Top 5 Tuesday: Teen Comedies Based on Classic Literature

Happy Top 5 Tuesday, everyone! Here’s a little something to help you celebrate being one day away from halfway through the workweek. This Tuesday we’re taking a look at the top 5 teen comedies based on classic literature. Nothing makes Shakespeare more easily digestible like adapting it into a teen rom-com, and two of the movies in our Top 5 are just that.

1.) 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) – I don’t think I’d be far off in saying that 10 Things is one the defining films of its genre, and it’s certainly the quintessential teen comedy with roots in classic literature. Gil Junger’s modern take on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” proved that putting a high school spin on an old story could have mass appeal. 10 Things also included a number of future stars like Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who recently starred in Inception), Julia Stiles (Dexter), and David Krumholtz (Serenity, Numb3rs).

2.) Easy A (2010) – The premise of this movie is loosely based on The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but in a more modern setting, with rumor-mongering high schoolers instead of 17th-century Puritans as the ostracizing group. Emma Stone’s shining wit helps Easy A rise far above expectations (with the help of director Will Gluck), making it one of the smartest teen comedies in recent history.

3.) She’s The Man (2006) – This is one of those movies that I could watch thousands of times and never get tired of it. Sure, the premise is ludicrous (Amanda Bynes pretends to be her twin brother for a few weeks and falls for her hot roommate/teammate played by Channing Tatum), but it’s so funny that you just appreciate the ridiculousness of it all (not to mention Channing Tatum’s beautiful abs). The comedy is based on the Shakespeare play “Twelfth Night,” and it features a wonderful supporting cast, including Arrested Development‘s David Cross as the oddball principal. Did I mention Channing Tatum takes his shirt off?

4.) Clueless (1995) – Based on Jane Austen’s famous novel Emma, Clueless had some challenges in updating Austen’s love story to modern times, including the difficult task of pulling off a romance between a teenage girl and her ex-stepbrother. Luckily, Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd are so adorable together that it’s easy to overlook the ick factor. Other than that, it’s surprising how easily the romantic entanglements of Regency-era England fit into the social constructions of a California high school in the 1990s.

5.) Whatever It Takes (2000) – This teen comedy put a modern spin on the classic story of Cyrano de Bergerac. Shane West (pictured above with his electronic accordion and no pants) plays Ryan, a social outcast pining for the most popular girl in school. James Franco is hilarious as the self-obsessed jock who wants to get with Ryan’s down-to-earth best friend Maggie. The two boys agree to help each other with their respective romantic pursuits, but things don’t exactly go smoothly. (Shocker.) At the end of the day, Whatever It Takes is really just the movie version of Taylor Swift’s hit song “You Belong With Me.” And I highly recommend it.

What are your favorite teen comedies inspired by classic literature? Leave a comment or tweet us @PopCultureNexus!


Posted on October 11, 2011, in Film, Top 5 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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