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Thowback: Movies You Know You Loved As A Tween/Teen (I Know I Did!)

That Weird Girl Life
Memories of a tween/teen are so nostalgic- you know, in a painfully awkward way where you cringe at your old photos of you wearing too much shiny lip gloss (more is never enough!) and the idea that you thought you could do your hair and makeup (you couldn't, but bless you, you tried). But some memories are more sweet than bitter- like sleepovers with your friends, gossiping, trying on makeup, maybe talking about that cute guy in your class that will totally be interested in you if you spray yourself liberally enough with Victoria's Secret body splash (no, because his body spray would overpower the entire classroom. Seriously, did all guys like bathe in Axe body spray?). Even if these weren't your experiences (because they were totally mine), I know we all share at least one thing in common: we all freakin' loved these movies in the late 90's and early to mid 2000's. Deny it all you want, but as cheesy and silly (and let's face it: formulaic) as these movies were, are, and ever will be, you know they still have a special place in your heart and every once in a blue moon, you maybe throw one in your DVD/Blu-ray player, just for old time's sake. And if you haven't, you've at least thought about it. Me, I unapologetically relish in the old and awkward memories these movies bring me, to a much simpler time of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers and butterfly clips. So let's revisit these classics of our youth and remember the time when we thought that all it took was a makeover to change our lives and get that cute boy to notice us! (Being a princess would have helped though, honestly)

1. Aquamarine
Fox 2000 Pictures
A movie featuring friendship and a mermaid?? Yes, please! This movie seriously has it all: two best friends (you know you were totally picturing you and your BFF in Emma Robert's and JoJo's places), living in a beach town during the summer- seriously they lived like ON the beach!-, a super cute older (but that much older. Let's not get creepy) lifeguard, a total mean girl who's super rude to the two best friends (we all knew that one girl), and a MERMAID, who mysteriously washes into a swimming pool and then is found by said two best friends and then they become friends with a mermaid!! As silly and ridiculous as the movie is, it actually has the sweetest message about the different types of love there are, and the power of friendship. Can you say best summer ever??

2. What a Girl Wants
Warner Bros.
I miss the days when Amanda Bynes was literally the queen of tween movies. With her stick straight long hair, cool outfits (those spaghetti strap shirt and flaired jeans!), and comedic timing, Amanda Bynes was the IT girl you wanted to be. (I mean, she got to kiss some pretty cute boys in her movies! Lucky girl!) What a Girl Wants is a classic, and one of those movies that will always make me miss London whenever I watch it (the scenes of her sight-seeing and having fun in London just tug at my Anglophile heartstrings). This movie also gives me some complicated feelings about Colin Firth. I mean, he's playing her dad, but he's still really cute? It feels so wrong... but that doesn't stop me from rewatching the movie still!

3. The Princess Diaries
I think it's probably every girl's dream to be a secret royal without noticing. Even though Mia didn't want to be a princess and get a fabulous makeover (I mean, more power to her for not wanting a makeover but she didn't want people to know she was a princess because she thought it would make her more of a freak. Umm...quite the opposite, dear!), I'm sure the rest of us would have gladly accepted the honor of being a princess of the (fictional) country of Genovia. But seriously, this movie is just so good. It's funny, heartfelt, and Julie Andrews, the queen that she is, literally played a queen. If a movie could be perfection, than The Princess Diaries is pretty darn close and is a movie I'm still not tired of watching it!

4. The Prince and Me
Paramount Pictures
The 2000's obviously loved the princess trend because when The Prince and Me came out, I was so into it. I loved that Julia Stiles played Paige, a college student studying to be a doctor and despite falling in love with the foreign exchange student (aka Danish royalty) Eddie and goes back to Denmark to marry him (SPOILER ALERT), she decides to leave and pursue her dream of being a doctor and helping people in third world countries. Which infuriated me as a teen (why would you leave when you were ENGAGED to a prince! You are going to be a PRINCESS! He's cute and amazing WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???) but now as an adult, is so empowering and commendable. She wasn't going to give up her dream to be a doctor so she could help people just so she could be a princess. Obviously she and Eddie still loved each other, but I liked the fact that Eddie loved her enough to let her go and wouldn't let her give up on her dream just so she could be with him. Which made the ending even more bittersweet and I like to imagine a world where Paige comes back to become Eddie's wife and Dr. Princess Paige. (That sounds like what a little girl wants to be when she grows up, a doctor princess!)

5. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
New Line Cinema
Even if you weren't a fantasy fan (which I am not. You know Harry Potter doesn't count!), you saw all three of these movies and they were like NOTHING you had seen before. Full of action, hobbits, elves, dwarves, talking trees, and epic battles, this trilogy totally gave new life and some much needed respect to the fantasy genre and encouraged a lot of people to let their geek flag fly and be proud of their nerdom! Thanks, Peter Jackson! Also, you know you were a Lord of the Rings fan if you had all three extended edition DVD sets- which I did! And I watched aaaaaallllll the bonus features and commentaries. I was pretty hardcore, people. (Umm, also, are hobbits kind of hot? I don't even mind the big, hairy feet. Just me? C'mon! You know Martin Freeman as Bilbo is adorable!)

6. Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean seriously made all of us realize that pirates could actually be cool and attractive. Before that, when I pictured pirates, I personally just pictured all of the greasy, dirty pirate extras from Hook, but after first watching Pirates of the Caribbean, I really hoped that more pirates looked like Johnny Depp than Mr. Smee. Also, this movie is just fun (the soundtrack is epic) and pretty much the only successful movie that's been inspired by a theme park ride. (How cool would it be to have a Matterhorn or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad movie though? And an actually good Haunted Mansion movie!)

7. Moulin Rouge
20th Century Fox
Moulin Rouge brought musicals back, by way of legendary director Baz Lurhmann and the swoon-worthy Ewan McGregor (oh, and Nicole Kidman, she's pretty cool too). How romantic and heartbreaking was Christian's love for Satine? It was doomed from the start, but we still wanted them to live happily ever after, despite knowing where the story would end. But the original songs and covers of classic numbers were the best part of the entire movie, in my opinion. The soundtrack was just a work of art and Lady Marmalade is an absolute classic. (And made tween/teen us start singing some very inappropriate things in French)

8. Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde is the feminist power figure of the 2000's. You know it, I know it, so don't try to argue with me. If this movie doesn't make you want to go out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals and find yourself, then I don't know what other movie will. (Also, as cool as the bend and snap is, does it really work? I have yet to hear any success stories)

9. Miss Congeniality
Warner Bros.
This is another great girl power movie. Sandra Bullock plays a tomboy FBI agent who must go undercover as a contestant in a beauty pageant. Throw in Michael Caine in his best role ever (I know, I know, he's a very accomplished actor in some very serious roles, but comedy is much harder to do than drama, and he completely made his character the highlight of the entire movie), a makeover montage (all the best movies have makeover scenes. Everyone knows it but nobody says it) and you've got a hilarious movie with a kickass heroine who can arrest bad guys- in HEELS. (Am I the only one who still sings "she's beauty and she's grace/she's Miss United Staaates!"? I swear, it pops in my head every so often!)

10. The Harry Potter movies
Warner Bros.
It's Harry freakin' Potter. If you weren't at the midnight premiere of the movies or at least seeing it opening day, you really couldn't call yourself a fan. Bonus points if you dressed in a wizarding world inspired costume! (Not to brag or anything, but I saw the first movie eight times in theaters...)

11. Freaky Friday
How underrated is this movie? I feel like their aren't enough movies about mothers and daughters (at least no good ones anyway) and Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan (RIP her early/mid 2000's career. We miss you, Lindsay) were a dream team together. This movie (kind of) made you wish you could have this experience with your mom just so you could be closer afterwards. Actually, nevermind, that kind of experience would be horrifying! (No offense, Mom. I highly doubt she'd want to trade places with me either!)

12. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Warner Bros.
The first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie is perfection. Friendship, jeans, family, drama, cute boys... I honestly can't think of a better combination for a movie. Tibby, Bridget, Lena, Carmen were the original squad and friendships goals and were pretty much what all friends groups back in the 2005 aspired to be. And I know we all love our friends, but didn't we (and still do) all secretly wish after reading the books and watching the movies that there was a magical pair of jeans that fit ALL of us perfectly and kept us connected as we spent the summer apart on our own separate journeys and adventures? Sigh. If only! (Also, why can't I have relatives in a cool and beautiful country like Greece??)

13. Holes
Your favorite kids book turned into your favorite kids movie (thanks to the awesome screenplay written by the author, Louis Sachar, himself!) Who would have thought that a group of delinquent boys sentenced to digging holes all day in the desert would actually turn out to be such a riveting, emotional, and clever story? (Well, stories, plural!) Not me, but I'm so glad this movie (and book) exist! Such an underrated Disney classic! (Also, RIP normal Shia LaBeouf. We miss you as Stanley Yelnats!)


This was such a nostalgic post to write! I had so much fun putting it together and I hope you had a fun time walking down memory lane reading it! 💖 Were (or are you still) a fan of some of the movies on my list? Did I miss any good ones? What was your favorite movie from when you were a tween/teen? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,

Need to read some more throwback posts for old time's sake? Then check out my page of even more throwback posts about kids and teen books and movies I loved as a kid!

12 comments on "Thowback: Movies You Know You Loved As A Tween/Teen (I Know I Did!)"
  1. YES TO ALL OF THESE! Oh man. Now I feel old. Thanks a lot. It's like a crazy throwback. Especially to see the actors so young because now they are older. I think the Princess Diaries was everyone's goal because let's all become a princess randomly without knowing we were royalty! (:

    Single Vegas Girl

    1. Hahaha, if these movies make you feel old, than that makes me old too! Isn't it weird to think that someday people our age will be watching Amanda Bynes in nursing homes and reliving the good old days? ;) I'm glad I wasn't the only one who wanted to be a princess! But only if Julie Andrews could be my grandma!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! <3

  2. Oh my god it was like you jumped into my head with this post, I used to love all of these films! I've actually gone back and re-watched a lot of these films and it's such a nice throwback. Also I miss those Amanda Bynes days too! I swear she used to be in everything.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    1. I'm so glad you liked my list!! It's such a throwback to even think about some of these movies, let alone discuss them with people my age! And totally I miss Amanda Bynes! I hope she makes a really good comeback. :) For all of our tween sake's!

      Thank you for reading, m'dear! It means a lot! <3

  3. Aw, you've brought back some memories here! Freaky Friday and The Princess Diaries were two of my favourites and I'm pretty sure I still own both of them on DVD somewhere. I love LOTR and HP! Great list.

    1. Thanks, Kim! Freaky Friday and the Princess Diaries are classics, I swear! Same with LOTR and Harry Potter! (Only more on the fantasy sides, haha). Thank you so much for your comment! (Sorry it only took me over a year to get back to you, haha)

  4. There are actually quite a few movies on this list I haven't seen, but you can't go wrong with Harry Potter!!!

    1. Hi Britt! Oh really? Well, if you're interested in any of the ones you haven't seen, I recommend all of them! Haha. So true! Watching any Harry Potter movie is a total win! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! <3

  5. Great list! I love any movie by Anne Hathaway and Reese Witherspoon. I am actually in the middle of a throwback of my own— "The devil wears Prada"

    1. Thank you so much! OMG, I love all movies with Anne Hathaway and Reese Witherspoon too! I loved Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama- so good! Ugh, The Devil Wears Prada is SUCH an excellent movie! Good choice!!

      Thank you for reading and the great comment! <3


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