The Pro-Youth Pages

Pro-Youth Film Critiques

In this section, we analyze individual films to explore the treatment of youth in all film. We also hope to help people discover movies worth seeing. If you've watched The Breakfast Club so many times that the words "neo-maxie zoom dweebie" have lost all meaning for you, the Pro-Youth Pages is here to help.

Warning: we will not hesitate to spoil endings, surprises, and jokes in pursuit of thorough analysis. You may want to watch the films first, then read these insightful reviews.

Films Worth Watching

Films Worth Skipping


Films Worth Watching

Halloween H20 review - click here Halloween H20
Finally, a film that really is fun for the whole family (assuming everyone in your family enjoys slice-and-dice horror films).

1998. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Sugar and Spice review - click here Sugar & Spice
A caper film for teenagers. It comes perilously close to stereotyping youth, but deftly avoids it. Funny and fun to watch.

2001. Starring Marley Shelton, Marla Sokoloff, Mena Suvari, and James Marsden.

Bless the Child review - click here Bless the Child
A supernatural thriller in which the powerful child is not evil.

2000. Starring Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits, and Christina Ricci.

RoboCop 2 review - click here RoboCop 2
If you're going to make a film with a young villain, this is the way to do it.

1990. Starring Peter Weller and Nancy Allen. Co-written by comic book legend Frank Miller.

Young Guns review - click here Young Guns
For once, an action film for adolescents.

1988. Starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Terence Stamp, and Jack Palance.

Foxfire review - click here Foxfire
Many movies promise a "rebellious teenager." This film delivers.

1996. Starring Angelina Jolie, Hedy Burress, and Jenny Shimizu. From the Joyce Carol Oates novel.

I Know What You Did Last Summer review - click here I Know What You Did Last Summer
There have been many thrillers where young people are the main characters. This is one of the few where young people are heroes.

1997. Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Anne Heche. Written by Kevin Williamson.

Disturbing Behavior review - click here Disturbing Behavior
Horror film heroes get more heroic.

1998. Starring James Marsden and Katie Holmes.

Logan film analysis - click here Logan
Finally, a superhero film for audiences young and old.

2017. Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Dafne Keen.

Ender's Game analysis - click here Ender's Game
Katniss is not a strong character — Ender is.

2013. Starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley. From the novel by Orson Scott Card

Midnight Movie review - click here Midnight Movie
This slasher film with young heroes goes a step further.

2008. Starring Rebekah Brandes and Brea Grant.

Viral review - click here Viral
Two teenaged stereotypes are blended in this zombie film, with fresh results.

2016. Starring Sofia Black-D'Elia and Analeigh Tipton.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off review - click here Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Is Ferris a youth rights hero or anti-hero? Is he even real?

1986. Starring Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Grey, and Mia Sara. Written and directed by John Hughes.

Veronica Mars review - click here Veronica Mars — Season One
OK, it's a TV show, but it's on DVD and this detective show is a great breakthrough for youth, surpassing even "21 Jump Street."

Starring Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Amanda Seyfried, and Paris Hilton.

Veronica Mars review - click here Veronica Mars — Seasons Two and Three
The show declined as it went along, but even in the end it surpassed most TV.

Starring Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and Charisma Carpenter.

Let Me In review - click here Let Me In
A vampire movie gives us one of the most serious and sophisticated looks at the life of pre-teenagers.

2010. Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, ChloŽ Grace Moretz, and Elias Koteas.

Starship Troopers review - click here Starship Troopers
One of the greatest war movies ever made, and the warriors are teenagers — like in real life.

1997. Starring Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, and Neil Patrick Harris. Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Hackers review - click here

A highly enjoyable comedy-thriller with young protagonists.

1995. Starring Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, and Matthew Lillard.

Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane review - click here

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
The most pro-youth film ever made!

1976. Starring Jodie Foster and Martin Sheen.

Finding Nemo review - click here Finding Nemo
A youth-friendly children's movie. Honestly.

2003. Starring voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Willem Dafoe.

Agent Cody Banks review - click here Agent Cody Banks
James Bond — the early years.

2003. Starring Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, and Angie Harmon.

Brick review - click here Brick
This detective movie is no "Veronica Mars," but worth checking out for a strong, smart teenaged hero.

2005. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, and Richard Roundtree.

Sixteen Candles review - click here Sixteen Candles
The film that launched the John Hughes Revolution still holds up.

1984. Starring Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, John Cusack, Joan Cusack, and Paul Dooley. Written and directed by John Hughes.

Dutch movie review - click here Dutch
John Hughes continued to break new ground in the 90s. A "family film" that's not just for parents.

1991. Starring Ed O'Neill, Ethan Embry (billed as Ethan Randall), JoBeth Williams, and Christopher McDonald. Written by John Hughes.

Weird Science movie review - click here Weird Science
John Hughes' least loved teenager movie is still a treasure.

1985. Starring Kelly LeBrock, Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Robert Downey Jr., and Bill Paxton. Written and directed by John Hughes.

Carrie (2013) movie review - click here Carrie
Kimberly Peirce takes the classic anti-youth horror film and yanks out the ageism.

2013. Starring ChloŽ Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. Directed by Kimberly Peirce.

The People Under the Stairs review - click here The People Under the Stairs
Not totally youth-friendly, but offers an impressive young hero.

1991. Starring Brandon Adams, A. J. Langer, Ving Rhames. Written and directed by Wes Craven.

Elektra review - click here Elektra
Action movie with a surprise. Earns a mixed review from us.

2005. Starring Jennifer Garner, Terence Stamp, and Kirsten Prout.

Kick-Ass review - click here Kick-Ass
Clichť-ridden superhero film — with a few jaw-droppingly exceptional moments.

2010. Starring ChloŽ Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage, and Aaron Johnson.

Iron Jawed Angels review - click here Iron Jawed Angels
An inspiring true story of disenfranchised people agitating for change. A youth rights allegory?

2004. Starring Hilary Swank, Frances O'Connor, and Anjelica Huston.


Films Worth Skipping

10 Things I Hate About You review - click here 10 Things I Hate About You
Why are fictional teenagers always such wimps? This problem is especially pronounced when the teenagers are supposed to be "rebellious." Rebels who don't rebel.

Starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone review - click here The Incredibles
A "family film" by people who hate children and hate women. Too often in Hollywood, "family" is just code for "patriarchy," as The Incredibles illustrates.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone review - click here Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
There are so few films made for children. Why do they all have to suck? Here's a perfect example of Hollywood promising to entertain children and then attacking them instead.

The Boy Next Door film review - click here The Boy Next Door
Teases us with pro-youth moments, but pushes stereotype of the young sexual predator.

Starring Jennifer Lopez.

Pay It Forward review - click here Pay It Forward
More insults per second than any other film in history.

Starring Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment, and Jon Bon Jovi.

Amazing Spider-Man review - click here The Amazing Spider-Man
The insulting Spider-Man.

Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Denis Leary.

Freddy Vs. Jason review - click here Freddy Vs. Jason
Horror movies hit a new low.

Perfect Score review - click here The Perfect Score
Confused heist movie.

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Darius Miles, and brief appearance by Matthew Lillard.

Gracie review - click here Gracie
Pandering to soccer moms ruins teenager movie.