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Films for early teenage girl
May 1, 2005 9:07 PM   Subscribe

What films available on DVD would you recommend for a suburban American 13-year old girl with mainstream tastes? My niece acquired a portable DVD-player last winter. Her birthday is coming up and I'd like to get her some great movies that she might not discover by herself and that'd hold up to repeated viewing.
posted by tinfixture to Media & Arts (49 answers total)
Shrek, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo.
posted by odinsdream at 9:10 PM on May 1, 2005

Bend it like Beckham and the Whale Rider.
posted by jodic at 9:13 PM on May 1, 2005

13 Going on 30

Actually, any of the PG or PG13 movies on this guy's list would be perfect, especially the Lindsay Lohan ones, and I say that as a camp counselor for teen girls.
posted by Ugh at 9:17 PM on May 1, 2005

I won't have a 13 year old girl around the house for another ten years, so I'm on shaky gender ground...

If I had to choose three right now:
Searching for Bobby Fischer, Field of Dreams, The Cutting Edge. TCE is definitely a chick favorite around these parts. FoD much less so.

Isn't 13 a little young to own a portable DVD player? Just saying...
posted by unixrat at 9:19 PM on May 1, 2005

I am happily surprised how many 13 year olds (and younger kids) appreciate Napoleon Dynamite!
posted by kimota at 9:24 PM on May 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

I second The Incredibles, though that of course she'd discover on her own. I might even stay away from things more like Shrek and Finding Nemo though, because, you know, she's at that age.

Jodic's suggestions are awesome and likely are indeed things she probably wouldn't see on her own, , Beckham in particular.

On preview, Napoleon Dynamite, too. Good clean fun.
posted by rafter at 9:30 PM on May 1, 2005

Don't overlook tv shows on DVD either. You can get Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and others like that for the cost of 2-3 dvds now. They usually have about 20-25 episodes.
posted by Arch Stanton at 9:32 PM on May 1, 2005

Kuch Naa Kaho. Good, clean Bollywood fun.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:34 PM on May 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

Mean Girls, Freaky Friday (2003 remake), Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Princess Diaries 1 & 2, not sure if it's a little "young" for a 13-yr-old but perhaps the Lizzie McGuire movie/series, 50 First Dates (PG-13), Ever After, Never Been Kissed, Clueless (PG-13), Just Married (PG-13), Now And Then, Golddiggers: Secret of Bear Mountain, Casper, My Girl 1 & 2, The Neverending Story (don't bother with the sequels), 13 Going On 30 (PG-13)...
posted by IndigoRain at 9:35 PM on May 1, 2005

Course it all depends what she's thirteen, I would've quietly thanked you for all these suggestions, then I would've gone out and traded 'em in for a season of the X-files.
posted by stray at 9:43 PM on May 1, 2005

The Man in the Moon--Reese Witherspoon's first movie.
posted by brujita at 9:45 PM on May 1, 2005

*Whoops, my bad. You say she's got mainstream tastes, and that's fine. In that case, I suggest Legally Blonde.
posted by stray at 9:46 PM on May 1, 2005

Big Fish, its visually stunning and has the emotional elements that a 13 yr old girl would eat up.
posted by Kifer85 at 9:59 PM on May 1, 2005

Strictly Ballroom. I *still* love that one.
posted by sugarfish at 10:16 PM on May 1, 2005

Yet another vote for '13 Going on 30' and 'Bend it like Beckham.'

If she likes older movies, '16 Candles' is rated PG.
posted by Amanda B at 10:22 PM on May 1, 2005

I liked The Secret Garden and so did my 13 year-old cousin (my gf just confirmed the recommendation.)

Another recommendation for Napolean Dynamite, as long as you won't mind her walking around quoting things like this.
posted by schyler523 at 10:32 PM on May 1, 2005

I'll second Strictly Ballroom.

I'd also list Labyrinth, and Princess Bride as films that have been around for a while but really appeal to a lot of people, particularly girls, at that age.

If she watches a lot of TV, she's probably seen these older movies at some point, but if not, or if she likes them, all three have high replayability, which is what you want if you're going to own it on DVD.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:35 PM on May 1, 2005

How about some old school? Sabrina? Breakfast at Tiffany's?
posted by arse_hat at 10:48 PM on May 1, 2005

At that age, I liked the 80s teen movies a lot - Breakfast Club, Heathers, Pump up the volume, Welcome home Roxy Carmichael (is that last title right? I remember liking it a lot - young awkward Winona Ryder). I especially liked movies about awkward, tomboy girls who become cool without changing who they were (yes, the end of Breakfast Club was disappointing).

I was too old to be a teen to see Bend it like Beckham, but that's just a brilliant movie for anyone.

