Five great high school movies

Yesterday, I finished the last of my exams and so, if you’ll forgive my using an American term, my ‘high school’ years were over. To commemorate this, I figured I’d write about five high school movies, or movies set in high schools, of which I am particularly fond.

Rushmore (1998)

Wes Anderson’s Rushmore isn’t your normal high school movie. But then, Rushmore isn’t a normal high school. Telling the story of a strange infatuation with a teacher when a student is put on back academic probation, the film exudes the wit and visual charm that Anderson has become famous for. Schwartzman’s leading performance is excellent, capturing the awkward neurosis of his characters years, and the strange intellectual prowess that makes him stand out. Truly unique among high school movies, and a delightful viewing experience.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

A film I truly adore, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a hilarious and touching coming of age, telling the story of Ferris Bueller, who takes a day off, and does it all. Infinitely quotable, and filled with excellent scenes, including the iconic “Twist and Shout” on a parade float, this film is infinitely re-watchable. Broderick’s performance is nothing short of fantastic, bringing the lovable delinquent to life right before our eyes, and we can’t help but fall in love with him, his charisma, and his unmatched ability to seize the day. Rounded out with excellent supporting characters, from the neurotic Cameron, to the bumbling and brilliant Dean Edward Rooney, this film is a true classic.

Back to the Future (1985)

The time-travelling Delorean is an unmistakable image, part of a film that perhaps needs no introduction. This excellent time travel comedy, with two great performances from Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd is endlessly enjoyable from start to finish, with wonderful moments throughout. It’s simply impossible to forget Marty McFly taking to the stage and performing a rousing rendition of “Johnny B. Goode”, for a dancefloor full of kids who don’t even know the song exists yet. Almost impossible to fault, Back to the Future is probably one of my favourite science fiction films ever made.

American Pie (1999)

The original, and best, “slice of pie” is an enjoyable coming of age, that tells the story of a group of friends trying to lose their virginity before prom night. While a horde of bad direct-to-video sequels (Yes, Naked Mile, I’m looking at you) may have tarnished it’s reputation, it still remains an incredibly funny comic outing. The bumbling protagonists are a joy to watch, sharing excellent chemistry and great one liners. And of course, there’s always… That scene. The series may have black spots on its record, but if you haven’t scene this film yet, I highlight recommend it.

Easy A (2010)

I watched this film on plane a couple of years ago, and, to be honest, I really didn’t expect to like it. I hadn’t seen any modern high school movies that were any good, so I was naturally more than a little skeptical heading into this one. I’m glad I bit the bullet and decided to watch it, because once I did, I absolutely loved it. It doesn’t use all the crass jokes that fell flat in the bad American Pie sequels, it’s wonderfully aware of what it is, in one of my favourite scripts of the last few years, filled with references to the John Hughes films from the days of yore. Emma Stone’s performance is wonderful – believable, witty, intelligent, and when she’s on screen, you simply can’t take your eyes off of her. Helped out by a rather eccentric supporting cast, with a particular highlight being the ever reliable and incredibly talented Patricia Clarkson, Easy A utterly blindsided me with just how great it was, and perhaps restored my faith in the thought of modern high school movies.


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