What I learned from Teen Movies of the 90’s

Nineties teen movies are the movies that I grew up on, and being the movie buff that I am, I have to assume that most of the movies I watched as a kid, must have influenced my perceptions on life in some way, shape, or form. Given that I was only 10-years-old at most when these movies came out, these mid-twenties actors casted as high school students gave me pretty unrealistic expectations about being a teenager. (i.e: Stacey Dash was nearly 30 when she played Dionne in Clueless). I’m not just talking about any movies that were released sometime in the 90’s decade, I’m referring to the 90’s movies that are focused around a high-school environment, most of which sharing the same stereotypes and since most of them contained a lot of similarities, I guess I anticipated life to be something like them.

I assumed that belly shirts and mini-skirts were acceptable attire in a high school dress code. I looked forward to the awesome house parties which brought together the whole school. Senior prom was depicted where the hottest band of your time performs in front of your random public school; everyone loses their virginity to his or her prom date that night and we all get to choreograph a flash mob dance at the end. I assumed that once I got to high school, boys would look like Freddie Prinze Jr. and Heath Ledger. I was pretty disappointed with the male line-up in my school compared to the heartthrob look-a-likes I was expecting. Although my teenage years did not turn out quite like I expected, I have the movies from my childhood to thank for a little bit of advice. So I have compiled a list of lessons from 90’s movies that kind of just stuck with me.


First of all, it’s been nearly 20 years since the movie Clueless came out and I am still jealous of Cher Horowitz’s closet. This movie was the reason the phrases “As if” and “like totally buggin” were added to my vocabulary, and looking back now, I probably sounded ridiculous. I learned a few good lessons from this flick. Number 1: Never take advice from “a virgin who can’t drive.” In this scene, Brittany Murphy (R.I.P.) burns Alicia Silverstone pretty badly, but sometimes you just have to say it how it is. clueless 1Another takeaway from this 90’s classic is coined by Cher herself; “Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.” I totally should have accepted this advice back in ’95 rather than trying to piece together why I couldn’t find a halfway decent guy when I finally got to high school. Moving on, reading between the lines a bit, we establish that in Cher’s world, all of the best guys are either taken or gay. Why would the real world be any different? But never result to falling in love with your stepbrother as a result. This brings me to my next movie…

Cruel Intentions 

This fiery twisted film was filled with seduction, drugs, blackmail, girl-on-girlction, guy-on-guy action, profanity and questionable incest relations between step-siblings played by Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar. What’s not to love? Sebastian (Phillippe) mentions in one scene, “Email is for geeks and pedophiles.” Okay, maybe in the 90’s, but technology has emerged to where I think we can omit that one for now. Next lesson: a great phrase to live by, which unlike the former, I don’t believe will ever become obsolete over-time; “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” We can thank Sarah Michelle Gellar for prepping us to not let all the backstabbing bitches get the best of us.

Can’t Hardly Wait 

The Original Teen Movie; this classic never gets old to me. It introduced many celebs that we fell in love with over the years; Jennifer Love Hewitt, Seth Green, Ethan Embry, Jamie Pressly, Peter Facinelli (Carlisle in Twilight??), and a small debuting part by Jason Segal. This 90’s rom com gives us totally unrealistic expectations about high school house parties. But we fall hard for the “I love you, but you don’t know I exist” cliché.

Wish Upon a Star

Beside the obvious message; “be careful what you wish for/the grass isn’t always greener on the other side”, this Disney movie which introduces Katherine Heigl in her prime, teaches us girls that to be popular, you need to come up with a set of rules with your catty girlfriends that require you to shave your legs every single day and forbid us from repeating outfits. It all makes sense now. Is this why I’m so fucked up?


Rose McGowan plays the ultimate bad bitch. She makes Regina George look like an angel compared to the role she plays as Courtney Shayne. She accidentally kills her best friend, then went about her day as if everything was “peachy fucking keen.” Moral of the story: Don’t play birthday pranks on your friends that could potentially kill them, nor should you stage their death as a rape in the event of it happening. I’m also terrified of jawbreakers now.

