Universal Pictures / 20th Century Fox / A24
Bo Burnham's debut film "Eighth Grade" is getting praise for its realistic and touching portrayal of growing up today. It builds on a long line of movies that deal with the awkwardness of coming of age. Here are 17 of them.
The Graduate (1967)
In this classic from director Mike Nichols, Benjamin Braddock (breakout star Dustin Hoffman) has a lot of cringeworthy moments with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), including one where he utters the famous line: "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?"
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
This raunchy comedy took on teenage sexuality and a whole lot more. In one cringeworthy scene, Mike Damone (Robert Romanus) offers Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) a five-point plan for getting with a girl. The plan goes as follows: (1) "You never let on how much you like a girl," (2) "you always call the shots," (3) "act like wherever you are, that's the place to be," (4) "whenever you order something, find out what she wants and order it for both of you," and (5) "when it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on Side 1 of Led Zeppelin 4."
Sixteen Candles (1984)
In the earliest of John Hughes' iconic teen movies, Samantha (Molly Ringwald) pines after older boy Jake (Michael Schoeffling) and avoids nerdy Ted (Anthony Michael Hall), while her sixteenth birthday gets overshadowed by her older sister's upcoming marriage. In one cringeworthy scene, Ted accosts Samantha on the dance floor and starts dancing in front of her. Samantha runs away to cry, and he's left awkwardly dancing by himself.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
This story of kids from different cliques coming together for detention is widely recognized as one of the greatest high school movies of all time. You can't help but squirm when Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy) decides to create the appearance of "snow" on her drawing by scratching her hair to shake off some dandruff.
Weird Science (1985)
In this science-fiction comedy from John Hughes, social outcasts Gary and Wyatt (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) use a computer program to bring a woman to life. In one especially cringeworthy scene, Gary and Wyatt take a shower with their creation -- together --and can't even form a sentence because they're too busy staring at her naked body.
Pretty in Pink (1986)
This John Hughes film focuses on Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) and her relationship with a much more popular Blane (Andrew McCarthy). In one particularly cringeworthy scene, her awkward friend Duckie starts talking to himself as he considers divulging his true love to Andie.
Stand by Me (1986)
This Rob Reiner adaptation of a Stephen King story tells the story of four boys from a small town in Oregon who go on a hike to find the missing body of a child. It's hard not to cringe (and feel a little faint) when the boys get bitten by leeches after they take a dip in a forest pool. Especially when Gordie (Wil Wheaton) faints after pulling a leech from his crotch.
20th Century Fox
Say Anything (1989)
In Cameron Crowe's directorial debut, kickboxer Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) falls in love with valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye). In one cringeworthy scene toward the end of the movie, Diane goes to Lloyd's gym to reconcile with him and declare her true feelings. They eventually make up and kiss -- even though Lloyd has been punched in the face during training and has a very bloody nose the entire time. (Ew.)
Buena Vista Pictures
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
In this popular romantic comedy-drama, director Gil Junger retold Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" in a high school. In one moment at the end that's both cute and a little cringeworthy, Kat (Julia Stiles) makes a very awkward public declaration while reading a poem called, you guessed it, "10 Things I Hate About You."
American Pie (1999)
In this teen comedy from Adam Herz, a group of teenage boys compete to lose their virginity during their senior year of high school. There are two especially cringeworthy moments involving a webcam.
Mean Girls (2004)
Cady Harrington (Lindsay Lohan) suffers numerous cringeworthy moments in her quest for popularity and the love of Aaron Rogers. Two stick out: When Cady falls into a garbage can (oops), and when she gets drunk and tells Aaron she only pretended to be bad at math so they could become friends -- then pukes on his shoes.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Jason Reitman's comedy stars Ellen Page as an independent, snarky teenager named Juno who winds up getting pregnant by her friend Paulie (Michael Cera). Both characters are very awkward -- in a loveable way -- but one scene that sticks out is their confrontation in the hallway at their school. Juno asks Paulie if he's going to prom with a certain "stink-eyed" girl, and Paulie admits that he has asked her. The scene ends with Juno lashing out at Paulie and saying that she only hooked up with him because she was bored. Things get worse from there.
This teen comedy stars Michael Cera and Jonah Hill as awkward high school seniors trying to lose their virginity, and it's pretty cringeworthy from beginning to end. Here's one scene that's sure to make you wince: Seth (Hill) comes back from dancing with a girl, only to have his friends point out that there's blood on his leg -- most likely because the girl was on her time of the month.
Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Charlie (Logan Lerman) may be a wallflower, but he still gets himself into some awkward situations -- such as the entirety of his relationship with Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman).
Lady Bird (2017)
In Greta Gerwig's lauded directorial debut, the self-named Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) has one of her most cringeworthy moments at the end of the movie. She's finally made it to college in New York City, and what's one of the first thing she does in the Big Apple? At a party, she meets a guy and starts hooking up with him, only to puke and end up at the hospital for drinking too much. Let's hope Marion, aka Mom, never finds out about that one.
Sony Pictures Classics
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
This romantic drama from Luca Guadagnino hit theaters last year to instant critical acclaim, earning Academy Award nomations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor. The film chronicles the romantic relationship between 17-year old Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and his father's graduate-student assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer). The film is filled with cringeworthy moments, including one with a peach that we can't discuss here, but here's another: As the film progresses, Elio (Chalamet) abandons his sort-of girlfriend, Marzia, for Oliver. Eventually she comes to the house to confront him, and finally asks, "Am I your girl?" -- only to be met with silence.
Eighth Grade (2018)
In his directorial debut, Bo Burnham brings the coming-of-age story to 2018, with an honest and funny depiction of an awkward 14-year old girl named Kayla (Elsie Fisher) as she navigates her last week of eighth grade. Truth be told, the entire film is pretty cringeworthy. But in one scene, Kayla is about to practice a sex move on a banana in the kitchen, when in walks her dad. "I thought you didn't like bananas?" he says. The awkward conversation that follows is both hilarious and, for some, only watchable through gaps between their fingers.