There are many teen shows out there that have made stars, and one who always stands out to me is Penn Badgley, an actor who primarily became famous from his big-time role in Gossip Girl, but has continued to make an impression with roles in shows such as You on Netflix, and fun comedy movies like Easy A.
From his starring roles in thriller series to his performances as a leading man in films, these are some awesome Penn Badgley movies and TV shows that you should watch right now, or rent as soon as you can.
Gossip Girl (HBO Max)
When it comes to some of his best work, Gossip Girl is certainly a show where Penn Badgley has shined. This popular CW show tells the story of Upper East Side teenagers in New York City who are all involved in their own scandals - which are reported on by the legendary Gossip Girl.
The Gossip Girl cast is filled to the brim with talent that has gone far in Hollywood, including the star, Blake Lively, but Penn Badgley, who played Dan Humphrey in the legendary teen series, made his mark on the show. His performance as the middle-class writer who somehow infiltrates the lives of Upper East Siders made him a likable character, and one that fans easily loved.
John Tucker Must Die (Amazon Rental)
In this fun teen movie, John Tucker Must Die follows three girls who find out that John Tucker is simultaneously dating them all at once, so in order to humiliate him, they come together to find the best way to end his nefarious ways.
John Tucker Must Die isn’t the best teen movie out there (my personal favorite is She’s The Man), but there’s no denying that it's a fun time, with a lot of hilarious moments and an entertaining cast, including Penn Badgley, who played Scott Tucker, the brother of John Tucker and someone who is the complete opposite of him, with his sweet personality and his great chemistry with Kate (played by Brittany Snow).
If you’re looking for a dark comedy/slasher film, Drive-Thru is a fun one to watch. This movie, set in Orange County, California, involves something that everyone can agree is scary - clowns, specifically focusing on an evil one that ends up being a serial killer who's running around murdering everyone.
Fun fact, both Leighton Meester, who was also in Gossip Girl, and Penn Badgley starred in this film, so it’s always fun to see them in something that’s not the popular teen series, but there are many reasons I like Badgley in this role in particular. The film itself is campy as hell (it was a direct-to-video release and a little silly), but Badgley is honestly a great star in this as Van, who was very easy-going compared to a lot of the other characters - plus, his hair in this is stellar.
Easy A (Hulu)
Definitely one of my favorite teen comedies from the last couple of decades. In Easy A, a hilarious teen comedy, a young woman decides to go through with a scheme at her school in order to help people get popular by pretending to have sex with them - but soon, this starts to turn on her when rumors begin to spread.
First off, Emma Stone is always a win and is fantastic in this comedic film, but you have to love Penn Badgley as her friend, “Woodchuck” Todd. Their scenes together are so wholesome and funny and I have to say that I love that their friendship is one of the main drivers of the film, because these two had such great chemistry together. I also loved all the scenes of Penn Badgley in that mascot costume, because oh my God, they were so funny. Who knew he had such comedic timing?
Margin Call (Netflix)
Next up, we have Margin Call. This drama stars several actors like Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, and more, and tells a story of an investment bank on Wall Street, and one of the most terrifying times in the banking industry - the early days of the financial crisis before the 2008 recession in the United States, and how these employees reacted to the decline.
I sort of look at this as one of Penn Badgley’s more serious roles, as he starred as Will Emerson, the head of credit tracing at the bank, and he’s phenomenal, really stealing the show in every scene he’s in. The story in this is also incredible, too - which is why it got a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. It’s definitely a fantastic drama and one you should for sure watch if you like Badgley in more dramatic roles.
Greetings From Tim Buckley (Amazon Rental)
If you’re looking for a role where Penn Badgley is most certainly the star, be sure to check out Greetings from Tim Buckley. This movie tells the story of Jeff Buckley, the son of famous singer, Tim Buckley, and how he came to terms with his father’s death and held a performance in honor of his dad’s legendary career, performing his songs.
Penn Badgley is just great as Jeff Buckley, and it makes me wonder why this film didn’t get as much attention as it should have. His performance is perfect, and let’s not even get started on the scenes where he plays guitar - I swear, I never knew he could sing! The whole film is a great way to honor the Buckleys, and Badgley certainly does the songs justice.
Parts Per Billion (Peacock)
Next up, we have Parts per Billion. This romantic drama takes a look at the lives of three separate couples that all have one thing in common - an attack on their lives is coming, and now they must find ways to survive when the world is falling apart.
This film is certainly out there, as it takes a look at an “end of the world” scenario and tries to make it a lot less crazy than many other disaster films out there, but I can enjoy it due to the acting from Penn Badgley. His specific storyline as Erik with Anna (played by Teresa Palmer) was enthralling and I was thoroughly invested, and their story had a fitting end considering what happened in the film. This is one of those movies where I don’t want to reveal too much, but you should definitely check it out.
Here Today (Starz)
If you’re looking for a wholesome comedy to watch, check out Here Today. This great film, starring the amazing Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish, tells the story of two people from two different generations who end up meeting and forming a friendship unlike any other, despite their respective ages.
This film, genuinely, made me cry, and I mean that in the best way. The two main stars are fantastic but the rest of the cast is just as good, as Penn Badgley as Rex, the son of Charlie Burnz (Billy Crystal) was outstanding. Again, this film shows his awesome acting talents from the moment he steps on the screen, and his chemistry with Billy Crystal is second to none and shows just how much he has evolved and changed as an actor. I could re-watch this film over and over and still cry at some of these scenes. You just have to love it.
The Paper Store (Tubi)
Moving on, we have The Paper Store. This drama film follows a former college student who has made a living out of forging college essays, which in turn leads her to Sigurd Rossdale, a grad student who is in need of her services, but working for him ends up changing her life for the worse when a professor discovers what she is doing.
The Paper Store is a smaller film compared to many of the other movies and TV shows on this list, but it’s still just as good, if not better, because the cast is small and you can really focus on the individual talents of each actor. Penn Badgley as Sigurd Rossdale was fantastic and his chemistry with Stef Dawson as Annalee Monegan really drove the story. You knew what they were doing wasn’t right, but you couldn't help but want to root for them, and to me, I feel that made the movie all the more better. It’s an awesome film.
It’s why you’re here, isn’t it? You on Netflix is a popular series that stars Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, a seemingly normal, everyday man who has a secret - he falls in love too easily, and will do anything to keep that girl in his life - even kill for her. But, over the course of three seasons, he starts to run into more and more problems as his love interests change.
While I do think Penn Badgley is great in many other roles, there’s nothing quite like him in You. He plays Joe almost a little too well, and it makes me wonder why I - as well as so many other viewers - tend to like him so much, and it’s because of Badgley’s amazing delivery and performance. The show just gets crazier and crazier as time goes on, and there are some truly shocking moments where, if you like a thrilling series, you’ll love this show. Seriously, check it out if you haven’t. But, I’m sure you have, haven’t you?
With You Season 4 already planned, it won’t be long before we see Penn Badgley grace our television screens again, but until then, you just might find a new TV show or movie to watch. Or, maybe just re-watch You like I would. I just can’t get enough of the craziness.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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