Ah, youth. With greater independence comes raging hormones and so, so, so many opportunities to both screw up AND shine. Childhood and adolescence are all about figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life. I can’t lie and say I’d ever want to relive those years, but I love revisiting them through someone else’s eyes in a movie.

Here are 5 of my favorite coming-of-age movies:

Lady Bird Greta Gerwig’s tale of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson’s (Saoirse Ronan) senior year of high school earned five Oscar nominations this year and was equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. While teenage girls might relate to Lady Bird’s strong personality and social awkwardness, the parents of those teenage girls will definitely empathize with Laurie Metcalfe and Tracy Letts, who play Lady Bird’s exasperated mom and peacekeeping dad.

The Goonies – A group of misfits (including Sean Astin and Corey Feldman) sets out on a wild adventure in the hopes of finding a hidden pirate treasure that will help save their homes from foreclosure. Man oh man how I loved this 1985 movie as a kid … and I still love it enough to have its framed poster hanging in my house. Goonies never say die!

Stand By MeOK so Corey Feldman might have been my first celebrity crush because he’s back on my list in Stand By Me, along with the late River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton and Jerry O’Connell in this dramedy about a group of friends who hike into the Oregon wilderness in an attempt to find a missing boy. It is certainly dark at points, but the amazing performances, upbeat oldies soundtrack and frequent moments of levity make it an ‘80s classic.

BoyhoodThis might be THE quintessential coming-of-age movie, as it literally shows the same boy (Ellar Coltrane) aging from age six to eighteen. It’s totally amazing. Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking film, which he shot with the same cast for a few weeks each year between 2002 and 2013, earned five Oscar nominations and a Best Supporting Actress win for Patricia Arquette.

The Sandlot – “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!” People who haven’t even SEEN The Sandlot know that famous line from this 1993 cult favorite about a ragtag group of boys who play baseball together in the ‘60s. As the great Roger Ebert once wrote, it’s like a summertime version of A Christmas Story.


What coming-of-age movies would make your list?