With Divergent: Allegiant hitting the cinemas I think it would be a great choice to look at our favourite Young Adult movies because let’s face it we get as many of these as we do superhero movies. The films are usually designed to be a series from a set of books. So what is the most popular Young Adult film?
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Darren – Movie Reviews 101
Odd Thomas is from a series of books by Dean Koontz which follows Odd Thomas as he tries to help the recently deceased pass over, he also has to deal with the demons of the afterlife. Odd works with his girlfriend Stormy who I say have the best chemistry I have ever seen in this genre of film and could easily be the best in most modern films. The two go about their normal days working as a chef in Odd case and at the Ice Cream stand in Stormy’s. This shows that Odd has to become the hero of the town and leaves the story open for the next chapter.
Kim – Tranquil Dreams
City of Ember
City of Ember is a completely underrated young adult movie adapted from a series of books with the same name. It was fun and adventurous. The world is imaginative and believable. While it doesn’t quite know what tone to use from Bill Murray being the awkward mayor and the younger cast with Luke Treadaway and Saoirse Ronan, it takes us on a journey to escape and find a way so that everyone can survive the impending doom on the collapse of their city as they slowly run out of electricity. There are nothing less than thrills and adventures.
Drew – Drew’s Movie Reviews
The Princess Diaries
This might seem like a pretty strange selection coming from me but I have always had a soft spot for The Princess Diaries. First, it was the film that introduced us to the lovely and talented Anne Hathaway. Second, it tells a great message about being yourself. Many people can relate to Mia’s awkwardness, so right off the bat the audience has someone to connect with. Plus, it has the always fantastic Julie Andrews. This should be a mandatory watch for all young teenagers. The Princess Diaries is a genuine feel good film that I can watch over and over again.
Paul – Return to the 80s
I was always a reader. As I approached my teens, I discovered S.E. Hinton’s Young Adult novels: Tex, That Was Then… This Is Now, Rumble Fish, and my favorite of them all, The Outsiders. All of those novels were adapted to film, and The Outsiders was the best one, and was released in 1983.
We don’t need sparkly vampires or dystopian futures to express teen angst. Instead, we go to 1960’s Oklahoma, and observe the rivalry of two gangs: The Greasers and The Socs. Both gangs come from different sides of the track. The Greasers come from poor, working class families, and the Socs are more well off. The story centers around Ponyboy Curtis and his best friend, Johnny Cade. An incident causes the two friends to go into hiding at an old abandoned church. They pass the time talking, playing poker, reading Gone With the Wind, and famously the Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”.
When things start to look up, their friend Dallas comes and gets them. They go into town to eat some good food for the first time in a while. When they return to the church, it is on fire, with children trapped inside. The three friends go in and rescue the children, and things don’t turn out too well.
Later on, the two gangs have a rumble, and we see a very powerful meltdown, giving a very sobering and brilliant ending to a brilliant story.
This is a perfect YA movie for several reason. The book was outstanding, and the movie was pretty faithful. And get a load of the people involved with this movie. It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It starred C. Thomas Howell (Ponyboy Curtis) in just his second movie (after a minor role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial), Ralph Macchio (Johnny Cade) in his second feature film, Matt Dillon (Dallas Winston), who was probably the most established star of this movie, Rob Lowe (Sodapop Curtis) in his film debut, Patrick Swayze (Darrel Curtis) in his third feature film, Emilio Estevez (“Two-Bit” Matthews) in his second movie, Tom Cruise (Steve Randle) in his second movie, Diane Lane (Cherry Valance), and Leif Garrett (Bob Sheldon). Whoever casted this movie should be in some kind of hall of fame. I highly recommend this movie. It is only 90 minutes, and it doesn’t even feel that long.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
What’s my favorite Young Adult film? That’s actually a really difficult question as it’s hard to define the genre that’s now widely known as “Young Adult”.