10 Things I Hate About You

I have been in love with Heath Ledger since the moment I first heard him singing Rod Stewart’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” on the bleachers. (RIP my love!) A few takeaways from it; rebellious girls who don’t care what other people think can be tamed by a sexy Aussie. I also learned an effective tactic of sneaking someone out of detention: distract your teacher by flashing your boobs! I actually never got the chance to try it, but I’m sure it has a pretty high success rate. Larisa Oleynik, casted as Bianca (even though I always remember her from The Secret World of Alex Mack) teaches us a few valuable life lessons as well; she explicitly states that “you don’t buy black lingerie unless you want someone to see it.” I think of this quote nearly every time I slip on my little black panties. I’m not sure why this stuck with me over the years, it seems silly, but the girl has a point. She also expresses that you don’t know the difference between “like” and “love” until you own a designer bag.


She’s All That

It’s your classic Hollywood fairy tale. Popular jock makes a bet that he can turn a nerdy girl into Prom Queen, but in the midst of the bet, he falls in love. Girl finds out about the bet and breaks up with him. He apologizes and they live happily ever after. This movie is cheesy, but we still eat it all up. She’s All That taught me that you can have an entire makeover to increase your popularity just by taking off your glasses, losing the ponytail and a simple wardrobe change. No kidding! Freddie Prinze Jr. taught us 90’s kids the importance of never backing out of a bet. In the case of it going sour and then losing the bet, showing up to your high school graduation in your birthday suit is a great form of apology if you’re ever looking for some forgiveness.

American Pie

This movie was hilarious, awkward, raunchy, and yet brilliant. If you incorporate “this one time at band camp” into a conversation anywhere, there is no doubt that everyone will know what you’re talking about. American Pie taught male viewers that you can’t go to college as a virgin; they have special dorms for people like you. From a girl perspective, I learned that boys are perverted horn dogs and are clueless in the female department. Well, teenagers for that matter. This movie keeps me laughing hysterically from start to finish every time.

The Craft

…So maybe it was just me and my girlfriends, but after watching The Craft we pretty much convinced ourselves that we were witches. We may or may not have attempted to reenact their “light as a feather, stiff as a board” scene, and claimed it to have worked, even though we knew that it didn’t. And I won’t deny that we also wrote up our own spell book. Needless to say, they didn’t have the highest success rates. So I suppose what I eventually learned from this film is that I am not, in fact a witch, nor do I possess any type of supernatural powers, as much as I would have liked to convince myself otherwise.

Never Been Kissed

This movie always put the idea in my head that I should be Disco Barbie for Halloween once I grew boobs and could look as good as Jessica Alba in that costume. Thinking about it now, it was a little odd that she wore that as her prom dress. However, this movie taught me that one bad nick-name could ruin your teenage life, and if you are a nerd in high school, it is likely that you’ll still be a nerd when you grow up… unless of course you have a popular brother who can help you get to the top. We learn from David Arquette (Rob) that all it takes is for one popular person to think you’re cool, and you’re in. I guess that could be true to an extent, but it also fogs our expectations a bit. It’s a harsh world out there.

never been kissed josie grosie.



Well I Guess This Is Growing Up

Long lived the days when I could go out drinking like Tara Reid and wake up the next morning with enough energy to run a 5K and go about my day just as functionally as if I had not consumed any alcohol the night before. Nowadays the day after a wild night is spent permanently attached to my bed and/or couch ordering $55 worth of Chinese delivery and watching a Love it or List it marathon on HGTV. I have to face it; I just can’t party like I used to. Sometimes it takes up to a few days to fully recover from a hangover while I remind myself “I am never drinking again.” I can only imagine how much worse these hangovers will be years from now if they are this bad now. I know they are increasing with age and I’m not looking forward to it.


I’m not in college anymore so I’m no longer aloud to go out and be “that girl.” I have sort of entered the real world, so what I do in public could make or break me. I can’t go out and make a fool of myself with the likelihood of me running into a coworker. I can no longer post pictures of myself and my friends taking shots, dancing on bars and looking a hot mess all over the internet.


Is it wrong that I would prefer sitting at home drinking wine and watching movies rather than go out to a bar, take shots and dance like a ratchet white girl? Does this mean I’m getting old? When I go out drinking, I have to set aside at least an entire day dedicated to being hungover and I just don’t have time for that anymore.

aint nobody got time for that

Maybe my perceptions are skewed right now since I am battling a hangover as I type, but maybe I’m just growing up.


