Clueless

#10. Clueless

Without this pure 90s teen sensation from Beverly Hills, we might not have seen Mean Girls. Bringing “whatever” and “as if” into the mainstream, this depiction of lavish, teenage life in Los Angeles somehow works as a quintessential teenage comedy. Maybe it’s because Cher (Alicia Silverstone) learns tonot be so material and artificial with her personality, or maybe it’s because Paul Rudd has always been charming as hell, but this is one of the best movies to come out of the 90s period, and it’s a perfect time capsule for the teens of that decade.

#9. American Beauty

American Beauty

Not all coming of age stories deal with maturing from a young age. Sometimes adults need to grow up too. In the case of American Beauty, everyone needs to learn a thing or two about themselves, for better or worse. Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper and Mena Suvari are all living suburban life as best they can, and all of them end up being broken by it somehow. Sadly, this slice of American life doesn’t have a happy ending.

#8. Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting

Everyone has that friend who ends up stuck in their hometown, having the tools to make something great of themselves, but complacent for the life they’ve carved out in their safe zone. Good Will Hunting paints that picture powerfully with the gifted Will Hunting (Matt Damon), who could be brilliant, but seems satisfied with dead end jobs along with his blue collar childhood friends. An Oscar-winning turn by Robin Williams and some self-aware advice from Ben Affleck helps push Hunting to at least embark on a life using his potential, and it’s the kind of support that we’ve all needed from our friends once in awhile.

#7. Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused

It’s the last day of high school in 1976. Seniors are on their way out while freshman are on their way in, complete with all the hazing that used to come with entering high school. Richard Linklater depicts a wide range of characters all trying to get drunk, stoned and laid as they make their way into upper teenage years and adulthood. But within this ensemble there’s a raw and honest depiction about the kind of people we encounter in high school and while many of us grow up, some of us will never change. All right, all right, all right.

#6. The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums

Not unlike American Beauty, everyone in the Tenenbaum family has a lot of growing up to do. While some of the subject matter is dark, it’s nowhere near as depressing as the aforementioned depiction of suburbia. But Royal, Etheline, Chas, Margot and Richie all have plenty of growing up to do as adults, and even characters like Raleigh St. Clair and Eli Cash could do with some of that development too. This is by far my favorite Wes Anderson movie, and I know that many will say Rushmore should be on this list, but I just don’t dig it quite as much as everyone else.

Continue Reading The Top 25 Best Coming of Age Movies of the Past 25 Years >>

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