FIRST FOLIO! Cheesy Teen Films – Shakespeare Style!

~posted by Danielle

As a teenager in the early 2000s, there seemed to be endless teen romantic comedies based on Shakespeare plays. In celebration of the library hosting Shakespeare’s First Folio, here are the top 3 teen films that stuck with me.

She’s the ManAfter her very public meltdown, it’s hard to remember that Amanda Bynes was once a hilarious physical comedian. In this adaptation of Twelfth Night, Bynes impersonates her brother at his boarding school (while he is on tour with his band) in order to play on their soccer team after her team is cut. She arrives at school only to find that her brother’s roommate is none other than Channing Tatum. Hijinks ensue! It’s as campy as they come, but has some genuinely funny moments. Like many teen movies, the plot is often illogical, but it’s also part of what makes it lovable. No one bothered to change the names from the original Shakespeare play, so the boarding school is Illyria and Tatum is a star soccer player named Duke Orsino (yes, really).

The good: David Cross makes a very funny school principal and Tatum is shirtless almost as often as he is in Magic Mike.
The bad: The film plays up Bynes flirting with Tatum while in disguise to make a homophobic joke or two. Not cool!

10 Things I Hate About YouA young charming Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt with a goofy haircut and Julia Stiles ugly-crying while reading a sonnet to her English class make this adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew a classic teen movie. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) wants to go the prom, but her overprotective father won’t let her. As a compromise, he agrees that she can attend the dance if older sister Kat (Stiles) agrees to as well. As Kat is a riot grrrl with a too-cool-for-school attitude, the likelihood of this working in Bianca’s favor is minimal. Enter Heath Ledger. In the classic “I got paid to woo this girl but fell for her” move, conflict is born.

The good: Heath Ledger singing and dancing on the school bleachers, a strong female lead, and the adorableness of 18 year old Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The bad: The end still involves a woman finding happiness due to romantic love, but hey, it does better than most movies, teen or otherwise.

Get Over ItRemember Sisqo? Well, he’s here in case you missed him. In a low-budget adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s DreamKirsten Dunst and cast play high school students putting on their own adaptation of the play called “A Midsummer Night’s Rockin’ Dream.” With an extremely convoluted plot, song and dance numbers, and Martin Short with a goatee, this movie is very much of its time (2001). The love triangles make no sense, the music is awful, and yet everyone seems to be having fun. Full disclosure: I last watched it a year ago while recovering from a tonsillectomy. At the time, it seemed like the most hilarious movie I’d ever seen.

The good: Short plays the drama teacher, who has a huge ego and snappy comebacks for his students. “Miss Sassy Pants” is a phrase that will stay with you.
The bad: See most of above. Also, Shane West (who was the absolute hotness of his time) has the most laughably bad accent ever. I read a review that referred to it as more “burnt tongue” than “British.”

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