My 5 Favorite Movies as a Teenager

Watching movies as a teenager is a strange process. Not only do the teenage years cover a large swath of time where both personalities and tastes change, but they change so constantly that the idea of “taste” is almost impossible to pin down. All those hormones can result in far more destructive actions than watching stupid movies, but the films teens like are certainly indicative of larger ideas.

This means that what someone likes at age 13 may be drastically different than what he or she enjoys as a 16 year old. Then again, tastes may change so drastically that ages 13 and 19 may almost have the same movie preferences after going through a drastic cycle. Then again, those shifting changes mean that teenagers have the ability to grow their taste and understanding of arts and entertainment at a level that is not quite possible during the childhood years. However, most teens don’t fully understand why they like the things they like, as overwhelming emotions often dictate enjoyment over an understanding of art and personal preferences.

That’s why so many teenagers are drawn to really dumb horror movies and romances. It’s the cheap thrills and emotional heights that translate easily that make them so popular with the younger crowd. However, these movies will most likely not be long-lasting favorites, as their ideas and reasons for enjoyment will most likely not translate to an older audience. Additionally, the films that a person enjoys during his or her early years will most likely fall out of favor during the teens, but may return as personal favorites once this tumultuous time is over.

With all these factors in mind, choosing what were my five favorite movies as a teenager was a difficult process due to the large span of time and fluctuating tastes. But the five selected here give a snapshot of what I enjoyed at different points during the time.

Also, it reveals that I did indeed like terrible movies for a period in my life.

For a look at a happier time with better taste, read My Five Favorite Childhood Movies.
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My 5 Favorite Childhood Books

Throughout my blog, I’ve often focused on television, films, and even video games from both the past and present. But don’t let that fool you; I’ve loved books since I was a little child. Novels of all shapes and sizes have been instrumental throughout my life.

While many of the books that have been given a special place in my heart were ones that I read during my teenage years and early 20’s, the books of my young childhood instilled a love for the written word.

In this entry, I take a look at the five books or book series that I loved the most during my early years. Why did I love them? How are they today? Can childhood books hold special meaning for a reader even decades after they were the most effective? Let’s find out.

For more childhood nostalgia, visit my entries on My 5 Favorite Childhood Movies, My 5 Favorite Childhood TV Shows, My 5 Favorite Childhood Video Games, and My 5 Favorite Childhood Toys.
Continue reading “My 5 Favorite Childhood Books”

My 5 Favorite Childhood Toys

Like any kid, toys played a huge part in my early years. And like any kid who grew up in the 1990’s, I had access to some of the most awesome pieces  of plastic junk that ever graced this Earth. It was a veritable smorgasbord of games, action figures, and fake guns.

Kids just don’t know what they’re missing these days. So I took a trip down memory lane and looked at the five toys I loved the most during my childhood and considered why I loved them so much. Then I put them in the cold hard light of modern day!

For more of my nostalgic trips into the past, visit “My Five Favorite Childhood Movies,” “My Five Favorite Childhood TV Shows,” “My Five Favorite Childhood Videogames,” and “My Five Favorite Childhood Books.”

Have a personal favorite or even your own top five? Let me know in the comments section below!
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My 5 Favorite Childhood Video Games

Previously, I reexamined My 5 Favorite Childhood TV Shows and My 5 Favorite Childhood Movies. And looking at these pieces of media and their influence on my young years, I realized I was leaving out a major touchstone – video games!

My early years were filled with memories of Super Nintendo, N64, Gameboy, and countless arcade games. And from behind a D-pad, and later a joystick, I made some lasting memories. I don’t play many video games these days, but these five, and many more, played a big role in my childhood.

To varying degrees, these are some classic games. But to me, they’ll always be an irreplaceable part of my childhood, no matter how they stack up today.

