There was a time when I was just young and dumb. Then, that one thing happened and I became wise to the ways of the world. That's how it happens, right? At least that's how it often happens in the movies. Generally, it goes like this: when that summer began I was but a boy (or a girl), but when it ended I was a man (or woman). Let's face it. We love these types of movies. I do, anyway. That's why I love this week's topic for the Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves - coming of age movies. This is one category where my only struggle was whittling my post down to three movies from dozens, if not hundreds of choices. After all, some of my favorite movies of all time fit the bill. Out of respect for my fellow bloggers who may very well pick some of these movies, I'll refrain from giving you a rundown.
You know what that means.
As per usual, I'm trying to dig a little deeper and find those movies that have not been as widely seen. Therefore, as the rules allow me to, I'm going to go with some hidden gems. If you have not seen, or even heard of, these movies before keep them in mind when looking to watch some youngsters go through that pivotal time in their lives when they shed their innocence. Here are my picks in chronological order:
The Person Coming of Age: PreachMade in 1975, but set in 1964 Chicago, we follow high school students Preach (Glynn Turman, with the glasses in the picture) and his best friend Cochise (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, far right) on their misadventures. This includes cutting school, drinking, picking up girls, and run-ins with the local thugs. Through it all, Preach gets some valuable life lessons for all the trouble he goes through. It's equal parts funny and poignant without resorting to the flamboyance of the hugely popular Blaxploitation flicks of the era. By the way, it also includes the original version of the song "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye" by little known Motown artist G. C. Cameron. The song would become a number 1 hit for Boyz II Men in 1991.
The Last American Virgin
The Person Coming of Age: GaryMany a movie has been made about boys efforting to lose their virginity. For some of us, especially Gary (Lawrence Monoson), this is epic undertaking filled with failure. We follow him as he pals around with buddies Rick and David and lusts after Karen. The wonderful thing about this movie is that it has the courage to not give us a happy-go-lucky finish (minor spoiler, I guess), and even sneaks in some social commentary. Well, it helps that the raunchy bits are hilarious. I like it so much, it made my list of Top 10 Movies About Virginity. Read my full review of it, here.
The Person Coming of Age: TroyHere, we follow Troy as she tries desperately to keep up with her four brothers and has her own misadventures on the streets of Brooklyn, where she lives. There's also some marital strife between mom and dad weighing on her and the entire family. I've become a champion for this movie as of late. That's because it's been often criticized as being one of director Spike Lee's lesser films. I agree it's not in the upper echelon of Spike Lee Joints, it's his most personal and touching film to date. It's the one which you're least likely to come away from thinking he's pushing some socio-political agenda. And this is coming from a huge Lee fan. He depicts a place filled with rich and varied characters and lets a little girl grow up right before our eyes.
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