Does she have specific interests? I know even then I especially liked historical (Victorian, etc) movies, and when I was a bit older liked period miniseries a lot. She might have some specific stuff that grabs her, like intricate dramas miniseries or movies set in rural areas, or exotic places - perhaps she really enjoys sports films? Weirdly enough, though I loved book sci-fi, I never did like sci-fi movies very much, though I did like series. But I would watch anything about women crossdressing as men (ultimate tomboy moment), especially historical.
posted by jb at 11:00 PM on May 1, 2005

Oh - on the awkward tomboy side, having a cute boy to fall in love with was also good.
posted by jb at 11:04 PM on May 1, 2005

"Roman Holiday" is a great one. She'll love it. "Amelie" is also a great one, although there was some nudity and sexual content...nothing really awful though.

And as a girl who was 13 years old only 5 years ago, "Clueless" has to be one of my all time favorites. Definitely a classic, and like me, she'll probably watch it once in a while as she gets older and start actually getting the jokes.
posted by apple scruff at 11:05 PM on May 1, 2005

Edward Scissorhands? It might be a little weird for a 13 year old girl who has mainstream tastes, but she might take a shine too it.
posted by deafmute at 11:41 PM on May 1, 2005

I just watched Breaking Away the other night for the first time in years (it was one of my favorites in my 'tweens/early teens), and it's just as wonderful as I remembered -- warm and funny and authentic, and the race at the end really is pretty exciting! Great performances all around, too. I enthusiastically recommend it.
posted by scody at 11:58 PM on May 1, 2005

Oh, and I wanted to second the recommendations above for Whale Rider, Searching for Bobby Fischer, and Bend it Like Beckham. I personally love Napoleon Dynamite (and would have loved it at 13 as well), but I also know that it's the kind of film that people either really adore, really hate, or just find baffling... so her mileage may vary on that one.
posted by scody at 12:03 AM on May 2, 2005

My 13 year old sister cannot watch Elf enough. Likewise Honey. Others (some mentioned before): Finding Nemo, Freaky Friday (2003), Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, a Cinderella Story, Raise Your Voice, the third Harry Potter (not so much the first two), and Mean Girls.

She's also addicted to CSI, especially Miami. Seriously. Way addicted.
posted by samh23 at 1:23 AM on May 2, 2005

Fly Away Home. It's the greatest
posted by Navek Rednam at 3:21 AM on May 2, 2005

if she likes dancing, Powell and Pressbuger's The Red Shoes

if she likes anime, Grave of the Fireflies

if black and white isn't a turnoff (hopefully it isn't) one of the greatest comedies evar, Preston Sturges' The Palm Beach Story -- witty and fast-paced, lots of snappy dialogue

another Powell/Pressbuger gem: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is, even more than a war movie, a love story. and a movie about friendship (the Criterion dvd colors are to die for)

Truffaut's Small Change is one of the best movies about childhood. I'd say The 400 Blows, too, but she may find it a bit too depressing
posted by matteo at 5:01 AM on May 2, 2005

Pressburger, of course. damn
posted by matteo at 5:02 AM on May 2, 2005

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice.
posted by Otis at 5:03 AM on May 2, 2005

I forgot: Small Change will of course have subtitles, maybe she hates them. keep in mind that all the other movies I mentioned have very strong female leads, so I hope that's a big plus.
posted by matteo at 5:07 AM on May 2, 2005

The first thing you need to do is cure her of these "mainstream" tastes and turn her on to genre fiction, toot sweet. Both movies and TV series ought to do the trick. There have been some great suggestions in this thread so far, and I'll add some:

The Princess Bride
Kindred: The Embraced
The Twilight Zone
Edward Scissorhands
Big Fish
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Truman Show

Oh, and if she needs a romantic comedy, get "Shall We Dance." The Japanese original, not the remake.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:27 AM on May 2, 2005

I second The Princess Bride. The word "classic" is bandied around waaay too much, but it fits with this movie.
posted by zardoz at 5:56 AM on May 2, 2005

secondhand lions
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:01 AM on May 2, 2005

Edward Scissorhands? It might be a little weird for a 13 year old girl who has mainstream tastes, but she might take a shine too it.

That was my favorite movie when I was thirteen.

