It's kind of hard to believe that it's been more than a decade since my mom bought my friends and I tickets to American Pie, on accounts of us being freshman in high school at the time and unable to see anything on our own that had two boobies and more than one use of the dreaded F-word. But being the supportive, encouraging mother she always has been when it comes to my love of film, she knew that she could not take away the adolescent milestone of my chums and me to see our generation's Porky's.
But quite honestly, as I walked out of the theater on July 9th, 1999 -- still a boy, not yet a man -- I realized that American Pie was something special for my generation. Slices of it Porky's, sure, with its gross-out, sex-crazed humor but also Hughesian in a way, as you found that beneath the crust was something more warm-hearted. The topic of sexuality, both with a partner and yourself -- be it a foreign exchange student or a sock or a pastry -- is something that can be so idolized and misrepresented as a teenager to the point that we needed a film to show us all at once that it's not a big deal but it's also a huge deal.
Fast forward to now, grown up now closer to my own high-school reunion than I am to my high-school graduation with American Reunion hitting theaters this weekend, giving us one last piece of the pie. To be honest, it's making me feel damn nostalgic. So, let's look back at a few other teenage gems of the '90's.
Romeo + Juliet (1996) Baz Luhrmann's take on Bill Shakespeare's tragic tale of star-crossed lovers not only made high schoolers everywhere take interest in English Lit but it boasted a pretty bitchin' soundtrack to boot, a must for any iconic teen movie and a trend with this list. Where is everyone now? Oh, Leonardo DiCaprio? Yeah, maybe you've heard of him ... he's kind of one of the biggest movie stars in the world. We have this film and Basketball Diaries to thank for turning the teen heartthrob into a megastar.
Scream (1996) Every generation needs its staple horror franchises and subgenre. Kevin Williamson just happened to riff off those of the two prior decades for ours, which makes total sense on the account of most everything after '00 in terms of music, fashion and film for that matter feel like regurgitated versions of the previous decades. Where is everyone now? The only person still doing anything noteworthy is Drew Barrymore -- ironically, the character killed off in the first minutes of the movie whose casting in the film was a bit of a pop-culture reference anyway.
Can't Hardly Wait (1998) If the '90s saw any other successful attempts at a John Hughes-meets-Cameron Crowe film, Can't Hardly Wait was it. The fateful "last party on the last night of high school" tale was equal parts Say Anything and Breakfast Club and sits at the top of many people's list of favorite high school movies of all time, mine included. Where is everyone now? While jam-packed with icons of the '90s like sweetheart Jennifer Love Hewitt and Seth Green, who are still doing their things, respectively, Peter Facinelli, aka Mr. Vampire Dr. Dad from The Twilight Saga, seems to be the one who can go back to his reunion with his head held high on this one. Though you may remember a young Jason Segel as the stoned "Watermelon Guy."
10 Things I Hate About You (1999) After Baz made Shakespeare cool again, WS adaptations were all the rage. But 10 Things I Hate About You shrouded The Taming of the Shrew in a modernized high-school tale that showed more of the female perspective on things. Man, oh, man ... it's still hard to shake that poem reading scene. Where is everyone now? The film not only introduced us to the late, great Heath Ledger but reintroduced us to a post-Third Rock from the Sun Joseph Gordon-Levitt, both of whom are known as two of the great young actors of this generation, not to mention quite the scene stealers in Chris Nolan films.
Cruel Intentions (1999) Undoubtedly the most sex-filled teen film of the '90s, Cruel Intentions was yet another retelling of a classic literary work -- 1782's "The Dangerous Liaisons." Except, you know, with way more girl-on-girl make-out scenes and "Bitterweet Symphony." Where is everyone now? Yet another girl-next-door of the '90s, Sarah Michelle Gellar, seemed at the time like she'd be the one with the long-running career, but it's Reese Witherspoon, Oscar winner and ex-wifey to co-star Ryan Phillippe, who has shown her ability to be the cool kid in class.