Times are changing. At least, that's what we keep hearing. Because of the rolling tide of social customs, political correctness and sensibilities, every year, another movie from the past is relegated to the "outdated" section. These outdated films are usually the ones from years gone by that present a message considered a little too old fashioned for our current tastes, especially when those movies are directed at our teens, those manipulable blank slates of human beings that are so easily conditioned by Hollywood. They need us to protect them from movies.
It's not only outdated films that send outdated messages. Screenwriters are people too, capable of having terrible ideas just like the rest of us. Similarly, not all great movies have great messages. Maybe they're great films, but not really something you want to talk about with your kids over dinner after family movie night. Or maybe you do. That probably beats talking to your kid about how many Squirtles they caught at school today. Whatever it takes to get them to open up right?
Let's be honest. Isn't it a little naïve to think that films really speak to teens? Of course, movies represent teens, accurately or not, but it's gotta be farfetched to think that they teach them anything about themselves. I doubt many kids in my generation watched The Goonies and thought afterward, "You know, I should probably put together a treasure hunt to create an optimal bonding experience with my friends and improve my confidence, courage and self-reliance." But, for every 10 kids who ignore the messages in film, there is one who listens. This list is for that one teenager out there, lost and afraid, looking for answers in a DVD. We're here for you.
There's no doubt that movies attempt to send messages to teens, whether they listen to them or not. Some of those messages are really empowering and really beautiful. Unfortunately, there are almost certainly more movies that have really brutal messages. Messages that I wouldn’t even send to a teen anonymously. Some messages have gotten worse with time; some were just made that way and will always be that way. All the films on this list should be played with a disclaimer, "The views here are solely of the screenwriter and do not in any way represent the views of humankind. Try to avoid learning anything during this film." Here are 15 great films that send the WRONG message to teens.
15 40 Days and 40 Nights
14 Reality Bites
13 Pretty In Pink
The message here is all about rich kids vs poor kids. Pretty in Pink argues that not all rich kids are total jerks, which is probably true. But, there's a small issue here. Andie (Molly Ringwald) isn't even poor. This girl has her own car in high school but because it's not a brand new Benz, it's supposed to be a pile of crap. It even has a dent in it, gross! She lives in a nice home on a quiet street. Lovely movie, but it is definitely a movie about how rich people picture poor people. If you watch this with your kids, make sure you tell them not to go around calling people like Andie poor, or else they'll really be offending some middle class kids.
11 Project X
10 Risky Business
9 She's All That
8 No Strings Attached/Friends with Benefits
7 Ferris Bueller's Day Off
6 The 10 Things I Hate About You Movie
5 License to Drive
4 I Know What You Did Last Summer
3 Revenge of the Nerds
2 Breakfast Club
1 The Notebook
This message goes for so many different romance movies, but The Notebook is going to be a stand-in for the genre here. Parents might think twice about showing this movie to their male teens knowing that it might teach them horrible lessons about courting a woman. There's a few instances when Ryan Gosling is outright stalking Rachel McAdams. Buddy climbs the Ferris wheel and takes McAdams hostage until she goes out on a date with him. He follows her around like a lost puppy and promises to buy her house—then does, even after she broke it off with him. Despite her parents taking a hard stance with Gosling, McAdams can’t shake him, so she finally gives in to his advances. Later in life, Gosling's family pleads with him to leave McAdams alone, but he does not relent.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Rotten Tomatoes
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