5. Pokémon Red

Why Did I Like It Then? Was there ever a game more wildly popular at schools than the original Pokémon for Gameboy? This wasn’t just a game, it was a phenomenon!  Add in the cartoon show, the trading card game, and the movie, and Pokémon became all-consuming. But at the core was the Gameboy game. I had Pokémon Red. Some of my friends had Blue. Minuscule differences, but enough to spark feverish discussion and baseless theories. These games were so big, I even went to a friend’s Pokémon-themed birthday party where we battled, traded Pokémon, and got homemade badges. The hunt for all 151 creatures was an immersive experience. It even led me to do my first video game hack – The Masterball Cheat.

How Is It Now? Pokémon is a well-loved classic that still captures imaginations, if the recent Twitch Plays Pokémon craze is any indication. And its understandable. The mechanics of the original games may seem extremely simple today, it’s a more complication Rock-Paper-Scissors, but that is their appeal. The games may have moved on to countless iterations and colors with hundreds and hundreds of new creatures, but Red and Blue are still why the games became so popular. Continue reading “My 5 Favorite Childhood Video Games”

My 5 Favorite Childhood Movies

Movies played a big part in my childhood. Previously, I wrote about My 5 Favorite Childhood TV Shows and how they stack up today. But movies may have affected me even more. The movies I was exposed to by my family and friends shaped my tastes and affected my attitude. Today, these and other films transport me like few others when I watch them.

In this entry, I take a look at why I loved them and what I think of them now. This list may be proof that the things you love as a little kid never truly leave your heart.

5. Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi

Why Did I Like It Then? Even though it had been a decade since the last Star Wars film came out, it still felt like the series was alive and well in my childhood. I first watched these films on VHS, with the movies recorded off television and marked with a U.S. postage stamp that had artwork from the respective film (how much would that be worth today?).  It was my dad that introduced me to them and it was he who eventually bought the official tapes. I was hooked by the outer space adventures and the colorful characters. Return of the Jedi in particular was my favorite. Ewoks vs Storm Troopers. A humongous space fight outside the unfinished Death Star. The redemption of Darth Vader. They all appealed to me more than the simple story of A New Hope or the darkness of The Empire Strikes Back. From action figures to playtime to my viewing habits, Star Wars influenced all corners of my life as a kid.

How Is It Now? I scoff at my childhood self. Return of the Jediover The Empire Strikes Back? I was obviously blinded by the cuteness of Ewoks and the big flashy battle scene at the end. Not that Return is bad, it’s still a solid ending to the trilogy. But Empireis my favorite Star Wars film now. Plus, while Return has a lot of great moments and satisfyingly ends the trilogy, especially Darth Vader’s story, it somewhat lacks the storytelling strength of the second film. This probably ranks as my third favorite in the series now. It’s still an irreplaceable film for me, though. Continue reading “My 5 Favorite Childhood Movies”

My 5 Favorite Childhood TV Shows

This blog regularly revolves around the shows, movies, and books that tie back into my childhood. But in this post, (and future entries) I’m taking a major trip down memory lane.

Everyone has the television shows they loved as a child. They create fond memories and echo through the things we like as adults. We compare them to the shows we watch now and our feelings of nostalgia can often be far stronger than the actual quality of the shows. But are they really as good as we remember?

Today, I look at the five shows that were my favorites as a kid (mostly before age 10, sorry Seinfeld) and do a little reevaluation. Let me know your own personal favorites and whether you still love them today.

5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Why Did I Like It Then? There were so many formulaic sitcoms on television back in the early ‘90s. But there was something about The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that felt a little different. More attitude, more relatable, less lame humor, and more likeable characters. Throw in a couple “very special episodes” (Will got shot!) and this is a quintessential ‘90s show. Will Smith was everybody’s hero, Carlton was a hilarious dork (the dance will live on forever), Uncle Phil was stern but lovable, Hilary was sassy, and Geoffrey was the perfect stuffy butler. And it was always fun watching Uncle Phil throw Jazz out the front door.

How Is It Now? This thing is crazy dated. Those neon clothes, all those references to Naomi Campbell, and so many bizarre catchphrases. But it’s still fun, both as a throwback and just by itself. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but it’s still so fun watching an episode. Sometimes I wish Will Smith would just go back to being The Fresh Prince, instead of being in so-so movies.
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