With 21 Jump Street
hitting theatres this weekend I felt like taking a look back at some of my favourite High School themed films.
Now this is a massive genre of cinema and a lot of films which are amazing which didn't make it into my list for no reason other than these are very personal choices. Feel free to throw out the ones I missed we can talk about them in the comments and have some fun (in other words, let's not get nasty about omissions). So here we go:
10. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) (dir. Gil Junger)
...or what I like to call; when High School met Shakespeare
. I'm not a William Shakespeare
fan. As the complete opposite of a literary geek I quite loathed anything by the great writer. So when this movie came out and it got me to see that he really does make good stories, when you get a chance to sift through all the outdated English, then it stuck with me. I know that this movie barely rises a level above much other romantic comedies, but somehow it worked in a way that makes me remember it well and assure that I have to spend most of my next ninety minutes or so everytime I accidentally see it on TV.
9. Juno (2007) (dir. Jason Reitman)
...or what I like to call: when High School students were just a little too sarcastic for me not to love them
. This film is one that I guess hasn't aged well. It's the first of the films where I noticed the trend of it being cool to praise it while no one else had seen it, and then the moment it hit a yet to be defined level of popular then it became about exploding flaws way out of proportion and just hating it. Sadly though I never got to the stage of hate and I still do enjoy every unbelievably moment of this girl being way too smart for her age (or good).
8. Scream (1996) (dir. Wes Craven)
...or what I like to call: when High School decided to go psychotic
. I fell in love with this film instantly. It was the first movie that I got the idea of being self referential and how a movie can be a entry while winking at the traps of said genre and still be fantastic. And it has one of the best opening scenes of all time.
7. Back to the Future (1985) (dir. Robert Zemeckis)
...or what I like to call: teenagers are timeless.
It's so easy to get wrapped up in the time travel to forget that it's all about a teenage geek getting to hook up with the hottie across the way. The only catch is that McFly/Calvin Klein is really doing it to make sure his mom and dad get together and he doesn't create a time paradox.
6. To Sir, With Love (1967) (dir. James Clavell)
...or what I like to call: a teacher making a difference.
Sidney Poitier is the man who's held a camera so focused that it has scientifically proven to require lens changes every minute. I love this movie for so many reasons, but the highest of them all is that Poitier is so fantastic as that inspirational teacher that we love to applaud when we do get them in movies.
5. The Breakfast Club (1985) (dir. John Hughes)
...or what I like to call: detention can be fun too.
The appeal of this movie is that once you've put these very different people in a room together and strip away everything that superficially make them dis-similar then you start to see that they're all the very same. They all have the same thing driving them to an end goal that they can't say for sure is really theirs. The comedy gets you in the seat, but the drama keeps you there and that's what I believe about films like this.
4. Grease (1978) (dir. Randal Kleiser)
...or what I like to call: musicals with questionable teachings.
I love this because it is one of the best musicals of all time, but it's weird that it wasn't until about a year ago when I revisited the film that I noticed all of the odd thematic statements the film was making about youths. Regardless of whatever questionable message the movie may want to subliminally invade the minds of teenagers it doesn't stop the film from being brilliant.
3. Election (1999) (dir. Alexander Payne)
...or what I like to call: ambition may or may not get the better of us
. I think this is the oddest film of the lot because while it's easy to think of it as the story of Tracy Flick campaigning for an elected post in high school, it's just as much (or maybe more so) about a teacher doing all in his power to make sure she doesn't succeed because he thinks she's just too much of everything. It's a great weird piece which deserves a lot of thought where character motivations come into play in plot.
2. Brick (2006) (dir. Rian Johnson)
...or what I like to call: children who like to play detective.
It's a film where a supposed regular teen goes about solving a drug murder case all run within the confines of his high school. It's the indie film that I can't stop praising and will continue to find reasons to place it in lists. If you've yet to see it I highly recommend it.
1. Rushmore (1998) (dir. Wes Anderson)
...or what I like to call: teenagers who're talented and delusional all at the same time
. High school, for many, is a time of discovery. Children are growing into adults and finding out more and more about what they want to do with their lives. This is a film about a teen who's not quite sure what he wants to do, rather than write and invent as many niche clubs as possible just for the heck of it. Besides Fantastic Mr. Fox
and The Royal Tenenbaums
this is Anderson
's other true masterpiece of cinema.
What's your favourite high school movie?