When I was growing up, a lot of books & movies I loved would now be considered YA but, at the time, the term didn’t really exist like it does now so they weren’t called that. One of my favorite movies is Stand By Me – if that was made now, would it be categorized as Young Adult?? I can’t stand the thought of some of my 80’s favorites now being considered YA! I hate how so many things get the “Young Adult” label attached to them now as a lot of people instantly turn their noses up if they hear that something is YA. Which is a shame, as some of the books & films with that label are fantastic. The Outsiders, which is a classic book, would instantly be called YA now and would probably not get the same level of respect because of it.
So, for this question, I’m going to go with a “modern” Young Adult film that came along after the wide usage of the term. I choose The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. When I went to this movie, I knew nothing at all about it and didn’t even know that there was a book. I think it REALLY helped as I didn’t know beforehand that I would be watching yet another thing that had been labelled as “Young Adult”. Sure it has teenage characters but it’s just a really good movie and I found that, even at my age, I could relate to them. Of course, it was actually SET in my teenage years (1991), which probably helped. But that meant that it also had a great soundtrack! Between the story, acting, time period, and soundtrack, I just thought it was a damn good film. Whatever its label..
Summer – Serendipitous Anachronisms
There was no doubt which film is my absolute favorite YA Film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I’ll be honest after finishing Harry Potter, I was a skeptic, and being over the age of 12 getting sucked into another series of books and films aimed at the YA category seemed like a terrible idea. Even more terrible when I considered I stopped read books aimed at the YA category at 9. So I bit the bullet and allowed yet another dalliance in a “kid’s book”. And once again, I found a captivating story. While I loved Harry Potter, the films are subpar when compared with the books. But The Hunger Games delivers in its film adaptations, and Catching Fire is my favorite in the series.
Catching Fire thrusts Katniss and Peeta once again back into The Hunger Games for the “Quarter Quell” now battling against each district’s champions. But what sets this film apart from its prequel is that it raises the stakes, in a major way. While The Hunger Gameswas about Katniss’s personal journey, Catching Fire broadens the focus and sets the stage for the forthcoming revolution. Catching Fire is about growth and change and Jennifer Lawrence gives a phenomenal performance as Katniss becomes more aware of the world around her. As she twirls on the stage and her wedding dress burns and becomes the Mockingjay dress all pretense is cast away, it is clear this movie is going to go to a dark place. While The Hunger Games tackles the dystopian future, it offers a sharp critique of our current cult of celebrity, politic, and our increasing dependence on fashion and technology.
Most of all I adore The Hunger Games because no matter how bleak the world may be there is always hope. Like many epic fantasy stories, the underlying message is that one person can make a difference, and occasionally it is nice to see that person be a girl.
Emma – Emma Explains It All
I’ve loved this film since the first time I saw it and I’ve probably shown it to any boyfriend I’ve had since then. So if any of my ex’s are reading this, hey I might have wound you up but at least I introduced you to a great movie.
Battle Royale is based on a novel published in 1999. It’s action packed, mad, brilliant fun, mental, humorous, original and it has a cracking soundtrack too. Is it a YA film? Definitely! The central characters are all school kids and the story follows their plight (trapped on an island, forced to kill each other). It’s just not….meant for kids to watch….is that allowed Darren? Oh well too late now – let battle commence!
Dan – Slip/Through
This captivating Japanese Young Adult franchise was totally ripped off by the HUNGER GAMES. The premise is eerily similar, but BATTLE ROYALE executes it far better. HUNGER GAMES was like a watered down Disney-fied version of this R-Rated Midnight Screening Cult Classic. In this controversial flick, high school students are forced to kill each other, one by one, until only a single victor remains. These kids don’t want to participate, it’s clear they have no choice. If they disagree, a collar around their neck will explode. They are sent into the “battlefield” (a.k.a. an isolated island chosen for these “games”) with a bag containing a secret “power-up” – inside could be a weapon or a tool (like a gun or binoculars). Some students pair off, forming alliances to defeat the competition; while others, refusing to participate, take their own lives. The stakes feel much higher than HUNGER GAMES, perhaps because we see the effects of violence. There are several intense sequences and several memorable characters (on the good side and on the bad). This isn’t a movie you can just shake loose. The sequel is just as provocative.
