attempts to make that dream a reality are sort of realistic. But the fact that they all manage to lose their virginity on graduation night is hilariously unbelievable. Like...the same night. All of them. The same damn night. At least spread it apart a little bit, damn.
A Cinderella StoryOkay, yes, this was a reimagining of a Disney princess movie, so realism probably wasn't their goal. But the biggest thing that was so hilariously unrealistic was that Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray's characters not only ended up together at the end of the movie, but also ended up going to Princeton together. Princeton. An Ivy League school that lets such a small percentage of students in that the chances of them accepting two people who happened to fall in love with each other after a mess of events is just...laughable. Of all the colleges out there, I'm supposed to believe that these two got into Princeton and live happily ever after? Aight. Whatever you say.
Cruel IntentionsI get it, rich kids with zero supervision can lead a life of debauchery with no consequences for their actions. But the fact that this movie includes a bet between step-siblings in which one of the prizes includes...having sex with their step-sibling is just...bye.
She's All ThatFirst of all, do people really make bets to date people they find unappealing? I...don't think they do, and I want to know why making bets like this were so popular in '90s media. This movie is one of the most egregious examples of it because it included all of the worst cliches: A makeover, a change of character, discovery of the bet, getting together at the end anyway. Like...that just ain't realistic at all. Also, what self-respecting girl would continue to date the dude who was dating her as a bet?
Monte CarloOkay, NONE of these mistaken identity stories ever feel believable. Fun? Sure, but believable? No, and it's usually so unbelievable that the movie always suffers because of it. Especially since Selena Gomez's character is mistaken for ACTUAL ROYALTY in this movie. It's believable to be mistaken for a celebrity while you're wearing big sunglasses at an airport or something, but a princess at a fancy hotel? I mean, I guess if the contestants of I Wanna Marry Harry could believe some random ginger was Prince Harry, anything is possible.
She's The ManThis movie has a great message if you don't really scratch too hard at the surface: Girls can do anything guys can do! Ra ra ra! Okay, cool, but then the cis-gender girl going undercover as a cis-gender dude just to play some soccer? Not only would she not have gotten away with it for as long as she did, I can't imagine anyone actually enduring the stress that this would entail to pull off.
Do you think any of these movies are actually pretty realistic? What others should be on the list? Tell us in the comments!