Movie Boyfriends I Would (and Wouldn’t) Let My Teenage Daughters Date

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: Movie Boyfriends I Would (and Wouldn’t) Let My Teenage Daughters Date

By Bob Marsocci

As a husband and father of two teenage girls, I’ve watched more than my share of teen rom-coms over the years. These film genres follow a predictable formula with the “boyfriend” as a central character. 

The teen romance movie boyfriend is usually either:

a) a cocky big-man-on-campus type pretending to be a good guy, but his true colors always come 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 he has been in love with since grade school. It’s often the quiet/shy/insecure boy who points out to the girl of his dreams that the cocky guy she’s fallen for is a disingenuous jerk (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 rom-com with our girls. My 14-year-old daughter Shanti 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 (maybe 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 my teenage daughters date.



Movie Boyfriends I Would Let My Daughters Date

Josh Lucas from Clueless

Played by: Paul Rudd

Josh is a nice, upstanding young man who is in law school. He can’t dance to save his life but he has a promising future and seemingly never ages. 

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. 

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. 

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, arrogant law student 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.  

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 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?

Danny Zuko from Grease

Played by John Travolta
In many ways, Danny is the opposite of Josh Lucas, the first movie boyfriend on my list. Danny is a bit of a rebel who walks with a swagger. He certainly is no aspiring law student, but he can dance better than just about any movie boyfriend in history. Danny showed at the end of Grease that he’s willing to do whatever it took to impress and win back Sandy (including earning a letterman’s sweater) and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t treat my girls with the same respect and deference.  


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. 


Movie Boyfriends I Wouldn’t Let My Daughters Date

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 ride around with Ferris in a vintage Ferrari. 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 snob.

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 very 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 girlfriend Caroline on a late-night jaunt throughout their Chicago suburb in his dad’s Rolls Royce. 

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 lame move if there ever was one. One night Blane and Andie are kissing 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. Andie rightfully called B.S.!

Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything

Played by: John Cusack

Lloyd seems like he’s a pretty good kid and all the movie critics love him. But his life goal is to be a kickboxer. Sorry, Lloyd, you’re a nice kid, but 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 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 an obsessed psychopath and stalker who after terrorizing the family of his ex-girlfriend 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!

About Bob Marsocci

Bob is a writer who lives in Southern California. He recently launched his blog,, which celebrates the special relationship and bond between dads and their daughters. His teenage daughters make him proud 357 days of the year (no one’s perfect). Follow him on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.



If you enjoyed this post, here are a few others you might enjoy reading:

50 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Teen Boys

50 Things I Want My Son to Know About Teen Girls

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