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February 20, 2009 | Comments ()


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The 10 Best Coming-of-Age Movies

A Seriously Random List LVIII / Dustin Rowles

Seriously Random Lists | February 20, 2009 | Comments ()


For much of the last week, I have been huddled in a tiny motel room in what I think must be the worst town in all of America, save for Detroit: White River Junction, Vermont. I randomly chose a city in New England to, essentially, hide out for a few days and finish a coming-of-age memoir I’ve been working on for years (I know: How much more cliché can you get? Go fuck yourself). Coming-of-age novels has always been my favorite literary genre, from This Boy’s Life to Catcher in a Rye to King Dork and even the recent, I Love You, Beth Cooper, the trailer of which Dan featured in Monday’s trade news (and gah! Christopher Columbus, what have you done to Larry Doyle’s book? You fucking hack). It wasn’t a huge surprise to see, after having completed the list below, that half of the best coming-of-age movies would also make my all-time top ten.

It is a lot more difficult, cinematically, to produce a truly great coming-of-age movie. In putting together a proper top ten, I realized that there may be only ten good ones out there, if you limit the definition — as I would — to movies that track more than one event, night, or weekend in the main character’s life. I’m of the belief that you can’t really come of age overnight, no matter how mind shattering that blow job is. It happens over the course of months, or years. Thus, all of John Hughes’ films were excluded, as were films like Superbad, although my narrowed definition did, unfortunately, weed out the very deserving Stand By Me.

Indeed, the best coming-of-age movies are almost always fish-out-of-water films; the water is our youth, and coming of age is how we acclimate ourselves to it. The better of these reminded us of what it was like to flop around trying to catch our breath.

10. Basketball Diaries

9. Angus

8. About a Boy

7. The Wackness

6. Dead Poets Society

5. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

4. Rushmore

3. Rocket Science

2. Billy Elliot

1. Almost Famous


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