If you were a teenage girl back in the 80s and 90s, you may have noticed Hollywood’s way of getting you into the theater: cute boys. They knew that if they cast the movie with 99% boys and at least 95% of them were cute, they were guaranteed a strong teen female showing at the box office.
Either they’ve stopped making movies with all-male casts, or I’ve just gotten older and I don’t notice them anymore, because I haven’t seen one around for a long time. But back in the day, these were the best kinds of movies. They were like boy bands on the movie screen, and there was always one girl cast member that the rest of us loved to hate. Remember these gems?
Dead Poets’ Society (1989)
The main character of this movie was Robin Williams, but teenage girls barely noticed him among all those boarding school boys. The cast included Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke, slightly lesser-known Josh Charles and Gale Hanson, and a whole handfull of cute boy extras in the background. The movie itself is powerful and somewhat depressing and will definitely make you cry, but the presence of cute boys makes it a little easier to watch.
Highlight: Ethan Hawke crying so hard that snot comes out of his nose.
Obligatory Female Character: Chris, played by Alexandra Powers.
School Ties (1992)
Another great boarding school drama, though this one is even better because it’s filled to the brim with boys, football, and anti-Semitism. The movie stars Brendan Fraser as a Jewish boy recruited for football to an elite all-boys boarding school in Massachusetts and is instantly loved by Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell, Ben Affleck, and tons of other football-playing hotties who know nothing of his Jewishness. Of course once his secret gets out, well, things get really BAD. But all the boys remain cute the entire time, even Matt Damon, who’s probably the evilest of them all, and that’s all that teenage girls care about.
Highlight: Naked shower scene.
Obligatory Female Character: Sally, played by Amy Locane.
Lord of the Flies (1990)
The only thing this movie has in common with the first two is the fact that is has cute boys in it. It’s about a group of military school boys whose plane crashes onto a remote Pacific Island. They suddenly have to learn to survive, and they also learn to govern themselves. Ralph, played by Balthazar Getty, becomes the one in charge, but Jack, played by Chris Furrh, gets kind of jealous because he wants to be a leader, too (so just think of Jack and Sawyer on LOST and you get the picture). Lots of crazy things happen on the island (no polar bear, though), the boys start to go a little crazy, and Jack starts killing boys, even tries to kill Ralph (he doesn’t succeed, don’t worry). They joy of having to watch this movie in school was the fact that we were being graded on having to watch young teenage boys run around an island with their shirts off.
Highlight: Every scene containing Jack.
Obligatory Female Character: The Conch, played by The Conch.
You can’t have an all-boys ensemble cast without at least one musical. Newsies came out a week after my 13th birthday, which is about as close as you can get with the timing of cute boys in my life. But this movie was different because all the boys could sing and dance their butts off, and it was different because it introduced Christian Bale to me, and forever implanted its place into my heart. Yes, the movie is cheesy; but you know what? It’s Disney, and it’s a musical. I don’t care. It’s full of cute boys – my friend and I thought of a nickname for each and every one – it’s full of good music, and it’s full of Christian Bale. End of conversation.
Highlight: Christian Bale. Singing.
Obligatory Female Character: Sarah, played by Elle Keats.
The Outsiders (1983)
This movie goes back almost 30 years, but that doesn’t take away from the cute boy-ness of it all. First off, check out this cast: Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez. Every single one of those guys were probably on every teenage girl’s bedroom wall during the 80s, and here they all are in the same movie together. The movie takes place in the 1960s and is about two opposing gangs: The Greasers and The Socs. Our beloved cast belongs to The Greasers, but don’t let that unfortunate name fool you. These boys are hella cute. The crappy part? Cute boys die.
Highlight: Rob Lowe getting out of the shower.
Obligatory Female Character: Cherry, played by Diane Lane
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Focusing on a 1993 military mission to Somalia, this movie stars Josh Hartnett and a bunch of other guys – a lot of them British, for example, Ewan McGregor, Orlando Bloom, Ioan Gruffudd, and Hugh Dancy – who happen to look pretty hot in camouflage. The movie itself is pretty intense, as most war movies are, but you can’t deny the hotness of the cast as they fight for their lives. And yes, I know that makes me sound shallow. War is a very serious and controversial subject that should not be taken lightly. Which is why we need cute boys to make things a little easier to take.
Highlight: Josh Hartnett saying “Hoo-ah”.
Obligatory Female Character: For once, there is none!
Inception is an insanely good movie, one that you have to watch more than once…not because you can’t understand the story, but because you need to see how great men can look in suits. Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Cillian Murphy are amazing actors, but even better suit models. This may not be a movie fully cast of cute boys, but the suits are so awesome on those three men that you forget about anyone else.
Highlight: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s brown leather jacket.
Obligatory Female Character: Ariadne and Mal, played by Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard.
I’m sure I’m leaving some out, and if I am, please call me out on it. But never feel guilty about wanting to watch one of these cute boy movies, no matter what your age may be. Because they’re pure fun, pure fluff, pure nonsense. But if you’re lucky, you may just find a really good one that stands out.