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Finally Legal: The 18 Most Memorable Movies Turning 18 This Year

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

We all remember that wonderful feeling of finally turning 18 — having the ability to drive without a guardian in the car, going out to vote in our first political election and buying that pack of smokes you used to have to sneak from an older friend. While movies might not be able to enjoy some of these perks, turning 18 is a big milestone anyways, especially ones that have remained in the spotlight since their original debuts. Let’s take a look at the funniest, most action-packed (and a few of the worst) films turning 18 this year.

18 Memorable Movies Turning 18 In 2017

Varsity Blues

Before falling in love with him as Special Agent Brian O’Connor and newly discovering a love for him as Dawson Leery, audiences watched Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek struggle with football, growing up and love in their fictional town of West Canaan, Texas. The film captured the attention of audiences thanks to its relatable characters, thrilling football sequences and dialogue filled with guffaw-inducing one-liners. Not to mention the infamously talked-about and parodied scene involving Ali Larter, whipped cream and a lack of clothes.

Office Space

Photo: 20th Century Fox (Getty).

If you’ve ever worked in an office or at a menial job, then this was the movie that struck a bigger chord with you than Waiting… did for anyone who worked in the restaurant industry. Following a programmer bored with his life and job who decides to make a change after seeing a hypnotherapist, the film wonderfully captured the droll lives and tasks of any white collar or IT workforce and blended it with intelligent satire and hilarious one-liners, creating one of the biggest cult films of all time that is the epitome of the ’90s workforce.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Photo: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

He’s brought modern audiences the classic British private detective Sherlock Holmes and is set to bring the childhood favorite Aladdin into the live-action genre. But before tackling the big-budget action flicks he’s come to be known for, English writer/director Guy Ritchie earned his praise and fame for being the king of British gangster movies, beginning with the hilarious Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Set up as a heist film, the plot follows a card shark and his friends as they try to rob the small-time gang living next door after he falls into a large debt with a notorious gangster. Packed with intense action, dark humor and the international introductions of stars Vinnie Jones (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Jason Statham (The Transporter), this was a great dive into the British gangster mind of Ritchie that would be revisited in the stellar 2000 Snatch and 2008 RocknRolla.

The Matrix

Photo: Warner Brothers (Getty).

“In my hand, I hold a red pill and a blue pill. The red pill will grant you access to the horrible truth behind the ‘real world,’ while the blue pill will return you to your former life. Which will you choose?” This was the prelude to the mind-bending revelation that the world we live in is a computer simulation and the real world is a dystopia in which machines have retaliated against humans and a war is waging between the groups in the simulation. Starring Keanu Reeves — who had already made a household name for himself with the hit Bill & Ted comedies as well as the classic action flicks Point Break and Speed The Matrix received widespread praise for its combination of sci-fi storytelling and groundbreaking visual effects, especially its use of the bullet time effect, repopularizing it for future films.

The Mummy

Photo: Universal Pictures (Getty).

Before Tom Cruise reportedly ran his own remake into the ground, Brendan Fraser and company were — for the most part — having fun on the set of the first remake of Universal’s classic monster movie The Mummy. Following an American adventurer and a group of archaeologists who accidentally awaken a 600-year-old mummy with a deadly curse behind him, the loose adaptation of the 1932 Boris Karloff original swapped an atmospheric horror for a fun and fast-paced adventure that featured some stellar visual effects and another thoroughly entertaining performance from ’90s-era Fraser. The film was a minor critical hit, but a major box office hit, spawning two sequels and the spin-off franchise The Scorpion King.

Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Though the current youth demographic has The Force Awakens and the upcoming Last Jedi as their revivals for the Star Wars franchise, those who grew up in the ’90s (such as myself) had The Phantom Menace — the start of a prequel trilogy offering the backstory of how the beloved sci-fi series got its start and how alliances were gained and tested. In the film, Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) must protect Naboo Queen Amidala (Portman) alongside a young slave with intense strength in the Force, Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) from the growing forces of the Sith. Widely debated by fans as either the worst Star Wars prequel or a solid start to the trilogy due to some of its poor writing and characters — especially the introduction of universally-despised Jar Jar Binks — the film was nonetheless a major hit at the time of its release and did have some positive things going for it, including thrilling visual effects, a wonderful early performance from McGregor as Kenobi and a stellar musical score — especially the final battle track “Duel of the Fates.”

