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The 15 Coolest Teen Nerds In Film History (And In Real Life)3

By Steven Novak

The 15 Coolest Teen Nerds In Film History (And In Real Life)

Movie Nerds – we love to root for them because we love to root for the underdog. From Charlie Chaplin to Steve Carell, they’ve worked their way into our hearts. And, honestly, it seems there’s an increasing number of actors and writers these days who are nerds themselves, so it’s no surprise we’re seeing more of them at the theater. KoldCast TV has its own resident nerd comedy, MacAwesome, which follows the awkward moments of a home-schooled boy named Josh. In honor of nerds everywhere, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 coolest teen nerds in film history, who were also a bit nerdy in real life.

MacAwesome, Episode 1: Women Don’t Sleep

1. MAX FISHER – Jason Schwartzman – Rushmore

It’s not even really a question – Rushmore’s nerdy go-getter Max Fisher is by far and away the coolest teen nerd on our list. He’s also the lead character in what’s arguably the best film on the list to boot. Max made multiple passes at his sexy older teacher, breathed a bit of spiritual life into Bill Murray’s Mr. Blume, and still ended up dancing with his deceptively cute classmate Margaret Yang. Not a bad semester.

What qualifies him a real-life nerd? In 2005, Schwartzman worked with kids around the country at a debate camp.

2. GEORGE McFLY – Crispin Glover – Back to the Future

After blasting back through time with the help of Doc Brown’s souped-up Delorean, Marty McFly discovered that the younger version of his father George wasn’t only a nerd, but a geek as well – maybe even a dork, too. With the help of his son, however, George punched out bully Biff Tannen and went to the dance with the local beauty.

What makes him a real-life nerd?

3. COLUMBUS – Jesse Eisenberg – Zombieland

The character of “Columbus,” by his own admission, spent his time pretty much alone – with only the companionship of his World of Warcraft trolls and bottles of Mountain Dew Code Red. In the end though, he managed to not only survive the zombie outbreak, but also shoot Bill Murray in the chest, and land himself the sexiest girl not suffering from an awful bout of gangrene.

What makes him a real-life nerd? David Fincher found him perfect for the role of Mark Zuckerberg in his upcoming movie about Facebook, The Social Network. To really play a nerd, you gotta be a nerd.

4. FOGELL “McLOVIN” – Christopher Mintz – Superbad

Though 2007’s Superbad was all about the “nerds,” it’s the thick-glasses-wearing, false-ID-carrying “McLovin” that truly stole the show. Despite his obviously fake driver’s license and piss-poor attempt to use it to procure himself a little booze, McLovin somehow ended up partying with the cops and having himself dragged away like he was a hard-nosed criminal in an attempt to impress the ladies.

What makes him a real-life nerd? His mom watched while he performed his sex scene for Superbad.

5. THE PIN – Lukas Haas – Brick

Despite the fact that he lived in his mother’s basement, walked with a cane, and wore capes, Lukas Haas’ “Pin” was Brick’s most prominent and dangerous drug dealer. He had the hired muscle, the money, and the brains to pull off just about anything – including murder… but we can’t let him live down the cape.

What makes him a real-life nerd? He’s been in a Woody Allen movie. Being a nerd is a prerequisite to even audition for Woody.

6. LEWIS SKOLNICK – Robert Carradine – Revenge of the Nerds

Nerds don’t get much nerdier than Lewis Skolnick, and there aren’t many movies that have celebrated nerd-dom better than the aptly titled Revenge of the Nerds. Despite the obvious nerdiness of Lewis and his ragtag group, by movies end they’d put the Alpha-Beta’s in their place, a few of them had gotten laid, and Lewis and his friends played sweet, sweet music with the Omega Mu’s.

What makes him a real-life nerd? In preparation for his role in Revenge of the Nerds, he participated in rush week at the University of Arizona. He was not picked.

7. LISA SIMPSON – Yeardley Smith – The Simpsons

Though technically not yet a “teenager,” Lisa Simpson is without a doubt nerdy enough to forgive the little age thing and earn herself a spot on our list. She’s into her saxophone, covets her A’s like Lindsay Lohan covets her booze, and has never quite fit in with the cool girls – like those purple-haired twins Sherri and Terri for example. She’s also the common sense and the heart of the Simpson family.

What makes her a real-life nerd? As the voice of Lisa, she is nerd royalty.

8. WILLIAM MILLER – Patrick Fugit – Almost Famous

Though only fifteen years old, nerdy writer and music lover William Miller sent copies of his work to a rock journalist named William Bangs and earned himself a spot on the road with a group of emerging musicians calling themselves “Stillwater.” While traveling with the band he partied with the hardest of partiers, found himself in a bed full of half-naked groupies, and learned a little something about himself… and life in general, to boot.

