Less beloved of my personal brat pack and I than Pie, but still in the same throbbing vein, was Cruel Intentions, another 1999 teen blockbuster. Marketed as a stylish modern take on Les Liaisons dangereuses, Cruel found a frequently shirtless Ryan Phillipe out to deflower the virtuous new girl at his Upper East Side prep school. If he succeeded in his quest, his duplicitous stepsister had promised him anal sex. Writing about the film for the New York Times, Rick Marin asked, “[I]s it just me, or have some of these movies become so sexually explicit (in language, if not nudity), so slutty (in male and female promiscuity), that they’re like soft-core porn, without the clever dialogue?” My girlfriend and I saw Cruel Intentions on the day it came out; afterward, we had sex — a not uncommon response, it turns out.
According to the CDC, in 1999, rates of teen sexual activity jumped higher than they’d been in years, while incidences of teen pregnancy continued a steady decline. In other words, a decade ago, young people were eagerly exploring sexuality, spurred on by films filled with characters not just having sex, but actively pursuing sex, constantly.
Nerve just reposted a piece I wrote three years ago about how teen films from the ’80s and ’90s were better on sex and reproduction than modern stuff like the “Twilight” series.
Bonus: Besides Cruel Intentions, other memorable date movies from high school include Save the Last Dance, The Other Sister, Titanic (three times on three separate dates! Fuck! Nine hours of my life!), Bulworth and He Got Game.