Since 2001, three American filmmakers, Richard Kelly, Jared Hess, and Mike Mills, aided in transforming the breadth of the teen film genre. The directorial debut of all three filmmakers focused on a teenage social outcast protagonist that shed new light on the nerd in cinema. This study presents an argument for the establishment of a new subgenre of the teen film genre: the social outcast subgenre. Based on a psychoanalytical genre study of Donnie Darko, Napoleon Dynamite , and Thumbsucker, the following genre conventions were established for the subgenre: meticulous attention to the socially displaced protagonists, abandonment as the cause for teen alienation, a nostalgia driven identification process rooted in the filmmaker's autobiographical memory, and a tendency toward quirky narrative drift. In conclusion, the three films and other similar releases in the 2000s reflect different development stages for the life of the subgenre and the teen film genre as a whole.