By Amy Chesler, author of A Man and His Books
With prom and graduation season in full swing, it’s hard not to reminisce about the high school movies that changed our young adulthoods. Here are my fifteen favorite adolescent-focused films, Senior Superlative style!
P.S. – Join us on Twitter on September 4th, 2019 at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT to talk about your favorite school-related movies! Follow and tweet with hashtag #DVDMe.
16. BEST PERSONALITY – LUCAS
One of the most endearing things about the title character of this heart-warming and thought-provoking movie was his quirkiness and authenticity. He made it okay for all of us nerdy type to let our freak flags fly. Lucas, you truly are a gem!
15. MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED – JUST ONE OF THE GUYS
If this hilarious eighties flick teaches us anything, it’s that men and women can both accomplish greatness. All you need to succeed is tenacity… and a great disguise.
14. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER – JAWBREAKER
Nobody’s crew is as close as Liz’s. That is, until they kill her (albeit accidentally). Soon, her former friends have to take steps to cover their tracks, and inviting Fern Mayo to join their group is one of them. This little clique is totally BFF material if you ask me.
13. MOST LIKELY TO BE CAUGHT WITH CONTRABAND – DAZED AND CONFUSED
There have been few movies to capture the spirit of high school in the 1970’s as D & C. From the pool hall parties to the keggers in open fields to bashing in mailboxes with a baseball bat, you’ll want to relive the fun over and over (as long as the cops don’t catch you first).
12. MOST UNIQUE – SCREAM
Sure, the high school slasher has been done before, but Scream’s approach brought something new to the big screen. Not only did it address film theory and throw in a big Red Herring (Cotton Weary, what?), but it also introduced the idea of having two equally sadistic killers. Creepy.
10. MOST SPIRITED – NEVER BEEN KISSED
Imagine going back to high school as an adult. There’s so much you’d do differently now, right? Well, Drew Barrymore lived our biggest dreams (like becoming one of the “It” kids) to our biggest fears (like unknowingly eating a “special brownie” and ending up on stage). In the end, Barrymore’s “Josie Grossie” teaches us to appreciate it all.
9. BEST SMILE – HEATH LEDGER IN 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
It’s rare to find a non-cheesy rom-com, especially one that can give you a perma-grin as big as 10 Things, while being based on a Shakespearean favorite. I mean, what could please us more than being serenaded by Heath Ledger?
8. CLASS CLOWN – SUPERBAD
Capturing the awkward hilarity of high school is almost impossible, but Superbad does just that. Comedy juggernauts such as Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Bill Hader keep the laughs coming (and infinitely less painful than high school actually was).
7. BIGGEST GOSSIP – MEAN GIRLS
The Plastics introduced us to the Burn Book. Need I say more?
6. MOST POPULAR – FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF
Ferris Bueller spawned jealousy in every 80’s kid on the planet, a rivalry with his principal, and, heck, even a sympathetic hot air balloon from his classmates. To say he’s the most popular kid in this class is an understatement.
5. BEST DRESSED – CLUELESS
Nineties fashion is back with a vengeance, so the natural candidate for this category is Clueless. I mean, I’m pretty sure Cher is the only person in high school history to have a revolving closet full of coordinating outfits. Plus, she crushed on Paul Rudd before anyone else had – most definitely a trendsetter!
4. MOST LIKELY TO CHANGE THE WORLD – BACK TO THE FUTURE
Sure, Marty McFly started off by realigning his parents’ love story, and thus his own life. But how many high school movie characters can say they thwarted Libyan terrorists from getting their hands on Plutonium? Surely, nobody can call him chicken.
3. MOST TALENTED – THE BREAKFAST CLUB
It’s rare for a film to be as touching and all-inclusive as The Breakfast Club. With a winning cast that includes some of Hollywood’s favorites, it’s hard not to consider this one of the most talented pre-college ensembles of all time.
2. CLASS COUPLE – HEATHERS
So, they aren’t quite a modern day Romeo and Juliet, but Christian Slater and Winona Ryder truly do form the most wicked of pairs. This poignant parody shows us just how ruthless high school can be, thanks to the torrid love affair of J.D. and Veronica S.
1. BEST ALL-AROUND – CAN'T HARDLY WAIT
Every lesson to be learned from high school (like, carpe diem!), and every character we ever encountered on campus (like the awkward, virginal math tutor, or the stoners perpetually debating Scooby-Doo) is represented in this film. It’s got romance, humor, some depth, and a hell of a lot of cameos. Super fitting for Best All-Around as it truly does have something for everyone.
Here’s to high school, and all of the movies that allow us to relive it whenever (and however) we please!
Amy Chesler is an author, content creator, blogger, and family woman from Los Angeles, California. Her most recent publications include four different contributions in six different Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, as well as her first solo children’s book, A Man and His Books (available on Amazon and most other book-selling sites). Follow her on Twitter (@abcauthor), Facebook (www.facebook.com/abchesler), or Instagram (@abc_author) for updates, giveaways, and much more!