BATTLE ROYALE is the best YA because it shows the true power and capabilities of its young protagonists – their wins don’t come easily. Social commentary doesn’t overwhelm the action, but there is still a bleak message conveyed. Our adventure here doesn’t need to be set in an apocalypse to get our attention, the pulse-pounding concept alone is terrifying without any spectacle of crumbled buildings or CGI disaster.
BATTLE ROYALE is grimy and down-to-earth brutal. This cult classic deserves to rise out of the shadows of Hollywood’s vapid blockbusters. It weighs more than any number of hollow YA adventures.
S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
While there are plenty of recent romantic and dystopian YA movies to choose from, I chose to go back to one of the great comedies of the ‘80s: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. With the exception of his sister and principal, Matthew Broderick’s lovable slacker and “righteous dude” is universally loved by motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, and moviegoers everywhere. Coaxing along his friends Cameron and Sloan, the teen who always gets off scot-free tours Chicago on the ultimate daydream for unaccompanied minors. Full of memorable scenes and quotes, including one of the first after-credits scenes that is still influencing pop culture, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a fun romp for young adults and old alike. Oh, yeah!
J – Film & Nuance
The Spectacular Now
The Spectacular Now remains my favourite young adult film ever. The film isn’t as widely known as it should be and it’s a shame that Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller’s stellar performances are overshadowed by The Divergent Series. The Spectacular Now is a real film. It’s not cheesy and doesn’t attempt to provide easy catharsis for its characters. It’s the one film that doesn’t leave you with the impression that all is well or that all will be well. Simply put, it encapsulates the turmoil and thrill of a teenager’s life without opting for easy resolutions and run-of-the-mill plots.
The Spectacular Now will wow you with two different characters whose journey toward maturity is so vibrant and in the now. The film’s added layer of the future, looming and imminent and scary as it is, puts the teens life and motivations into perspective. Troubled, complex, real and triumphant, The Spectacular Now will remain a timeless tribute to all the teens like myself, who find it hard to let go of our childish youth and navigate the difficult path toward adulthood. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this film 🙂
Daniel – A Tale of Two Dans
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a humbling experience and despite whatever generation you hark from there is the common ground of having lived through those teenage years and this film revels in those magic moments and the people that help form who we are. Logan Lerman perfectly captures the struggles of a teenager in high school and Emma Watson’s kindred spirit is so enjoyable to watch. Paul Rudd and Joan Cusack are both fantastic as well, making this the best YA adaptation ever in my opinion
Lily – What About Movies
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is an adaptation of a young adult novel about friendship in the midst of a terminal illness, which is actually popular in the film industry right now. But one of the many refreshing pleasures of this film is its different take from the usual young adult adaptations. Though all of the teen dramedy tropes are still present, it doesn’t succumbed to cliches that we have seen so many times in other teen cancer films. The film’s approach to the cancer element feels different. The dying girl’s friendship with the main protagonist is both darkly funny and truthfully serious. The story doesn’t try to be too miserable and sappy because of a dying person, but made an effort to show how laughter and company can ease the pain, even if not curing it. It is hilarious and goofy but is also filled with touching and tear-jerking moments. Also, the camera plays an important role in this film. The short film parodies of classic films plus the stop-motion animation are both entertaining and admirable to watch. This is truly a charming and thoughtful tribute to film and friendship.
Rob – Movie Rob
The Fault In Our Stars
It is a great story about courage, perseverance and love in a world with characters that are teens but must deal with very adult problems. Hazel and Gus are such great characters and it’s so easy to fall in love with them (and also understand why they fall in love with each other).
Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley are both superb in this film and they help us deal with trying to find the parts in life that stand out for the better (basically to find the greatness among all the crap) and to live each moment t the best of our ability.