Y Tu Mamá También (2001)--Before directing the latest Harry Potter movie, Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón produced this superbly crafted road-trip romp in which rich kid Tenoch (Diego Luna), poor kid Julio (Gael García Bernal) and enigmatic older woman Ana (Ana López Mercado) go beach-hunting in the Mexican countryside. Aided by picturesque scenery, Cuarón delves into teenage friendship, probes the undying sex drives of both men and women, and examines the need to make sense of yourself before you lose the things that once defined you.
Girl (1998)--In a suspiciously Portland-ish town, white-bread teen Andrea (Dominique Swain) tires of West Hills ignorance, trades in her Abercrombie for alternative punk, and falls for moody-eyed bandleader Todd Sparrow (Sean Patrick Flanery). Meanwhile, Andrea's reject friends (a younger Tara Reid, Selma Blair, Channon Roe and Christopher Masterson included) lose themselves as well to sexuality, music, suicide and academia. The laughs and teen-ish morals come fast and furious in this overlooked sleeper, but at heart, it's a smart film about finding your identity, or at least finding that your identity might not exist yet.
Stand by Me (1986)--Writer Stephen King and director Rob Reiner are at their best in this sweet childhood fable. Following a remote country railroad, remorseful Gordie (Wil Wheaton), charismatic Chris (River Phoenix), demented Teddy (Corey Feldman) and tagalong Vern (Jerry O'Connell) cuss up a storm and ponder their places in the world as they search for a dead body. Amid all the bullies, leaches, charging locomotives and soothing campfire chat, this film covers just about everything that a little boy could ever contemplate (before discovering girls other than Annette Funicello).
Desert Blue (1998)--Worlds collide when a highway chemical spill traps Professor Lance Davidson (John Heard) and his starlet daughter, Skye (Kate Hudson), in a remote desert town where the locals have pain and passions to spare. TNT-lovin' Ely (Christina Ricci), extreme-sports whiz Pete (Casey Affleck) and moody dream chaser Blue (Brendan Sexton III) have some interesting ways to combat boredom and isolation, and their late-night booze chats on outdoor desert couches keep the whole thing goofy yet poignant throughout.
SubUrbia (1996)--After Dazed and Confused, director Richard Linklater tackled post-party teen depression with this melancholy yarn about slackers in a drugstore parking lot. The plot doesn't matter: The philosophical Jeff (Giovanni Ribisi) and cynical ex-soldier Tim (Nicky Katt) seek only to wander and deject you with their soul-searching gloom. After this viewing, even suicide will seem like a waste, so drop your barbiturates and wise up.