Like it or not, the “young adult” genre is here to stay… at least until Hollywood discovers a new way of making tons of money with five installments of the same story. This breed of movies seems to be at its peak right now. This year alone we have six YA adaptations hitting the big screen, starting with Stephenie Meyer‘s The Host (which opens in theaters today). The sci-fi/romantic movie will probably be another goldmine, which will in turn produce a sequel and tons of screaming fans. Still, there are some YA movie adaptations that haven’t gotten their due. Here are five underdog movies from an overrated genre.
5. Youth In Revolt
Youth In Revolt is an original, wonderfully dark and underrated comedy that features Michael Cera in two very cool dual roles. They’re his finest performances to date (seriously, he’s great). This charming coming-of-age story is filled with imagination, quirk and lust. It has an indie edge, but still stays true to C.D. Payne’s young adult novel.
4. Girl, Interrupted
Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie are the leads in Girl, Interrupted, a film where 90% of its cast is female. At the time of its release, many critics panned the performances and James Mangold‘s direction. But this film digs deeper into the development of its characters than most young adult movie adaptations do today. Had this film come out this year, critics would praise Mangold for his emotionally attentive vision and called Ryder an Oscar-contender.
3. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
The Perks of Being A Wallflower was loved by critics and audiences, but it still hasn’t really received the recognition it deserves. This was one of the best films of 2012. It featured amazing performances, great music and an endless amount of of gratifying moments. Yet everyone seemed to forget it when awards season came around. People forgot about Ezra Miller and Emma Watson‘s fascinating performances. And Stephen Chbosky didn’t get nearly enough credit for properly adapting his own novel. He’s new at the directing game, and he did it like a pro.
2. It’s Kind Of A Funny Story
The under-appreciated indie film It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is adapted from Ned Vizzini‘s 2006 novel of the same name. It’s set in a psych ward and focuses on a depressed teenager named Craig (Keir Gilchrist) who voluntarily checks himself into a mental clinic. (This film has a few things in common with Girl, Interrupted… except for its sense of humor.) Funny Story is packed with great moments. It’s a coming-of-age drama that explores teen angst with a smile on its face.
1. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
There’s a certain charm and liveliness in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that’s not present in later films. That may be because this Harry Potter focuses more on flying cars, giant snakes, nasty spiders and disgusting slugs rather than on the Dark Lord. Prisoner of Azkaban is often referred to as the best film in the fantasy franchise, in part due to Alfonso Cuaron‘s unique style. But Chamber of Secrets possesses a distinct quality that’s absent in the movies that came after it – innocence. The Harry Potter franchise is among the best young adult adaptations there is. But if there’s one underrated movie in this super-successful franchise, it’s definitely Chamber of Secrets.
What’s your favorite young adult movie adaptation?