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Top 10 Teenage Movie Outcasts

VO: Alexandra Maynard WRITTEN BY: Mersini Karkoulas
They sure did let their freak flags fly. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Teenage Movie Outcasts. For this list, we’re considering adolescent aged characters from a variety of films, not just ones specifically marketed to teens.
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Top 10 Teenage Movie Outcasts


They sure did let their freak flags fly. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Teenage Movie Outcasts.
For this list, we’re considering adolescent aged characters from a variety of films, not just ones specifically marketed to teens.

#10: Katarina “Kat” Stratford
“10 Things I Hate About You” (1999)

She’s a no BS kind of girl, so when Kat finds herself in the middle of a complicated love plot, she is predictably unimpressed. Kat’s sister Bianca isn’t allowed to go on a date until Kat does, so Kat is pushed into the thriving social scene of her high school. Meanwhile, fellow outcast and resident bad boy, Patrick, takes on the challenge of being the one to date Kat. She’s feisty, she’s difficult, and she’s a hardcore feminist. While her fellow students might hate her, we can’t help but love her, especially as she softens up throughout the movie and we learn the real reason she has an aversion to dating.

#9: Nadine Franklin
“The Edge of Seventeen” (2016)
When a movie opens with the main character telling someone that they’re going to kill themselves, you know it’s a sign they’re not doing so well. With her wit and her somewhat annoying self-centredness, Nadine is not very well liked by her peers. She has two friends; one of them betrays her by dating her older brother, and the other is a tired but well meaning teacher. It’s a funny, understated movie where the main character has to navigate changing relationships with the people who mean the most to her and her quirks make her all the more relatable to movie audiences.

#8: Charlie Kelmeckis
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012)

Based on the novel of the same name, this movie speaks to the introvert in all of us. So shy it’s almost painful to watch, Charlie doesn’t fit in much with his schoolmates. At least not until he meets Sam and Patrick, two older kids who take him under their wing. With their guidance, he finds a group of friends who accept him, and starts coming out of his shell. But with his past traumas comes a social ineptitude that lands him in trouble more than once, especially when it comes to girls. But despite it all, Charlie is a likeable guy, and one of our favourite social outcasts to watch on screen.

#7: Napoleon Dynamite
“Napoleon Dynamite” (2004)
With his red fro, oversized glasses, and general awkwardness, Napoleon is definitely one of the most memorable social outcasts to ever grace our screens. He had no luck with the girls, and was laughed at and ridiculed by his peers, and found himself a group among the other social outcasts. When his friend Pedro decides to run for class president against the most popular girl, Napoleon dons the dorky but iconic “Vote for Pedro” shirt, and in the interest of supporting his flailing friend, musters up the courage to do a dance routine in front of everyone. It’s cringe worthy, but it’s awesome, and it makes us consider him one of the coolest dorks in the universe.

#6: Lydia Deetz
“Beetlejuice” (1988)

Tim Burton’s iconic film introduced us to Lydia Deetz, perfectly portrayed by Winona Ryder. A Goth girl with offbeat interests like the supernatural and paranormal, Lydia herself admits that she is “strange and unusual”. Overlooked by her parents, she falls into the bizarre world of Beetlejuice, a spirit hired by the recently deceased owners of Lydia’s new house. Instead of doing what he was hired to do, Beetlejuice attempts to carry out his own nefarious plan, which includes marrying the innocent Lydia so he can return to the world of the living. And while Lydia might have affection for the supernatural, that’s going a bit too far.

#5: Jason “J.D.” Dean
“Heathers” (1988)

There’s nothing like a horrible childhood to screw someone up, and JD is no exception. With a role reversal relationship with his father, and the mysterious death of his mother, JD is one messed up kid who ends up going on a murder spree through his high school. From the moment he pulls a gun on the two kids who try to bully him, we know that he is not someone to mess with. But if not for Veronica Sawyer, who sees parts of herself reflected back through him, most of the drama in this movie could’ve been avoided. We can’t advocate his violent actions, and by the end of the movie he has clearly become totally unhinged.

#4: Carrie White
“Carrie” (1976)

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, “Carrie’s” Carrie White stands out as one of the most terrifying characters to have ever been portrayed on film. Constantly bullied and tormented by her fellow students, she unlocks telekinetic abilities when she first begins to menstruate. It’s a masterful piece of storytelling to have us feel sorry to Carrie, even as she exacts her revenge by slaughtering the students who bullied her. It’s a testament to what happens when a person is pushed too far.

#3: Jim Stark
“Rebel Without a Cause” (1955)

Featuring what’s easily James Dean’s most iconic role, this movie introduces Jim after he gets arrested for drunkenness. Most people wouldn’t consider jail the best place to meet new people, but it’s there that Jim finds his crowd - a couple of other teenagers whose home lives are as terrible as his own. It's an ode to the restless spirits of teenagers, and while Jim is pushed into situations he’d rather not be in, he realises he’s more than capable of handling himself. This ultimately allows him to stand up to his parents and gives us hope that he’ll be able to live the life he wants. He’s a character that continues to inspire, more than 50 years after the film’s release.

#2: Allison Reynolds
“The Breakfast Club” (1985)

This movie inspired a generation with its moving realisation that every teenager feels the same things, whether they’re the popular jock, or the fierce outcast. Allison is memorable as the “basket case”, but as the movie progresses, she opens up to the others and we begin to see her, as well as all the other characters, as fully realized people beyond their stereotypes. While it made big names for actors Molly Ringwald (whose character Andie in “Pretty in Pink” was another social outcast), Emilio Estevez, and Judd Nelson, it’s Ally Sheedy’s Allison that we’ll always remember as the quirky weirdo we needed.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honourable mentions:

Ronald Miller
“Can’t Buy Me Love” (1987)

Oliver Tate
“Submarine” (2010)

Seth & Evan
“Superbad” (2007)

#1: Donald “Donnie” Darko
“Donnie Darko” (2001)

There are few people out there who haven’t seen “Donnie Darko” and fewer still who aren’t still haunted by it. Donnie is a troubled teenager, and after narrowly escaping death, begins seeing visions of a man in a bunny suit called Frank. If that isn’t creepy enough, things just plunge further into darkness as Donnie begins carrying out rebellious acts under the influence of Frank. Now a cult classic, Donnie and Frank have a place in the collective consciousness of society and while we’ll always cheer when Donnie stands up to Jim Cunningham, we’ll never get over how eerie he is.


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