Well, it finally happened. By the time this article is published I will have likely graduated High School. Gotta say, it’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait to have all the hallmarks of a senior year at the end of this long ro- Coronavirus? Oh, that’s not going to happen anymore, is it? Covid-19 cut a lot of senior years short, along with mine, so to counteract this, in between the best picture winners and Bond films I’ve been watching, I’ve also been watching and rewatching a few classic high school films.
They range from the decent like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the meh Pretty in Pink, or the totally overrated and terrible Superbad. So because of this, I decided to give my top five movies about high school. I did debate about what films would be on this list. I ultimately decided that just because a movie’s starring roles are mainly high schoolers does not qualify, so movies like Lady Bird, Risky Business, and Rushmore don’t make the list.
All these movies on the list are essentially about the high school experience. I also want to say a few honorable mentions like Ferris Bueller, Tragedy Girls, and The Breakfast Club. So, after throwing out two movies everyone loves and one that I’m the only person who has ever seen it, let’s get to my top five high school movies.
#5 The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those movies where I think “Wow, if I ever met these characters in real life, I’d hate them.” Luckily, they’re contained to the screen, where they remain sort of likeable. By far the least comedic film on the list, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a film which tackles pretty heavy subjects like suicide, depression, and just being the worst human being imaginable.
There are many moments in the movie where you just think “You idiots!” The acting and screenplay manages to boost it over that hump of uncomfort. With an all star cast including Paul Rudd, Joan Cusack, Emma Watson, and many others all bringing their A-game, Perks of Being a Wallflower is a super heartfelt look at those kids that you hated in high school.
I decided I only had room for one high school film about murder on this list, and while I love Tragedy Girls, Heathers is both the original and funnier. Filled with some of the greatest lines in cinematic history such as “[Censored] me gently with a chainsaw, do I look like Mother Teresa to you?” and “Our love is God, let’s go get a slushie.”, it manages to be an incredible dark comedy with great performances.
Christian Slater is diabolical, Winona Ryder is confused, and all the other characters manage to perfectly embody high school and it’s stereotypes. Now, this part I say directly to whoever owns the rights to Heathers. We’re getting a Mean Girls musical, so now is the perfect time to make the Heathers musical! And if you need someone to play JD, my headshot is actually on the Movie Metropolis instagram, in our new “Meet the Team” posts.
“Hey Daulton, you left your plug with the word ‘shameless’ written across it in the living room!”
“Just throw it in my article on the best high school movies!”
#3 Ten Things I Hate About You
I mean, do I really need to say that much for Ten Things I Hate About You? I mean, I can probably just add the link to the “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” scene? This film is packed with so much charm and heart that scenes such as Heath Ledger’s big musical moment, as well some really good performances that there is nothing else I can comment on. It’s based off of a Shakespearean play which has not exactly aged well, but manages to update it well enough to not be extremely sexist.
Also, with it’s all star cast of Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and the guy from “Numb3rs”, you always have a chance to say “Hey, it’s that guy!” Overall, Ten Things I Hate About You is a charming, heartfelt film that I can’t really find a thing to hate.
I have talked plenty about my love for Booksmart. It was my second favorite movie of last year, one of my favorite comedies ever, and also my second favorite high school movie. Booksmart is probably the funniest movie on this list, with the doll scene being one of the funniest scenes of the 2010s. Another film with some really likable performances, it manages to make it’s characters feel real in a plot that is fairly outlandish.
Also, having now seen the film many people say inspired it, Superbad, I feel I can do a brief Celloid Clash between the two. 5-0, Booksmart, because it actually has jokes instead of just being about three terrible humans trying to buy alcohol. Now that’s been clarified, go watch the way better movie, Booksmart.
#1 The Edge of Seventeen
So, in the previous four films, we got acting, characters, charm, and comedy. Now, what would happen if you tied all of those up into one film? You’d get The Edge of Seventeen. A heartfelt dramedy with some of the best performances in recent memory. We have Woody Harrelson, who was my pick for the best performance from a supporting actor of the 2010s, as he gives one of the funniest performances in recent memory, as his banter is hilarious.
There’s also Kyra Sedgwick and Hailee Steinfeld giving it their all. Plus, the characters are real, fleshed out people. They have arcs and relationships, which just makes the emotions all the greater. I’ve only given three films in my life a ten out of ten. Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Nice Guys, and this. It truly deserves it.
Well, that wraps up my top five high school films. Join me in four years for my list of best college films, which will be me just saying how great Good Will Hunting is for over one thousand words. And now, I think that there is only one thing left to say. Superbad is a terrible movie with an accurate title.