Here's a link to an article I came across in the American Libraries Direct newsletter, about YALSA's 2009 choices for great coming-of-age films for young adults.
I'd like to conduct an informal class poll & see how many of us have seen these films & agree with the committee's assessment of them as "fabulous"! I'll reproduce the basic list here, along with my critical 2 cents on the ones I've seen. I hope other class members will weigh in!
10 Things I Hate About You--Julia Stiles is a spirited "shrew" and the late Heath Ledger her nemesis/love interest. Were I still in high school, I'd find this updated (and somewhat less sexist) version of the Bard's tale infinitely preferable to the original play.
Bend It Like Beckham--Funny, inspiring and thoughtful. Though nominally about a teen girl's desire to play soccer against the wishes of her strict Indian family, I thought the film was also keenly observant on sexual politics, female rivalry and issues of race and class.
Juno--Did anyone NOT see this? I saw it multiple times with my then-18 year old daughter. Sometimes the dialogue was just too wittily arch for me, but the underlying sweetness of the story won me over. I especially like the fact that Juno's dad and stepmom are not made out to be ogres, and that the prospective adoptive couple isn't as yuppily perfect as they seem.
Love*Com--I have not seen it, but now I want to!
Miyazaki’s Spirited Away--Wonderful, as are all of Miyazaki's films (Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso--among others). A humane underlying spirit with interesting heroines/heroes and fanciful storylines. The images are gorgeous as well!
Osama--I have not seen this.
Superbad--Okay, I admit to being one of those parents who lets her teens watch pretty much anything; in my defense, they are 19 and 14, though! They loved this movie; I thought it was pretty dumb, though I could see the appeal. Beyond the idiotic subplot with McLovin and the moronic police officers (talk about arrested development) and the tortuous attempts of the boys to obtain both booze and sex, the "bromance" between the main characters was actually interesting and quite touching. Transitioning from high school to college is huge, and things will never be the same. On that note, the film succeeded. For the rest, in my opinion, it was Porky's revisited.
Whale Rider--I thought this was another wonderful film, with an absolutely luminous female lead (who since seems to have disappeared completely). Another film, like Bend It Like Beckham, with strong female characters and thoughtful explorations of race, class and tradition.
As Real as Your Life; The Boys of Baraka; Devil’s Playground; Dogtown and Z-Boys; The Heart of the Game; Invisible Children: Rough Cut; Persepolis; Shadya
Well, I'm embarrassed to say the only non-fiction film I've seen on this list is Persepolis; but it was excellent. The film was a faithful rendering of Satrapi's original drawings with her graphic style used to great effect. I also thought the voice acting was wonderful; one of my favorite moments is a punked-out Marjane squawking out "The Eye of the Tiger". The graphic novels are also excellent & taught me much that I didn't know about the Iranian Revolution and its horrendous effects on the citizenry.