Home Of Pure Retro Movie Love.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh no, I gotta go...Back To School....Again! My Top 10 High School Flicks

September still to this day only recalls one thing for me. Going back to School. I dreaded those days after Labor Day Weekend where I had to get up early and get my ass oriented. Whether it be Elementary, Junior, High or University going back for me wasn't as I was going back to "The best time of my life"... Even still, I somehow remain a big fan of the Teen Film genre. Growing up in the 1980s, how could I not? It's as if every week a new Youth Film was released. They were absolutely of varying quality, but it was a comfort to know the experience was being broadcast everywhere.

Summer is over now, and this makes me sad. But wait, the dog is wearing sunglasses. This is zany! I'm happy now.

Somehow over the years, the Teen film changed shape. Nostalgia played a big role, and the filmmakers seemed to be making films that fit the High School experience into only 2 categories: The one where High School was "The Time Of Your Life" and the other where it was absolutely hell. I think for the large part most of us were probably somewhere in the middle. Not the best time ever, but surely not as exaggeratedly bad as a lot movies made it out to be. It seemed as if the filmmakers were exorcising their High School demons by amping up the ideas of villainous jocks, bitchy girls and the Nerds who were forever tortured (and always seemed to go on to fame & fortune)


The recent passing of John Hughes reminded me of how strong his point of view was in those few High School films he made. He was a very compassionate filmmaker who had a genuine love for these kids. He wanted to express their realities in fun ways, which helped his teen audience to connect and walk away from the movie feeling as if someone actually got them. His films were a rare breed. The best of the High School genre for me represents films that play into the cliches, but also have a fun sense of humor about themselves. And I can't forget the ones that were bold enough to break some of the conventions with their unique points of view.  

Here are my 10 Favorite High School related Films. Back to School and in no particular order:
   
AN AMY HECKERLING DOUBLE FEATURE:
   
A JOHN HUGHES DOUBLE FEATURE:

Okay, I cheated a bit and there's 12. But like cher in Clueless would say: Whatev! Looking back at these favorites, there's a definite running theme. 3 of them end with the school being destroyed! Coincidence? Probably not. These films represent parts of the experience I connected greatly to. So if that makes me a Cross-dressing, Telekinetic power waving, Ramones obsessed, Trouble bound, Pizza eating in class, Suicide starting, Best friend loving, Birthday forgotten, Rock Hudson protege, Chocolate sale denying, Duck quacking, Clueless kind of guy...So be it.  

Here are some other recommended High School-centric flicks:

ANOTHER COUNTRY (1984)
BABY IT'S YOU (1983)
BETTER OFF DEAD (1985)
THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985)
CAN'T BUY ME LOVE (1987)
CLASS OF 1984 (1982)
COOLEY HIGH (1975)
DAZED AND CONFUSED (1993)
ELECTION (1999)
FAME (1980)
GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN (1985)
GREASE (1978)
GREASE 2 (1982)
GREGORY'S GIRL (1981)
IF... (1968)
THE KARATE KID (1984)
LUCAS (1986)
MISCHIEF (1985)
MY BODYGUARD (1980)
PERMANENT RECORD (1988)
PORKY'S (1982)
PRETTY IN PINK (1986)
PROM NIGHT (1980)
PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990)
RIVALS (1981)
RIVER'S EDGE (1986)
RUSHMORE (1998)
SECRET ADMIRER (1985)
SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN (1985)
SOMETHING SPECIAL (1986)
SUMMER SCHOOL (1986)
THREE O'CLOCK HIGH (1987)
TUFF TURF (1985)
UP THE ACADEMY (1980)
ZAPPED! (1982)

In short, whenever you are feeling those Back To School memories and are either filled with nostalgia or despair, think of only one thing...


That should do the trick. And if it does not, there's always some Grease 2 action to go around...

6 comments:

laura linger said...

*wiping tear* You remembered Tuesday Weld in your list.

Phoebe Cates: She moves in stereo. And an entire generation of young men got their first boners in the movie theater. Hell, I don't have a penis and I get one when I watch that scene.

Can't Buy Me Love is a real favorite, if only for the wonderful performance by Amanda Petersen. The casting directors were torn between her and Ami Dolenz for the lead role of Cindy Mancini. I think that they made the right choice.

Monica Perry said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Just one of the Guys!! Best teen flick ever. lol And I'll be adding all the others to my netflix queue. Thanks!

Rev. Phantom said...

A great list! Over the Edge is one of my all time favorites. Pretty Maids All in a Row is another great one. Still waiting for a DVD release of it though.

wiec? said...

that Over the Edge poster you got is awesome and way better than the cheesy photo of the main 3 kids just standing around. awesome list by the way.

i forgot about Better Off Dead. i used to watch that movie everyday after school in the 7th grade. with absolute dread about attending high school.

Geof said...

Great post!!!

I am glad you made a mention of Better Off Dead because that is a film that never gets old to me.

Funny thing is that to limit to 10 all-time for me would be so difficult. As I kept going down your list, I kept saying to myself for almost every other film, "I love that one." "Oh I love that one too." "How could I forget that one."

Some Kind of Wonderful is definitely a favorite of mine as well so I am glad to see you give it some love.

Cinema Du Meep said...

Geoff-
It was pretty hard to limit it to 10 (well 12, really) but I set my mind on High School centric movies only and that made it slightly easier.

Thanks everyone for the wonderful commments. I'm so happy to see that the teen genre is still very much alive in all of your hearts (unlike Allison's comment in The Breakfast club-- "When you grow up, your heart dies")

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