High school. It was great memories for some people and a true horror story for others. When it comes to movies, there are a little of both with some movies praising the good times and others remembering the angst.
The staff of Renegade Cinema varies in age, with some writers just a few years out of high school to others who have been out for over three decades. With that in mind, we all sat down and talked about our favorite high school movies. Check out our choices, and then head down to the comments to let us know your favorites as well.
Caliber Winfield: Hell yeah. In one of the greatest examples of “From the synopsis alone, this film should absolutely suck, yet doesn’t” ever, Teen Wolf does the impossible and not only kicks ass, but still maintains a loyal fanbase. It’s the story of a high-school nobody named Scott. He has a loving father, a best friend with wacky t-shirts, and a girl who loves him named Boof. On top of that, his family has a curse upon it that turns the males into werewolves.
We get a great build up to Scott finally becoming the wolf, which takes place in the middle of a basketball game, no less. The great thing is that it doesn’t become national news, men in black don’t appear, everyone just ends up loving him because being a wolf makes you a great dancer, as well as a basketball player. He gets the hot chick, becomes MVP, and gets the entire school participating in a choreographed dance that not even the likes of Ronald Miller could compete with. It’s a damn fun movie.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the God-awful sequel….cripes all Friday.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Sandi Davis: Fast Times at Ridgemont High has everything: actors who go on to win Oscars, a killer rock music soundtrack, scenes that are still funny and true today and a plot that makes perfect sense to anyone who went to high school. Written by Cameron Crowe and directed by Amy Heckerling, the 1982 movie focuses on the trials of Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh). She keeps getting bad advice by the still drop-dead gorgeous Phoebe Cates, playing BFF Linda Barrett. Stacy’s adventures cause havoc for her brother Brad (Judge Reinhold). Sean Penn plays the ever stoned Jeff Spicoli. His run-ins with history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walton) still ring true today. I just wish I had the nerve to order pizza delivered to a class. Finally, Phoebe stars in a water-soaked swimsuit stripping clip that I’m sure boys still use today in fantasies. Be sure to watch for Nicholas Cage, Forest Whitaker, James Russo, Anthony Edwards, Eric Stolz and believe it or not, Pamela Springsteen, who has a famous brother.
Bethany Lewis: What I love most about Brick is the dissonance between its setting and characters, and its language and plot. While the story is deadly serious and the character relationships real and deep, there’s something about the sharp contrast between those elements that make the movie darkly funny as well. Its as if Rian Johnson transplanted a hard boiled film noir into the high school culture and recast Humphrey Bogart as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and not only does it work exceptionally well, that bizarre incongruity is delightfully humorous.
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Derek Johns: Hollywood has never really been able to nail down what high school is like in real life but if there’s any movie that comes close to it for me personally it’s Perks of Being a Wallflower. Charlie is an easy kid to relate to as are the problems he and his friends face. Despite the book being a product of the 90s, author/director/writer Stephen Chbosky makes the movie itself feel timeless.
Dazed & Confused
Shawn S. Lealos: For me, this came down to Dazed & Confused and The Breakfast Club. While I love The Breakfast Club, it had to be Dazed & Confused for me, Richard Linklater’s second movie and the film that sits with Fast Rimes at Ridgemont High as movies that defines an entire generation. The movie takes place on the last day of high school, sees the hazing process in full effect, and ends with the party to end all parties. Sandi mentioned the music of Fast Times, and it was in full effect here as well with Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper and more. It also shares the same casting coup, with some great actors at the start of their careers, highlighted by Matthew McConoughey.