What NOT to Look Forward to After Graduation

Okay, so I’m not trying to be an ungrateful pessimist here, because I truly am looking forward to graduation more than anything in the world right now. I also know that not everyone is given the opportunity for a college education. However, after six years of being in college, I can successfully say that for the first time about twenty years, I will no longer be a student. That means no more studying, no more exams, no more papers, no more staying up all hours of the night cramming assignments in, no more need for adderall. I mean really, other than for studying purposes, who actually enjoys taking that stuff? As of today, I have only two weeks of classes left and just 3 and half weeks until I walk across the stage in my cap and gown. However, among the advantages that come from finally graduating, some reality set in and I came to the realization that being a post-grad is not going to be all sunshine and rainbows. And here’s why:


1. Student Loans. This is probably the worst part about graduating. I cannot even express how badly I am dreading the cometh of “twelve months after graduation” when I am legally obligated to pay back the thousands of dollars in student loans that I have taken out over the years. I’ve seriously lost track of how much I actually owe, and I wonder how long I will have to be a prisoner to these debts.

2. Officially no longer a kid. Although I’ve been legally an adult for five years now, for some reason, being a college student sort of extends childhood a little longer. Most college students these days can’t distinguish their ass from their elbow and rely on their parents for most financial support and advice. I consider myself to have been quite an independent student throughout my years in college, as I have not lived with my parents since high school, nor have I relied on any financial assistance. I have worked nearly full-time while in school, but even with these factors, something inside feels like I am still a kid. I don’t know what it is about being in college that makes us feel this way, maybe it’s knowing that it’s the last stepping stone before entering the “real world.” Whatever it is, after graduation, you childhood is just a memory. You’re a college grad now, so it’s time to grow the fuck up.


3. College is not an excuse anymore. Going off of my last point, once you graduate, you can’t blame college for your drunken stupidity and careless ways anymore. Once you enter the business world, one night stands, getting white girl wasted and sleeping ’til noon is no longer acceptable. You’re in the real world now and you have to be responsible. You have to wake up at a decent hour of the morning, make your bed, eat breakfast and go to work. You’re in the 9-to-5 world now. You also don’t have any excuses for your room being a mess. I don’t know why, but once you graduate, you need to get your life together, and that includes keeping your room clean and making your bed every day. The pictures of you doing shots at the bar and keg stands at frat parties need to be removed from your Facebook and Instagram if you want a sensible job to even consider hiring you, and in 2013, making your page private, doesn’t suffice. 

4. Hearing the same, aggravating question from everyone around you; “Have you found a job yet?” No, I have not found a job yet. In fact, that’s the last thing I want to do right now. If anything, I’d retire if I could. I’ve spent the last twenty years in school, and now that I am done, all I want to do is a whole lot of nothing! The first thing I want to do once I get that diploma is put it to good use; I want to lay on my couch with my dog, watching re-runs and eating ice cream all day for a couple of weeks. When I get bored with that, I want to go backpacking in Europe for a few months with the nonexistent money that I have saved up, learning new languages and becoming more cultured. Upon arrival back in the states, I suppose I will have to find a job, which brings me to my next rant.


5. Looking for a Job: Looking for a job sucks about as bad as moving, bumper to bumper traffic and waiting in lines. The whole process of it just sucks. You have to primp your resume to make it appear that you are so much more qualified than you really are, applying from office to office, sucking up to your interviewer and over-exaggerating your life. From past experiences, I consider myself to be pretty decent at interviewing, but I still hate it. I know when I have to start applying for “real” jobs, it’s going to be difficult because I have no real experience. My experience consists of two internships and seven years in the hospitality industry. It’s an entry level job, yet you need all this experience to get hired? How does that make any sense? And then sometimes you have those interviewers that ask you those questions that no one knows how to answer; “Why should we hire you?” As much as you’d like to reply by saying, “umm because I’m fucking awesome!” it’s just not the answer they are looking for. Or “What would someone who dislikes you say about you?” No one can successfully answer that without making themselves look bad in one way or another, you asshole. Next question.


6. Entry-Level Jobs Don’t Pay Shit: I’m so glad I spend thousands of dollars on a college degree that will land me a job paying less than what I take home working at a bar. Unless I get really lucky, I’m probably not going to find an entry level position with a starting pay over $35K. From a positive standpoint, at least I enjoy bartending and can continue to do it while I have a day job. Although I was kind of hoping that getting a “real” job would mean I get my weekends off… I guess that’s not going to happen.