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Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

We all remember that wonderful feeling of finally turning 18 — having the ability to drive without a guardian in the car, going out to vote in our first political election and buying that pack of smokes you used to have to sneak from an older friend. While movies might not be able to enjoy some of these perks, turning 18 is a big milestone anyways, especially ones that have remained in the spotlight since their original debuts. Let’s take a look at the funniest, most action-packed (and a few of the worst) films turning 18 this year.

18 Memorable Movies Turning 18 In 2017

Tarzan

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

If a sense of warmth doesn’t creep in to your heart any time “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins plays, then you haven’t seen the epic Disney adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel Tarzan of the Apes. Following a man raised by gorillas after his parents are killed, audiences witness as Tarzan discovers other humans on his island and watch as he struggles to learn where his place is in the world and whether he should stay with his gorilla family or return to the mainland with the explorers that discover him. Featuring stellar animation that broke new ground in computer visual effects for the time, a moving take on the story and a beautiful soundtrack combining the adventure and emotion, this was easily a classic of both the ’90s and Disney.

Wild Wild West

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Need I describe how bad this motion picture adaptation of the classic ’60s TV series is? I do? Then off to the waste dump I go. The film follows a US Army Captain (Smith) and a US Marshall (Kline) as they are recruited by US President Ulysses S. Grant (Kline again) to hunt down a Confederate General in post-Civil War America after he’s kidnapped the country’s key scientists. In trying to update the film to then-modern audiences’ tastes with bigger set pieces, outrageous special effects and a partnership that based itself on rivalry, it lost all of the charm of the original series and resulted in a thoroughly unfunny and lackluster adaptation that remains one of the worst reviewed movies of the year.

Big Daddy

Photo: Columbia Pictures (Getty).

He’s made some of the most critically reviled movies over the past decade, but before he got in to the business of schlock, comedian Adam Sandler had a streak of hits on his resumé in the ’90s including Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy. But the one that made us all laugh and simultaneously cry was the ’99 hit Big Daddy. The film followed immature slacker Sonny Koufax (Sandler) as he is forced to reexamine his life when a five-year-old boy (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) claiming to be his roommate’s (Jon Stewart) son shows up on their doorstep. He must then take care of the boy until his roommate returns from his business trip in China. Though it featured many of Sandler’s typically crude jokes, they blended nicely with a story that offered some good introspection from Sandler and some truly heartwarming moments that certainly made this the epitome of my Sandler childhood films.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Dead Baldwin brothers, Satan and Saddam Hussein as a couple and the blaming of Canada for every American problem — it must be the South Park movie. Still early into its long-stay on Comedy Central — only having finished its second season — the creators of South Park worked to deliver a feature-length experience of the series that touched on the theme the show itself has fought hard against since the start: censorship. When the boys sneak into an R-rated adaptation of their favorite Canadian comedy “Terrance and Phillip,” they emerge with a whole new vocabulary featuring endless swearing and rude humor — more so than their parents are used to and comfortable with — which sparks a protest over censorship of the Canadian series and an all-out war between the neighboring countries. In blending clever satire and outright crude humor with a hilarious and fast-paced musical setting, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were able to deliver a solo feature-length outing filled with heart and intelligence that delivered some very poignant messages.

American Pie

Photo: Universal Pictures (Getty).

Have you ever heard the expression, “No more apple pie for the boy?” No? Well after the events of American Pie, it certainly opened up parents’ eyes to the horrible things a teenage boy could do to the pastry. Following a group of high school friends who make a pact to lose their virginity by graduation, this coming-of-age teen comedy has connected with audiences over the years and become something of a cult classic for its super-relatable characters and its earnest humor. Also for that unforgettable story about…that one time at band camp.

The Blair Witch Project

Photo: Artisan Entertainment (Getty).

Though it’s been constantly mocked and parodied in various films over the years, there was no denying that the original Blair Witch Project was thoroughly successful in popularizing the found footage genre for horror movies and attained its goal in gaining public attention over its story and the debate over whether it was real or fake. The film followed three student filmmakers who enter the Black Hills in Maryland to make a documentary about a local urban legend known as the Blair Witch, and though the three go missing, the video and audio equipment are found and pieced together for what the audience is watching. Rather than focus on extensive jump scares that modern audiences love, Blair Witch returned to the moody atmosphere of older horror flicks and created a terrifying sense of dread as more questions are created than answered and the mystery around the titular villain still remains to this day.

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Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

We all remember that wonderful feeling of finally turning 18 — having the ability to drive without a guardian in the car, going out to vote in our first political election and buying that pack of smokes you used to have to sneak from an older friend. While movies might not be able to enjoy some of these perks, turning 18 is a big milestone anyways, especially ones that have remained in the spotlight since their original debuts. Let’s take a look at the funniest, most action-packed (and a few of the worst) films turning 18 this year.

