28 Things I Learned By Watching Every Teen Movie Of The ’90s And ’00s

Leave your glasses and ponytail at the door.

I’ve spent the last year watching over 300 of the best, worst and weirdest teen movies of the ’90s (and ’00s) for my new film Beyond Clueless — a documentary about the teen genre, out now.

Here are the important discoveries I made along the way.

1. First dates must always take place in deserted swimming pools under the cover of darkness.

Alpha Dog

AD Distribution

Hackers

United Artists

Wild Things

Mandalay Entertainment

 

Because everyone loves making out in cold water for hours on end.

Kids

Kids NY

Romeo + Juliet

20th Century Fox

Swimfan

Greenestreet Films

 

2. Intentionally spilling something on a rival might sound like a good way to get revenge, but in practice it just looks awkward.

She’s All That

Miramax

The Princess Diaries

Disney

 

3. Time moves at ½ speed in a high school corridor…

Ginger Snaps

Oddbod Productions

Crime + Punishm’t in Suburbia

UA

Mean Girls

Paramount

 

4. … even for the boys.

Elephant

HBO

Donnie Darko

Pandora

The Virgin Suicides

Paramount

 

5. There’s always one black guy at the party, and he’s normally Sean Patrick Thomas.

Can’t Hardly Wait / Global Enterprises

6. High school cafeterias operate a strict one-clique-per-table seating system.

Mean Girls / Paramount

7. It takes approximately 0.27 seconds for the average teenager to fall in love.

Can’t Hardly Wait / Global Entertainment

8. No teen house party is complete without at least $100 worth of red plastic cups.

The Girl Next Door / Regency Entertainment

9. It’s easier than you would think to accidentally consume semen.

American Pie

Universal

Myriad

 

10. And no wonder. Masturbation is an exceedingly popular teen pastime.

Spider-Man / Columbia

11. Even though it’s almost impossible to get any privacy.

American Pie / Universal

12. Clear vision is important…

The Princess Diaries

Disney

She’s All That

Miramax

Spider-Man

Columbia

 

… but not as important as the instant credibility that comes with taking your glasses off.

The Princess Diaries

Disney

She’s All That

Miramax

Spider-Man

Columbia

 

13. Teenagers don’t make the best lyricists.

Idle Hands / Global Entertainment

14. Or artists.

Down To You / Miramax

15. The bathroom is an emotional place for Robin Tunney.

The Craft

Columbia

Empire Records

Regency Entertainment

 

16. Everywhere is an emotional place for Devon Sawa.

Final Destination

New Line

Idle Hands

Global Entertainment

SLC Punk!

Straight Edge Productions

 

17. Natasha Lyonne spends a lot of time vomiting.

Freeway II

Freeway Productions

Scary Movie 2

Miramax

 

18. Renée Zellweger and Joey Lauren Adams are definitely twins.

Mallrats

Miramax

Empire Records

Monarchy Enterprises

 

19. All jocks are gay until proven otherwise.

The Rules of Attraction / Lions Gate

20. Whereas everyone you think is a lesbian…

Mean Girls

Paramount

Bend It Like Beckham

BSB

 

… is actually straight.

Mean Girls

Paramount

Bend It Like Beckham

BSB

 

21. People have no respect for multiple choice exams.

Storytelling

New Line

The Perfect Score

MTV

 

22. Computers are either extremely sinister…

Swimfan / Greenestreet Films

… or completely ridiculous.

Clueless

Paramount

Get a Clue

Disney

 

23. Your deepest, darkest secrets are likely to be photocopied hundreds of times and handed out to the entire student body.

Mean Girls

Paramount

Cruel Intentions

Cruel Productions

 

24. Foreign exchange students are all Sports Illustrated models.

Slap Her, She’s French

IMF

American Pie

Universal

 

25. No high school prom is complete without a semi-famous rock band in attendance.

Idle Hands

GEP

10 Things I Hate About You

Disney

Drive Me Crazy

Fox

 

(The same goes for graduation parties.)

Crossroads

Filmco

Not Another Teen Movie

Torchlight

 

26. But that doesn’t mean that the hundreds of professional dancers in the audience are going to be upstaged.

27. After all, the world may freeze and fade to black at any moment.

Pecker

New Line

Romeo + Juliet

Fox

Teaching Mrs. Tingle

Miramax

 

28. But not before we’ve had our fill of product placement.

Antitrust / MGM

Ryan Phillippe is THINKING REALLY HARD about that Pepsi machine.

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