20 Years On – What ‘Teen Wolf’ really teaches us

Someone once told me that they thought that Teen Wolf is the ultimate coming of age movie. A film that puts the transition from child to adult and the hormonal chaos that comes with it out on the table.

I still rate The Breakfast Club as higher in the ‘coming of age / teenage ant movies’ but I did find myself re-watching Teen Wolf recently and did find myself thinking about it a bit more than usual.

So firstly, if you haven’t seen the Michael J Fox werewolf classic, then time to stop reading. Secondly, I know its a fun film and doesn’t bear up to over analysis so this is a bit tongue in cheek.

So. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about. The film paints a very interesting relationship between Michael J Fox and his schoolmates. But not the one I recalled, that being defined by whether he is a wolf or not, but actually based on whether he is any good at basketball. Thats the real point – nothing to do with all of the werewolf business.

Let me explain.

The opening shot of the movie is a free throw basketball shot that Scott misses. It doesn’t really matter though as the Beavers are losing by near 40 points the Dragons, a local rival team.  Their own coach tries to forfeit the game to which the other coach replies ‘Theres a lot to learn from losing’.

No you know all this but over the space of the next hour and ten minutes, it turns out that Scott has a genetic quirk that means that he turns (and can on demand later on) into a werewolf.

Then it happens on the basketball. He actually turns into a Werewolf during a game. The team and crowd are rightly shocked and scared. But then something really important happens. The Wolf can play basketball. REALLY play basketball. He scores a few points and the crowd (and team) are completely on his side.


We can but only imagine what would have happened if, as a werewolf, Scott was even worse at Basketball. Probably chased out of the state by villagers with pitchforks and fire. Never to be seen again.

But no fear of that – His popularity sky rockets, and even the hottest gal in the school Pamela can’t help herself falling for Scott. Boof, his best friend (who secretly loves him) has to watch him from the sidelines as the Beavers go on a winning streak.

So lets fast track to the end of the film. The team are once again playing the pesky Dragons, who include Mick (Pamela’s boyfriend), in the Championship match.

However, whilst everyone is expecting the Wolf to turn up, Scott arrives in non Werewolf guise.  He has decided to no longer allow the Wolf to cover up for his shortcomings and is going to play the game as himself.

The team are losing 22-9 at this point.  The crowd are chanting ‘Wolf’, desperate for Scott to become the animal in order to better their chances of winning the championship. Even the coach asks him where the wolf is and team near beg him to change. But Scott is convinced they can win.

So the game gets going. And the Beavers are playing well. So well in fact that as the game approaches the end, they are only 1 point behind 50-51. Then, with the last moment of the game, Scott is fouled and awarded two free throws. Sink both and they win the game.

And guess what? He sinks both. They win 51-50, and the crowd go wild. Scott is a hero and carried by the fans.  He even has the choice of Pamela or (as he chooses by pushing past Pamela) Boof. He is the hero of the school.


In conclusion, this is the point that Teen Wolf is making…Good at basketball, you’re a hero. The film starts with Scott missing the free throw, and he is a nobody.  At the end, without the werewolf, if they lose, Scott is a nobody, and probably resented for not having turned into him for the game. Scott is a hero at the end, he has the choice of girls, but because he wins the game – nothing more.



Bad at Basketball

Not very popular

Hypothesis : Chased out of the town with pitchforks

Good at Basketball

Hero of the school, has the choice of girlfriends

Hero of the school, has the choice of girlfriends




  • I saw this for the first time a few months ago, and I was expecting a lot more from it. Michael J. Fox is always good – but your review was better. Loved the analysis of Scott vs. Wolf chart.

    Even though it’s not the best film, it’s nice to see it receive some modern-day love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks for the feedback!

    If you haven’t seen the sequel (Teen Wolf Too), I’d avoid it – Its terrible. Its Jason Batemans equivalent of Grease 2…


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