7. Red Dawn
It’s hard not to yell ‘Wolverines!’ whenever this movie comes up – the movie gets you so pumped, it’s like the Jock Jams of high school movies. You wanna know how awesome it is? It’s like if The Breakfast Club was injected with that shit Bane got pumped with – that’s how awesome.
Do yourself a favor and pick up the Collector’s Edition version of the DVD and switch on the ‘Carnage Counter.’ It’s this graphic that shows up before any action scene sectioned off to count up each casualty and explosion. It includes ‘Soviet Forces’, ‘Civilians’, ‘Wolverines’, ‘Grenades’, ‘RPGs’, ‘Explosions’, and my personal favorite: ‘deer.’ That last one only shows up once. It’s best to watch the film without the counter if you haven’t seen it though; it has a tendency to show up before the actual death, spoiling the action.
6. The Warriors
No doubt at this point you’ve come to realize that what I define as a ‘terrific film’ is a little opinionated. Not that this film isn’t terrible, it’s just that it’s one of those films that everybody knows but not many people tend to actually sit through – more often than not due to the effects of alcohol. One thing’s for sure – if you even need a cheap group costume for a Halloween party look no further. There’s a lot to choose from here – the obvious Baseball Furies for one. And for the ladies there’s always the Lizzies.
Hey – wanna learn something weird? Michael Beck, the guy who played Swan in the film – he went on to do some TV and film, but also audio book narrations. He did the unabridged version of Bill Clinton’s My Life even. How’s that for nice and weird?
5. Menace II Society
It seems really weird to have this film in a list that includes Harry Potter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because really up until this point, most of the films listed have trivialized the violence more than anything. It’s either action movie style or horror movie gore, but of course none of these films really recognize or respect the fact that real violence does happen. Honestly – that was on purpose because I didn’t want a list with movies like Kids and Alpha Dog and anything tragic. But I thought it might be best to include just one.
In the ten years since this film the Hughes Brothers have done five films. They really have to pick up the pace if you ask me. Everything they do is good, which actually might have something to do with how much time they put into each film. Also Allen seems to like doing his own thing from time to time as well, and it looks like both brothers have are now working on two separate films with two very similar names – Allen is doing Broken City, and Albert is doing Motor City. That can’t be a coincidence.
4. Lord Of The Flies
This is exactly why you don’t leave kids unsupervised. I forget how many days this film is supposed to take place over, but a group of young boys really only need a couple of hours to be reduced to pig decapitating half-naked animals running around with spears attempting to appease some mysterious island force like they’re the cast of Lost. Even for the British – turning a group of kids into a hoard of Machiavellian lost boys would only take an afternoon tops.
The best part of this film is when the navel officer first discovers the group at the end – the look on his face is priceless. Like you just know this whole time they’ve been sailing to the wreckage thinking, “I’m sure they’re all doing okay. How bad could it be?”
3. Battle Royale
Yeah, of course.
There was a lot of talk about this film when The Hunger Games came out because of how similar it was. Like, people seemed angry about that – but if you ask me, Hollywood can make as many movies about teenagers fighting on an island as they want to make because that’s some goddamn entertainment. Of course, The Hunger Games also isn’t on this list, so that’s got to tell you something.
The best detail of Battle Royale was the range of weapons (and sometimes non-weapons) that each student received. A great way to get to know a person is to watch the movie with them and ask them what they’d want as a weapon. With shotguns and crossbows featured you’d think it would be an easy choice, but there are also sneakier tools given to them like the cyanide or the GPS tracking device. Think about that – with the GPS you could just sneak up on somebody with a gun and take them out, right? Then you’d not only have a gun but would also know where everyone is on the island. Of course if murdering your fellow classmates isn’t your thing you could always go with the fan or saucepan lid.
2. Rebel Without A Cause
Even though he was 24 at the time, James Dean really knew his teenage angst. You see it right at the beginning when he drunkenly stumbles around the police station, a crying violent mess. Despite his outbursts – you still get a feeling of compassion from him right away. He has just the right amount of broken in his performance for you to love him from the start.
And boy does this movie get violent. Like – there’s no blood or anything, but an awful lot of teenagers die in this film considering when it was made. You think, ‘Okay, there’s going to be a car race and maybe a knife fight.’ But then people start whipping out guns and hanging chickens and shit – next thing you know there’s a goddamn standoff with the cops. It’s pretty damn dark.
Have to say – Jim’s parents are ice cold. Even at the end when Jim finally introduces them to his girlfriend and opens up to them for the first time – they turn and smile at each other all happy. That would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that they police just carried away the body of a dead teenager. Like… their kid just saw someone die and they’re all like “Aw he’s in love!”
1. A Clockwork Orange
There’s a mechanism that goes off in everyone’s brain that causes people to forget that the main character of this film is supposed to be young. I think it’s a psychological defense system that enables you to watch the film without being horrified. Maybe it’s just me actually.
For most Kubrick films you can kind of pin it all down on him – like, he chose amazing talent and all that but there’s always this feeling that it would have been great no matter what. I don’t get that same feeling with this film; Malcolm McDowell is just as responsible for it being what it is as Kubrick. Remember ‘Singing in the Rain’? He improvised that. After the film came out Gene Kelly apparently wouldn’t talk to McDowell because of it. After all – he took something wonderful and in one take made it completely horrifying.
That’s why this is number one, not for blood or brutality but rather for that moment where the film took something the audience loved and made them hate it. It took away their comfort zone.