The Princess Bride and Labyrinth are also great. Those are my default "need a movie for mixed age company who doesn't want to watch zombies eating brains" collection. I have never, never met a person who didn't love both of them. Everyone from hardened punk rockers to my mom thinks both are just great.
posted by Kellydamnit at 6:01 AM on May 2, 2005

Princess bride

posted by slapshot57 at 6:11 AM on May 2, 2005

16 Candles

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Breakfast Club
posted by stevejensen at 6:18 AM on May 2, 2005

The Princess Diaries movies fly off the shelves of my library; I think they circulate more than anything else.
In general, kids/YAs like to read/watch movies about people who are a year or two older than they are, so anything that takes place in early high school should do fine.
posted by willpie at 6:23 AM on May 2, 2005

I second Bend it Like Beckham, Whale Rider, Buffy TV series, Ever After, Big Fish, Breakfast Club, Heathers, Ferris Bueller, Edward Scissorhands.

Some others: Chocolat (more Depp!); Alfonso CuarĂ³n's superb A Little Princess; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Toy Story and Toy Story II; Spirited Away; A Hard Day's Night; Sense and Sensibility and/or (Emma Thompson version); Tuck Everlasting; Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; Risky Business (?); Four Weddings and a Funeral; The Blues Brothers; A League of Their Own; Freaky Friday (the new version); The Lost Boys; Pretty in Pink; Dirty Dancing (the 80's version)
posted by anastasiav at 7:21 AM on May 2, 2005

Some great old classics that were recently voted "tops" by 14 year olds...

National Velvet
West Side Story
Some Like It Hot
Breakfast At Tiffany's
Rebel Without A Cause
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Meet Me In St. Louis
Singin In the Rain
Roman Holiday
posted by jeanmari at 8:39 AM on May 2, 2005

My Neighbor Totoro!

Say Anything... was one of my favorites at that age, but it does have some implied sex.
posted by chickenmagazine at 9:00 AM on May 2, 2005

I probably would get a kick out of Donnie Darko if I were a 13 year old girl.
posted by hototogisu at 9:43 AM on May 2, 2005

Goonies. When I taught eighth grade a couple years ago, Goonies was the unexpected favorite of a surprising number of kids. The ones who had seen it totally remembered every single scene and the ones who hadn't seen it yet totally got into it when I brought it in.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:45 AM on May 2, 2005

my teen kids love the Baghdad Cafe (it's got absolutely nothing to do with Iraq.) It's offbeat, transformative, joyful and just plain funny too. (Not only for teens -- highly recommended for all :-)
posted by anadem at 11:09 AM on May 2, 2005

I second Baghdad Cafe and would add The Milagro Beanfield War.

Also, The Last Starfighter is one of my all-time favorites.

Sadly, Night of the Comet is not available anymore.
posted by rw at 11:35 AM on May 2, 2005

Adventures in Babysitting is a hoot.

And Valley Girl is a quirky retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a young Nicholas Cage as Romeo. (It works. Really.)
posted by rw at 11:46 AM on May 2, 2005

What I think a 13 year old girl would like:
The Secret of Nimh
Little Women
Allegro Non Troppo

What Mrs. Plinth suggests (from her own experience):
Body Double
North and South
Conan the Barbarian
Abbot and Costello movies

What I liked as a 13 year old boy:
Monster Movies - the worse the better
Pink Panther Movies
High Anxiety

posted by plinth at 5:06 PM on May 2, 2005

I'm not a 13 yo girl, but I like a lot of what's been suggested so far. I'm only chiming in 'cause I'm watching Moulin Rouge right now and... wow... if you don't think the subject matter is inappropriate for your neice, it's fantastic on a lot of levels.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 6:13 PM on May 2, 2005

Ahh, I'm glad that The Princess Bride and Ferris Bueller's Day Off have already been mentioned, they're fairly timeless.

I'd suggest that The Secret of NIMH is aimed too young for 13. The book (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH) is better anyway. (Plus, it has a totally different message: Where the movie gets mystical and supernatural with a red glowy thing, the book relies on a mother's love for her child as the single driving force, overcoming fear, strange situations, and even humans.)

Goonies is great but might be too male-centric? Ditto with Flight of the Navigator and Explorers.

Dr. Strangelove might not score high on rewatchability, but it's always fun to stuff these things into a youngster's consciousness.

One of my all-time favorite movies is Sneakers and I can't think of why it wouldn't make a great choice. Rewatchability is high, it has some great lines, and it's a good introduction to the hacker mindset, better balanced than most. Plus, it has Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier. How can you go wrong with that?

Why limit your Tim Burton to Edward Scissorhands? The Nightmare before Christmas makes for a fun watch too, and I think it's the better of the two to own.. more fun to bring out when friends are over.
posted by Myself at 1:18 PM on May 7, 2005

Goonies is definitely not too male (I worshipped the movie as an 8 year old girl) - but do non-geeky kids like it too? But maybe secretly all kids believe they are goonies.
posted by jb at 8:20 PM on May 7, 2005

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