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Posted on January 12, 2012 - by writerman
The hardest thing about putting this top 10 list together was narrowing it down to less than eleven movies. Chalk it up to my protracted adolescence or perpetual immaturity, but I just frickin’ love movies about high school. That said, this is a Top 10 list. So there will be no “honorable mentions” and no ties for 10th place. Ten movies – no more and no less.
I am, as they say, a stickler for the rules. And so, in spite of my enthusiasm for so many movies that did not make the list, I will not mention the one that set the template, or any movies involving pies, football, selling your underpants, remarkably articulate pregnant girls, the Ramones, Charlie Sheen, buckets of pig’s blood, and definitely not that one with the time machine.1
10. Clueless (1995)
This movie gets a lot of props for being a Jane Austen remake and for giving us all the 411 on how the cool kids talk, but the reason it landed in my top 10 is because of Alicia Silverstone’s amazing performance as everyone’s favorite spoiled, selfish, rich, shallow, vapid, vain, self-centered, clueless and yet somehow still loveable high school girl.
9. Superbad (2007)
The most outrageously profane movie on this list, Superbad makes the top 10 for bringing simplicity, sweetness and an endless parade of dick jokes back to the high school comedy. And, for introducing “cockblock” into the common vernacular.
8. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Nearly 30 years later, Fast Times is largely remembered for the iconic scene where the white guy from Beverly Hills Cop fantasizes about a half-naked, underage Phoebe Cates and her red bikini. That moment has been imitated countless times since then, but the rest of the movie still holds up for it’s hilarious but unflinching look at real high school issues like drug use, abortion and ordering pizza to history class.
7. Heathers (1988)
The fashions are so 80’s, but the themes are timeless:
I mean, who hasn’t fantasized about murdering that evil bitch and the asshole jocks who terrorized their high school? Right?
6. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
The Internet tells me that this movie inspired the term “The Napoleon Dynamite Problem”, the phenomenon whereby “quirky” films such as Napoleon Dynamite, Lost in Translation, and I Heart Huckabees prove difficult for researchers to create algorithms that are able to predict whether or not a particular viewer will like the film based on their ratings of previously viewed films.
Also: your mom goes to college.
5. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Richard Linklater’s best movie, Matthew McConaughey’s finest performance, and the greatest use of Foghat in the history of cinema, Dazed is one of those rare movies that gets more and more fun the more times you watch it.
4. Election (1999)
Sure, she was pretty good in that movie about Johnny Cash, but for my money this is the performance that should have earned Reese Witherspoon her first Oscar. Pick Flick!
3. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Oh John Hughes, how could we possibly ever forget about you?
2. Rushmore (1998)
When I scribbled down a first crack at my top 10 high school movies, I left Rushmore off the list altogether. Which is odd, because it’s actually one of my favorite movies of all time. I guess that’s because it doesn’t really feel like a high school movie, even though the main character wishes he could spend the rest of his life in high school. Still, it gets the #2 spot here for giving Bill Murray a second act, but mainly because it’s the funniest movie about love, hate, jealousy, rivalry and revenge I’ve ever seen.
1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
This movie is the shit.
Seriously, anytime there’s a midnight screening of Ferris in town just give me a call and you’ll get to hear me say:
- Or the other one with the time machine. [↩]
- On a personal note, it was Ferris Bueller himself who inspired me to start cutting class back in the day. Of course, I got busted a lot more than Ferris and I sure as hell never got to drive a convertible Ferrari. [↩]
- Just last month, I picked up the menu at a pizza joint and ordered the “Abe Froman.” [↩]
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