18 Memorable Movies Turning 18 In 2017

The Iron Giant

Photo: Warner Bros. Family Entertainment

He’s been known as one of the kings of the Pixar library, delivering the widely-acclaimed family films The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but Brad Bird made his debut long before these with the sci-fi comedy The Iron Giant at Warner Brothers’ still blossoming animation branch. Though significantly falling short of its budget at the time, the film telling the story of a boy protecting a giant metal robot from space from the paranoid US government received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences, who praised it for its intelligent and complex storytelling and its beautiful animation. Featuring a stellar sense of warmth, emotion and adventure — as well as wonderful performances from its voice cast, especially Vin Diesel as the titular hero — the film’s ending brings a tear or twelve to every audience member’s eye.

The Sixth Sense

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution (Getty).

While he’s finally making his comeback in the industry after making some of the biggest stinkers of the mid-2000s, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan quickly became a household name in 1999 with his mainstay genre debut The Sixth Sense. Following a young boy who can see and speak to the dead and the troubled child psychologist who tries to help him, the film drew in audiences thanks to its moody atmosphere, engaging performances and — most of all — its twist ending that is still shocking people to this day. While Shyamalan would begin to drag viewers’ hopes down in the following years due to his affinity for twist endings, The Sixth Sense will always hold a special place in people’s hearts for his first and best twist, and still holds the record for the highest-grossing horror movie of all-time with $672 million made worldwide.

Fight Club

Photo: 20th Century Fox

As much as it pains me, I need to break the first and second rules of this club, because we need to talk about the masterpiece that was Fight Club. Adapted from the 1996 Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name, the film follows an unnamed protagonist/narrator who is fed up with his white-collar life and forms the titular club with soap salesman/anarchist as more and more members feeling disillusioned with their lives. Combining satire of the Generation X angst, consumer greed and distaste for the characters’ white-collar lives with intelligent storytelling, hilarious dialogue and stellar performances from its two leads, the film established itself as one of the smartest and most thrilling films of the decade. Plus, it delivers another twist ending that is still a topic of intense debate 18 years later.

Pokemon: The First Movie

Photo: Toho (Getty).

While those who are not fans of the video game franchise might not closely connect to it like hardcore fans of the series, the nostalgia factor on this first film adaptation of the classic Nintendo property still resonates with viewers nearly 20 years after its release. Following the ever-popular protagonist Ash Ketchum, his friends Brock and Misty and primary Pokemon companion, Pikachu, the film tells the story of the creation of super-powered Mewtwo through biological engineering and his journey to make other super-powered Pokemon like him. While the story offered some intriguing messages about biological engineering and cloning, it truly hit deep with audiences during the climactic battle as Ash is nearly killed by another Pokemon’s attack and is revived at the last minute by a tear from his yellow and black companion in what is still regarded as one of the best tearjerker moments in the Pokemon franchise.

Galaxy Quest

Photo: Murray Close (Getty).

Long before Seth MacFarlane delivered his love letter to the classic sci-fi franchise with his comedy TV series The Orville, DreamWorks delivered their own parody/take on Star Trek with the comedy Galaxy Quest — which was so well-loved by fans of the original series. In fact, it has landed on lists of the best Star Trek films in the years since its release. In the film, 20 years after their cult classic series was cancelled, the cast of the titular series-within-a-movie Galaxy Quest are still making appearances at sci-fi conventions in their original costumes, but resent that their lives have come to this. However, after meeting an alien race who believes their series was real, they are recruited to help save them from an alien warlord bent on destroying anything in his way. By both parodying the genre and using its tropes to its advantage, the film was both thoroughly hysterical and thrillingly fast-paced, resulting in a fun and intelligent film for fans of either comedy or Star Trek.

Toy Story 2

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

It’s been one of the most successful franchises in the family genre’s history while only needing to release three films to do so. The second entry into the Toy Story franchise was a good sign that it would not fall victim to the sequel curse, but instead prove itself as a rival worthy of the first. When Woody is stolen by a toy collector who seeks to keep him in a museum, his friends from Andy’s toy collection go on a journey to rescue him while he himself wrestles with the temptation to be immortalized in the museum. In seeking to dive deeper into the character personalities and their sense of loyalty for each other and their owners — as well as retaining many of the fun jokes and beautiful animation of the first film — this sequel captured both critics’ and audiences’ hearts, especially with the powerful and tearjerker Jessie flashback featuring the unforgettable “When She Loved Me” by Sarah McLachlan.

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