Sunday, June 2, 2013

YA Guy's Top 10 (Movies!)

Following yesterday's post, I began to think about YA-guy movies.

Turns out there are quite a few of them.

So here, for what it's worth, is my provisional Top 10.  I say "provisional" because this list is based entirely on the DVDs and Blu-Ray discs I personally own, so obviously it's not definitive (for example, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, which I love but don't own, isn't on the list.)  But it's not wholly random, either; all of these films, which I've listed in rank order (best to least best), are darn good.

YA Guy swears on it.

1. Breaking Away.  You want a YA-guy movie that deals thoughtfully and subtly with growing up, with father-son relationships, with male friendship, with choice-making, with the meaning of work and sports, and with a whole lot of other things besides?  Look no further.  Quite simply, one of the finest films ever made.

2. American History X.  This is R-rated, and the graphic violence and sexuality are tough for some to watch.  But it's an absolutely amazing film about the choices young men make--in this case, the negative choices.  Riveting and emotionally devastating.

3. Star Wars: A New Hope.  In other words, the very first Star Wars film in order of theatrical release.  I saw it when I was twelve, and my YA years were indelibly marked by it.  That the series morphed into a father-son story, and then (in the prequels) into the story of a young man's fall, only made it more powerful.

4. Edward Scissorhands.  For every high school boy who's ever felt like a freak....

5. Spider-Man. ... and wished he was a hero.  In other words, every high school boy.

6. The Outsiders.  This movie was critically panned for some reason, maybe because of its faithfulness to the book or because it wasn't the kind of film people were expecting Francis Ford Coppola to direct.  But it's a terrific adaptation of Hinton's novel, and it launched the careers of many fine young actors, male and female.

7. West Side Story.  Yes, it's dated.  Yes, it's ridiculous to have people dancing and singing while they're killing each other.  But if you can get past that and let yourself be immersed in the music and visuals (not to mention the Shakespearean love story), it remains an astonishing achievement.

8. Friday Night Lights.  A bit repetitive--how many scenes do we really need that show how football-crazy the town is?--but still a great high school sports film.

9. The Lightning Thief.  This film suffers from some very questionable adaptation choices--in particular, the decision to make Percy and co. much older than they are in the book, presumably so they can drive lots of really fast sports cars--but the source material is so great, the film couldn't go entirely wrong.

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Confession: I haven't seen this one yet.  But my daughter swears it's amazing.  I'll take her word for it.

I considered a few others for this list--Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Hunger Games, etc.  But the first seemed a bit young for YA, and in the case of the second, does Collins really need any more free publicity?  So I'm sticking with what I've got.

Now it's your turn.  What would you add (or delete)?

Inquiring YA Guys want to know.


  1. I never thought of American History X as a YA film before, but it totally works. Edward Norton is riveting. And I've heard that FNL the TV show is a big improvement over the FNL movie. Fans are rabid about that show!

    1. I thought both Edwards (Norton and Furlong) were amazing in AHX! And I've heard good reviews of FNL the TV show, but never watched. Maybe I'll check it out--might take me back to my "White Shadow" days!

  2. Ooooohhhh, The Outsiders! I haven't seen that one in years! I need to watch it again soon! :)

    1. It really is a good film--if a bit literal in its adaptation of the novel. But with such a great novel, who can complain?

    2. Exactly! :) And don't people always complain that movies stray too far from books? ;)