With Kick-Ass coming out this Friday, kids doing dangerous stuff is back on the screen. There was a time not too long ago when kids in films were allowed to smoke, shoot, and curse because after all that is what real raging hormonal teens do. Their stories ranged from slum dramas to precautionary tales to pure adventure stories, all of which feature some of the best performances by child actors in the history of cinema and took conservative parental guidance to the edge.
Let’s take a look at some of the most extreme bad-ass kids ever shown on the big screen.
The Monster Squad (1987) – Living on the movie monster edge
Before vampires twinkled, werewolves had CGI fur, and Frankenstein was played by Robert DeNiro, cult director Fred Dekker and Shane Black gave us the ultimate Monster mash as a group of geeky teenagers form their own monster busting squad. This film takes liberties of delivering some good scares, teen smoking, and shit talking.
Kids (1995) – Living way past the edge
A story that John Hughes would of told had he been in with the NYC skate scene and wanted to take on the AIDS epidemic, this was so controversial when first released (the first teen movie to be rated NC-17) Disney created a seperate company from Miramax, Shining Excalibur, just to release it in theaters. It contains some of the rawest teen portrayals ever captured on film from indie darlings Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson, Leo Fitzpatrick, and the late Justin Pierce.
Stand by Me (1986) – Taking it to the nostalgic edge
Director Rob Reiner made good movies at one point of his career and this was his best work. The most heart breaking of the innocence lost movies that still makes many grown men cry today, working from a story by Stephen King and a huge cast of talented young actors including a brief cameo by John Cusack and the unforgettable Feldman line “I’m gonna rip your head off and shit down your neck!”
The Goonies (1985) – Kids on the adventure of a lifetime edge
If you grew up in the 1980s this was the one movie that made you want to truffle shuffle, as a gang of pre-teens headed by Sean “Samwise” Austin, Josh “No Country” Brolin, and the always reliable Corey Feldman head to the Oregon caves in search on buried treasure, pirates and friendship. Best use of the word ‘shit’ in any movie.
The Lost Boys (1987) – Living on the bloodsucking edge
The best of the two Coreys movies on this list. It took the formula of The Goonies but kicked it up notch with blood sucking teen vampires, rock and roll music, and homoerotic over tones.
Pretty Persuasion (2005) – Living on the most un-P.C. edge
The only film in this top 10 to involve snotty little rich kids as they frame a teacher, played by Office Space’s Ron Livingston, for sexual molestation and make a young Muslim girl commit suicide. Oh, did I forget to mention this is a comedy? Well, a very dark comedy with James Woods playing quite possibly the worst parent alive.
Kidulthood (2006) – Taking Britain’s future to the edge
The future generation of Britain looks pretty f*cked once you watch this movie about Soho teens that shoot, hustle, and kill each other over text messages, rumors, and pills. Something to seek out on your Netflix queue.
River’s Edge (1984) – The title says it all
Based on true events of a California teenager that killed his girlfriend and then showed all his friends her body before turning himself into the police. The movie introduced us to a cast of then young actors played by Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover, Ioan Skye, and Daniel Roebuck. One the most bleak and disturbing movies that came to the 80s cinema screens, and is well worth searching out.
City of God (2003) – Living on the slum’s edge
Growing up seems pretty easy once you seen this movie of teen gangsters and drug addicts living on the streets of Rio de Jenero, Brazil. The movie contains a montage involving a young boy blowing people away with a 44 magnum. Wonder what the cuss is all about with Kick-Ass’s Hit Girl?
Class of 1984 (1982) – Living on a violent future’s edge
A Clockwork Orange meets Death Wish in this classic sci-fi revenge flick about a not too distant future where teen gangs took drugs and weapons to school. SHOCKING! Some nice old school slasher violence was added to the film’s finale and a hilarious pre-Back to the Future Micheal J. Fox performance to boot.