As a husband and father of two teenage girls, over the years I’ve watched more than my share of teen drama/rom-com movies. These movies follow a predictable (i.e. contrived) formula with the “Boyfriend” as a central character.
The teen romance movie Boyfriend usually is either a) a cocky asshole pretending to be a good guy but his assholeness always comes out in the end or b) a quiet/shy boy-next-door type who is insecure but overcomes his insecurities to win over the girl who is way the hell out of his league. It’s often the quiet/shy/insecure boy who points out to the girl of his dreams that the jackass she’s fallen for is just that (because the smitten girl just can’t figure out the obvious on her own).
The same thing usually happens when my wife and I are watching a teen drama/rom-com with our girls. My youngest daughter Shanti (who is 14), will turn to me and say, “Daddy, would you ever let Katy or me date a guy like (fill in name of character)? It’s a hypothetical question, of course. Nonetheless, it got me thinking — if some of these fictional characters ever magically came to life, which movie boyfriends would I let date my daughters? Just as important ( hell, even more important), which movie boyfriends would I not let come within 100 feet of my daughters.
So herewith are my lists of movie boyfriends (culled from a list of movies we’ve watched together) I would and wouldn’t let date my teenage daughters.
Movie Boyfriends I Would Let Date My Daughters
Josh Lucas from Clueless
Played by: Paul Rudd
A nice, upstanding young man who is in law school. He can’t dance for shit but he has a promising future and seemingly never ages.
Peter Kavinsky from To All The Boys I Loved Before
Played by: Noah Centineo
I shouldn’t like Peter — he’s a stereotypical, good-looking popular jock who is always confident (maybe even cocky). But Peter proves to be a smart kid (he did get into Stanford) who has a sentimental, soft side that comes from living with his divorced mother.
Brian Johnson from The Breakfast Club
Played by Anthony Michael Hall
Brian was the only one of the five students serving detention who didn’t hook up with anyone on that seminal Saturday morning. Thus, technically he wasn’t anyone’s boyfriend (as far as we know). But, I’m making the rules here and Brian makes the cut. He’s well-mannered and a wicked smart nerd. High school nerds go on to rule the world so the sky’s the limit as far as his future is concerned. He’ll probably end up on the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans before he turns 40.
Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing
Played by: the late Patrick Swayze
Do you know what happened to Johnny Castle after the iconic closing scene in Dirty Dancing? He told Max Kellerman to go screw himself and founded his own dance company that made him millions (at least that’s what I like to think happened). He also decked that preppy asshole Robbie Gould one more time on his way out of Kellerman’s.
Ronald Miller from Can’t Buy Me Love
Played by: Patrick Dempsey
Is he another typical high school nerd? Yes, he is. But…he’s also respectful and learns an important lesson about wanting to be in the “cool” clique. Plus, he grows up to be a neurosurgeon and a race car driver.
Mark “Rat” Ratner from Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Played by: Brian Backer
Teen movie boyfriends don’t come much better than the shy, polite and chivalrous Rat. Rumor is he’s waiting for marriage to lose his virginity.
Daniel LaRusso from The Karate Kid
Played by: Ralph Macchio
To this day I believe Daniel’s kick to Johnny’s head in the championship match of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament should have disqualified him and Johnny should have been named the winner of the Tournament, and walked out holding that big-ass trophy. Now that I got that out of the way…with a mentor like Mr. Miyagi — who teaches Daniel-san to respect others and always act with integrity and honor — how could I not approve of him dating one of my girls?
Movie Boyfriends I Wouldn’t Let Date My Daughters
Ferris Bueller from, well, you know
Played by: Mathew Broderick
Look, I love Ferris. Aside from principal Ed Rooney, who doesn’t love him? In my younger days I would have liked to ditch school and tool around in a vintage Ferrari with Ferris. But…he’s a bullshitter and a helluva good one at that. Ferris would tell me he’s taking my daughter to a coffee house for a poetry reading when he’s actually taking her to get his and her matching tattoos.
Warner Huntington III from Legally Blonde
Played by: Mathew Davis
If you’ve seen the movie, and with a name like that, no explanation is needed. Okay, a quick explanation: he’s a world-class, entitled douchebag.
Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles
Played by: Michael Schoeffling
All the girls go ga-ga for the Porsche-driving, sweater-vest-wearing Jake. Yes, he’s a helluva good looking young man who saves the day for Samantha and gives her a memorable 16th birthday — a birthday that her entire family forgot about. But let’s not forget that just the night before he let Farmer Ted take his drunk girlfriend Caroline on a late-night jaunt throughout their Chicago suburb in his dad’s Rolls Royce and she woke up with a killer hangover in the parking lot across from her church.
Blane McDonough from Pretty In Pink
Played by: Andrew McCarthy
Does Blane redeem himself in the end after he tossed Andie aside just before prom? Yes, he does. But he dumped her just days before prom — that is a dick move if there ever was one. One night Blane and Andie are making out while sitting on a pile of hay, and a few days later he lies to her face and tells her that he forgot that he asked someone else to prom and somehow it slipped his mind. As my dad likes to say, “what kind of bullshit is that!?”
Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything
Played by: John Cusack
I struggled with puting Lloyd on the “Wouldn’t Let Date my Daughters” list. Lloyd seems like he’s a pretty good kid and all the movie critics love him. But his life goal is to be a damn kickboxer. Sorry Lloyd, that’s just not going to cut it.
Noah Flynn from The Kissing Booth
Played by: Jacob Elordi
Mr. Popular lies, is deceitful and keeps secrets from his current girlfriend, Elle. Who’s to say he wouldn’t do the same with one of my girls?
John Bender from The Breakfast Club and Alec Newbury from St. Elmo’s Fire
Both played by: Judd Nelson
Bender probably smokes a pack of cigarettes for breakfast and keeps a bong in the back seat of his car, and Newbury — sure he looks the part of the clean-cut Georgetown student — but he cheated on his girlfriend Leslie with a girl who sells lingerie at Macy’s.
David McCall from Fear
Played by: Mark Wahlberg
This one is obvious. The worst boyfriend in movie boyfriend history. At first he seems like quite the charmer and do-gooder. But he’s a fucking obsessed psychopath and stalker who got what he deserved when his ex-girlfriend’s dad threw him out a second-story bedroom window onto the rocks below. Good riddance, David, you piece of shit!
Bob Marsocci is a writer and blogger. His blog www.girldadsrule.com celebrates the special relationship and unique bond between dads and daughters.