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6 Movies That Show The Evolution Of Teenage Rebellion

Teenagers and young adult’s rebel from authority figures; it’s the byproduct of growing up, and every generation experiences it. But to be a total badass, you need to outperform your predecessors. It’s the responsibility of each new group of hormone raging monsters to come up with a more creative and offense way to scare the hell out of their parents and prove their dominance and independence; but how far will it go?

Over the past 35 years Hollywood’s portrayal of rebelliousness went from public misconduct through song and dance, to secretly being disruptive during detention, to burning down neighborhoods high on ecstasy. At this rate, the youth that live in society a decade from now will likely eradicate entire species just to get attention. These 6 movies will illustrate how quickly rebelliousness evolved, and how 30 years from now our children will either blow each other up, or be the toughest mother f*ckers on the planet.

6. Grease (1978)

Paramount Pictures

Who knew that flash mobs were first introduced in the 1950′s?! Teenagers in this era showed their fighting spirit by wearing leather jackets and coordinating elaborate song and dance numbers. Sure they smoked, drank, and had drag races in drainage ditches; but based on the lax rules of the 1950’s, it’s hard to say whether they were actually doing anything wrong.

It’s clear that rebellion was held in a high regard during these times, making it nearly socially acceptable. Greasers were portrayed as the heroic icon for kids to aspire to; and what’s not to love? Fist fighting, whiskey slugging, gear-heads with perfect hair and the voice of an angel; it’s hard to dispute their coolness.

In a final attempt to leave a mark on the town they grew up in, these reckless miscreants plan out the most diabolical scheme for disruption they can think of. Without any warning, the unsuspecting participants of the annual carnival are caught off guard when greasers paralyze the festivities’ with… a fun-loving musical performance? You can dress the part and use the lingo, but as soon as you do the two-step your credibility as a badass is compromised.

5. The Breakfast Club (1985)

breakfast club
Universal Pictures

This group of kids represented the grittiest deviants the school had to offer at the time. Skipping class, bullying a classmate, and pulling the fire alarm were the soulless acts of immorality that got them locked up in a library for a Saturday afternoon. Well, the nerd brought a gun to school to off himself, but it was a flare gun and it prematurely discharged in his locker; explains that B average… dummy.

Although these students were meant to be seen as the rebels for their time, they lacked certain vigilante recklessness that is expected from today’s youth. Sure they danced on some desks and smoked a little dope, but they still cowered at the sound of a public school principles’ voice. With the fear of discipline engrained deep in their core, they could never publically defy seniority and were forever doomed to just mock authority figures from the shadows.

4. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Paramount Pictures

It doesn’t make sense that Ferris is in public school to begin with. He proved in one day that he already has a keen understanding of physics, music theory, sociology, psychology, and computer science; any person that hacks into a school computer system from home using 1980’s technology should have been recruited by Xerox.

But Ferris’s main talent is being a con artist. He con’s his parents, classmates, friends, teachers, a restaurant owner and apparently whoever was in charge of a parade float. His ability to manipulate people would be alarming if he didn’t use it in a harmlessly playful way. Ferris recognizes that there are rules and people that enforce them. But he just doesn’t seem to fear the consequences for his actions, or he’s invincible. Either way, lucky for us Ferris isn’t a sadistic psychopath; otherwise his antics would instantly turn from cute to tragic.

3. Charlie Bartlett (2007)


Apparently this school is located in a time warp. The year is post 2004 based on Killzone for PS2 being featured in the film, but the students openly smoke on school campus without any disciplinary repercussions from the principle. It could be because the guy running the school is a complete drunk, but it seems to go unnoticed that the student body is also never actually attending class. Perhaps it’s these huge inadequacies that allow Charlie to get away with pushing some pretty serious drugs in a dilapidated high school bathroom.

For being an educated, wealthy, and charming teenager, Charlie chooses the most unethical ways to make friends. The student body protests at one point and chants “this is a school, not a prison,” but Charlie’s actions suggest otherwise. Mass producing fake driver’s licenses and secretly selling pills very much seems like prison behavior. Charlie nearly supplied the entire school with an assortment of prescription meds before his operation got shut down.

In hindsight the parents of the town probably should have thanked him. Due to Charlie playing Doogie Howser, all the teenagers acted just slightly less like assholes for a couple weeks; proving that teenage angst can be cured with a mild sedative.

2. Easy A (2010)

Easy A
Screen Gems

Provocatively promoted at a high school pep rally by a young girl’s cabaret performance, it’s very odd that teachers, parents, and even a minister tuned in for what was suggested to be an underage webcam sex session. It would be even weirder if they paid for it. Even though the domain name was “,” after she is finished her PG-13 rated striptease, she lets her audience know that her performance was just a “free” preview for the main event. It’s unlikely that she collected any compensation for her online confession, unless the website accepted gift cards to shamelessly plugged national retail chains.

The concept of an openly promiscuous high school girl breaks all behavior norms and is the reason Olive can been seen as a pioneer for female rebelliousness. Even the trashiest and most sex obsessed girls feel shame for their actions and are self conscious about the way society perceives them. But for a short time Olive embraces the sexually liberated character she created and boldly abandons conforming to cultural expectations. All it took was a trip to the local lingerie store, a few hours of arts and crafts, and the dismissal of all self-worth, and Olive got what she wanted; backlash for being a whore minus actually getting lucky.

1. Project X (2012)

Project X 2
Warner Bros. Pictures

Drugs, booze, violence, nudity, and destruction of nearly everything in the surrounding neighborhood; this new teenage breed has stepped up the game. For being unpopular nerds that are inexperienced with the party scene, they managed to hash out every detail including transforming a tree into the world’s largest liquor bong.

They also have an unbelievable talent for crowd control. Getting more than 100 raging drunk lunatics to go from full party-mode to silence in an instant to avoid being busted by the cops has never been done before.  It seems like the party scene itself has adapted and evolved, allowing the mayhem to grow until it can no longer be contained.

One angry drug dealer is all it takes to act as the tipping point for unleashing chaos. When he realizes that the teens stole and ingested a feast of ecstasy, the whole suburban neighborhood gets transformed into doomsday. Riot gear, air support, flashbangs, rubber bullets, and a flamethrower are the end result of this booze fueled drunkfest. This proves what teenage boys really want for their 18th birthday; a riot.

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