Finally Legal: The 18 Most Memorable Movies Turning 18 This Year

Where does the time go?

Grant Hermannsby Grant Hermanns
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

We all remember that wonderful feeling of finally turning 18 — having the ability to drive without a guardian in the car, going out to vote in our first political election and buying that pack of smokes you used to have to sneak from an older friend. While movies might not be able to enjoy some of these perks, turning 18 is a big milestone anyways, especially ones that have remained in the spotlight since their original debuts. Let’s take a look at the funniest, most action-packed (and a few of the worst) films turning 18 this year.

18 Memorable Movies Turning 18 In 2017

Varsity Blues

movies turning 18 in 2017

Photo: Paramount Pictures (Getty).

  • Director: Brian Robbins
  • Stars: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 40% from Critics, 76% from Audiences

Before falling in love with him as Special Agent Brian O’Connor and newly discovering a love for him as Dawson Leery, audiences watched Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek struggle with football, growing up and love in their fictional town of West Canaan, Texas. The film captured the attention of audiences thanks to its relatable characters, thrilling football sequences and dialogue filled with guffaw-inducing one-liners. Not to mention the infamously talked-about and parodied scene involving Ali Larter, whipped cream and a lack of clothes.

Office Space

movies turning 18 in 2017

Photo: 20th Century Fox (Getty).

  • Director: Mike Judge
  • Stars: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, Gary Cole
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 79% “Certified Fresh” from Critics, 93% from Audiences

If you’ve ever worked in an office or at a menial job, then this was the movie that struck a bigger chord with you than Waiting… did for anyone who worked in the restaurant industry. Following a programmer bored with his life and job who decides to make a change after seeing a hypnotherapist, the film wonderfully captured the droll lives and tasks of any white collar or IT workforce and blended it with intelligent satire and hilarious one-liners, creating one of the biggest cult films of all time that is the epitome of the ’90s workforce.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

movies turning 18 in 2017

Photo: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

  • Director: Guy Ritchie
  • Stars: Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng, Vinnie Jones
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 76% “Certified Fresh” from Critics, 93% from Audiences

He’s brought modern audiences the classic British private detective Sherlock Holmes and is set to bring the childhood favorite Aladdin into the live-action genre. But before tackling the big-budget action flicks he’s come to be known for, English writer/director Guy Ritchie earned his praise and fame for being the king of British gangster movies, beginning with the hilarious Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Set up as a heist film, the plot follows a card shark and his friends as they try to rob the small-time gang living next door after he falls into a large debt with a notorious gangster. Packed with intense action, dark humor and the international introductions of stars Vinnie Jones (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Jason Statham (The Transporter), this was a great dive into the British gangster mind of Ritchie that would be revisited in the stellar 2000 Snatch and 2008 RocknRolla.

The Matrix

movies turning 18 in 2017

Photo: Warner Brothers (Getty).

  • Directors: The Wachowskis
  • Stars: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, Lawrence Fishburne
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 87% “Certified Fresh” from Critics, 85% from Audiences

“In my hand, I hold a red pill and a blue pill. The red pill will grant you access to the horrible truth behind the ‘real world,’ while the blue pill will return you to your former life. Which will you choose?” This was the prelude to the mind-bending revelation that the world we live in is a computer simulation and the real world is a dystopia in which machines have retaliated against humans and a war is waging between the groups in the simulation. Starring Keanu Reeves — who had already made a household name for himself with the hit Bill & Ted comedies as well as the classic action flicks Point Break and Speed The Matrix received widespread praise for its combination of sci-fi storytelling and groundbreaking visual effects, especially its use of the bullet time effect, repopularizing it for future films.

The Mummy

movies turning 18 in 2017

Photo: Universal Pictures (Getty).

  • Director: Stephen Sommers
  • Stars: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 57% from Critics, 75% from Audiences

Before Tom Cruise reportedly ran his own remake into the ground, Brendan Fraser and company were — for the most part — having fun on the set of the first remake of Universal’s classic monster movie The Mummy. Following an American adventurer and a group of archaeologists who accidentally awaken a 600-year-old mummy with a deadly curse behind him, the loose adaptation of the 1932 Boris Karloff original swapped an atmospheric horror for a fun and fast-paced adventure that featured some stellar visual effects and another thoroughly entertaining performance from ’90s-era Fraser. The film was a minor critical hit, but a major box office hit, spawning two sequels and the spin-off franchise The Scorpion King.

Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

movies turning 18 in 2017

Photo: 20th Century Fox

  • Director: George Lucas
  • Stars: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 55% from Critics, 59% from Audiences

Though the current youth demographic has The Force Awakens and the upcoming Last Jedi as their revivals for the Star Wars franchise, those who grew up in the ’90s (such as myself) had The Phantom Menace — the start of a prequel trilogy offering the backstory of how the beloved sci-fi series got its start and how alliances were gained and tested. In the film, Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) must protect Naboo Queen Amidala (Portman) alongside a young slave with intense strength in the Force, Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) from the growing forces of the Sith. Widely debated by fans as either the worst Star Wars prequel or a solid start to the trilogy due to some of its poor writing and characters — especially the introduction of universally-despised Jar Jar Binks — the film was nonetheless a major hit at the time of its release and did have some positive things going for it, including thrilling visual effects, a wonderful early performance from McGregor as Kenobi and a stellar musical score — especially the final battle track “Duel of the Fates.”

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