What makes him a real-life nerd? Before his starring role in Almost Famous, he thought Led Zeppelin was one person.

9. DUCKIE DALE – John Cryer – Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink’s Duckie might not have looked like the traditional nerd but don’t let the shoes fool you – he was as nerdy as they come. Sure, he failed to land his lifelong obsession – the raven-haired Molly Ringwald. He was, however, able to score with the far more attractive, attentive, and interesting Kristy Swanson. For making the decision to finally move onto bigger and better things despite his obvious nerd-dom, he’s earned a spot on our list.

What makes him a real-life nerd? If his iconic role of Duckie isn’t proof enough, then perhaps his Emmy-Award winning role on Two and a Half Men seals the deal.

10. RICHARD “DATA” WANG – Jonathan Ke Qwon – The Goonies

The nerdiest Goonie in the band of Goonies was without a doubt the James Bond idolizing, very Inspector Gadget-esque, weird machine conjuring Richard “Data” Wang. Though his wacky gadgets might have seemed a little, well – to put it bluntly – stupid at first, they ended up pulling him and his adventuring group of pals out of more than one sticky situation.

What makes him a real-life nerd? This one is a close call. Although he stared in two great nerd movies, Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he is now a stunt coordinator with credits that include X-Men and The One.

11. CAMERON – Alan Ruck – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

While Cameron’s lifelong pal Ferris Bueller might have gotten the fame, the girl, and the attention of everyone in downtown Chicago during his parade appearance, in the end it was Cameron himself that made the most dramatic (and cool) changes in his life. After accidently destroying his father’s prized car by kicking it out of a window and dropping it four stories into the forest, Cameron found the strength within to stick up to his old man and make Ferris proud.

What makes him a real-life nerd? He was a captain in Star Trek Generations. That’s nerd gold.

12. GEORGE MICHAEL BLUTH – Michael Cera – Arrested Development

Okay, so Arrested Development wasn’t actually a movie – so what. I’m taking a little creative license. (BTW, a feature film IS in development.) The performance of admitted lifelong nerd Michael Cera as the banana stand working, weird family dealing, romantically cousin-obsessed George Michael Bluth, was simply too pitch perfect to leave off. Cera has made a career of this role, and this is him at his absolute best.

What makes him a real-life nerd? He’s out and proud. No proof needed.

13. CHARLYNE YI – Charlyne Yi – Paper Heart

In the 2009 “hybrid-documentary” titled Paper Heart, the undeniable nerdiness (and cuteness) of its leading lady and resident interviewer Charlyne Yi shines so bright that you’ll undoubtedly have to shade your eyes from the glow. In part, the film focuses on the real life nerdy love affair of her and #12 on our list, Michael Cera – which is why we made them 12 and 13. They just look so cute together.

What makes her a real-life nerd? Watch Hawaii by The Glass Beef and you’ll understand.

14. JUNO MacGUFF – Ellen Page – Juno

Though the wisecracking, foul-mouthed Juno MacGuff was certainly what most might consider “hip-nerdy,” she was still a definite outsider, and still pretty nerdy. After she found herself pregnant at the tender age of sixteen, she toyed with the idea of an abortion before ultimately deciding to give the child away to a couple more capable of offering it a future. Such an act takes some balls (metaphorically speaking of course) and some amount of smarts. How smart is Ms. Page in real life you ask? (read below)

What makes her a real-life nerd? In 2008, Page spent a month living in an eco-village, studying permaculture. Don’t know what it is? That’s my point.

15. DUDLEY “BOOGER” DAWSON – Curtis Armstrong – Revenge of the Nerds

There are all different kinds of nerds, and all sorts of categories in which to place them. Dudley “Booger” Dawson was definitely a “different” sort of nerd. Though never the main attraction, as the extremely disgusting anti-hero from the Revenge of the Nerds movies, it was Booger that always had the last laugh. If the constant nose picking doesn’t mean he deserves a spot on our list, surely his participation in the world’s greatest belch-off solidified him as a permanent fixture.

What makes him a real-life nerd? Every day of his life he’s recognized as “Booger,” and he doesn’t mind. That’s one nerd secure in his nerd-dom.

MacAwesome, Episode 2: First Day, First Love

MacAwesome, Episode 3: Josh’s Pterrific Plan

MacAwesome, Bonus “Music” Video: TVs and Hammers

Watch more episodes of MacAwesome.

Read More: A Timeline of Film’s Favorite High School Nerds

Steven Novak is a writer, illustrator, graphic designer and admitted lifelong nerd with an embarrassingly large DVD collection. He is currently working and living in the Southern California desert. His most recent fantasy/action adventure novel, “Forts: Fathers and Sons,” is available everywhere books are sold.

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Must Reads 9/1/2014