School is starting and it’s fall again. One of my favorite parts of fall is that it is the time when all of the best movies of the year come out. (Is that very nerdy of me?) Production companies time movie releases very specifically, and fall is the time of year when all the movies that hope to be contenders during the award season take over the big screen to much discussion and acclaim. While the movies I might be excited to see may be nothing like the movies my teens are hoping to see, I still take time in the fall to catch some of the best new flicks with small groups of youth.
In the spirit of the fall movie release, I have picked out ten movies I suspect will be ones teens will be watching and talking about. I will say up front that I have not seen any of these movies, as they have not yet hit the theaters, so please do not take this as a promotion of these films. I can only say that these movies are geared towards younger and older teens, and there is a good chance the members of your youth ministry are seeing them. There are a few I know I will be taking youth to go and see, and I will mention them below. I hope this list will help you be aware of the movies that are coming out and give you enough information that you can help your teens debrief and break down the material they are seeing. As always, I want for you to feel empowered to help equip teens to see pop culture, especially movies, through the eyes of faith rather than the eyes of the world.

So I present the Top Ten Fall Movies Your Youth Are (probably) Going to See…

Easy A (released on September 17, PG-13)

Emma Stone plays Olive, a girl whose reputation goes south after a lie about her losing her virginity gets out. This teen comedy showcases another smart, fast-talking heroine, a la Juno, and how she decides to use the rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing. The movie is heavily narrated through the perspective of Olive’s webcam, a noteworthy turn for a big screen movie to reflect the growing computer-based, vlogging phenomenon. This looks as though it could be a good movie to start a discussion about reputation and gossip.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (released September 24)

Based off the first book in a series called The Guardians of Ga’Hoole, the animated film follows Soren, an owl who grew up hearing the stories of a band of owl warriors called the Guardians of Ga’Hoole who battle to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones. When Soren and his brother fall into the talons of the wrong kind of owls, it is up to Soren to help make an escape, find the legendary Guardians, and save all the owl kingdoms. This looks like a great family movie for families with young teens.

The Social Network (released October 1)

The Social Network tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. It details the intensity surrounding Zuckerberg making a fortune on the site while having to deal with a number of very serious lawsuits. While this drama might not be specifically teen friendly, it certainly can give insight into the real people who created the social networking site many of us use everyday. On a side note, this movie is getting a lot of positive press for the casting of Justin Timberlake, an interesting turn from his music career.

Paranormal Activity 2 (released October 22)

Very little is known about this sequel to the 2007 horror movie Paranormal Activity. The original movie was a box office hit, and one that many of my teens were talking about for weeks. The first movie dealt with a young couple who were dealing with a demonic presence in their house, and was filmed to look like the footage was taken with an at-home camcorder. The teaser trailer for the sequel shows a baby in a crib, a dog, and an ominous hooded figure standing in the doorway in grainy, home video type footage that was characteristic of the first movie. No plot summary or even character list has been released, probably in an attempt to amp up the scary surprises for those who see the movie. This is not a movie I would go see, but it is one we need to be conscious of addressing, especially the demonic themes, with teens who are going to see it.

Megamind (released November 5)

This animated feature features the great voices of Will Ferrell, Brad Patt, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill. Super-villain Megamind kills his good-guy nemesis, Metro Man, and is forced to create a new foe. However, the good guy he had hoped to create goes bad, forcing Megamind to save the day by using his powers for good. This should also be a good movie night movie, especially for younger teens.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (released November 19)

In the first of two installments covering the final book of the Harry Potter series, the wizarding world is being taken over by Lord Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters, and Harry Potter is in constant danger of being killed. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are forced to travel all over the country to find and destroy the items keeping the Dark Lord from being killed without being captured or killed themselves. As the Harry Potter series takes a dark turn and closes in on the finish line, millions will be eager to see the next to last of the movie series that has spanned close to a decade. I, for one, will be in line for the midnight showing.

Tangled (released November 24)

And the latest Disney princess is Rapunzel! After spending her entire life in a tower she falls for a bandit and is forced to go into the outside world for the first time to find him. In the vein of classic princess movies Snow White and Cinderella, this is a traditional fairy tale with a modern style. It also looks as though Disney has begun a movement to give their princes far more character than in older fairy tale movies. This should be a great movie for a girl’s night!

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (released December 10)

If there is one movie I’m excited to see (other than Harry Potter), it’s this one. In the next of the Chronicles of Narnia series, Lucy and Edmund return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace. They meet with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea on the Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter all sorts of dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and more on their quest to reach the edge of the world. Based off the C.S. Lewis classic, I hope it will live up to the quality of the first two in the series.

TRON: Legacy (released December 17)

The movie Tron was an ambitions sci-fi film put out in 1982 by Disney to capitalize on the new video game revolution. TRON: Legacy takes up 20 years after the original and follows the main character’s son into the same digital world his father has been trapped in for 20 years. Together they have to travel across a cyber universe to escape. This is one of the newest reimaginings of ’80s movies which have become popular, like Transformers and G.I. Joe. A cult classic, many are excited to introduce this world to a new generation.

Gulliver’s Travels (released December 22)

Jack Black has signed on for the lead role in this adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels. He plays Lemuel Gulliver as a free-spirited travel writer on assignment in the Bermuda Triangle who finds himself accidentally a giant among tiny people in the hidden island of Lilliput. Not much is out about this movie yet, but it is one to keep on the radar.

So, now, what are you looking forward to seeing?