Reminiscing with 'American Reunion': Top 5 Movies About High School

5 years ago

Can you believe it's been over a decade since the slice of pie seen 'round the world? American Reunion is coming out this week and if you're like me, your own high school experiences begin to come to the forefront whenever the world “reunion” is involved.

For some high school was a blast, and for others it was tumultuous. And I’m sure for the characters from theAmerican Pie films, it was epic. But for me, when I think about high school, what I reminisce about are all the movies. You know the ones that idealized what high school should be like. The ones that poked fun at what high school could be like. The ones that glorified all the things wrong with high school. And the ones that taught me to have hope in true love finding me at 16. SNORT!

Image Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Alas, I’ve put together a list of 5 high school movies that still remain vividly tucked inside my brain. I have such huge memories associated with these films, even though my first viewings of most of them were via edited and water-downed versions made for TV. So in no particular order, here are my most memorable films about high school.

1. Can’t Buy Me Love: Though this film came out when I was only 7 years old, I have fond memories of watching it years later on television. It’s the epitome of good guy wins in the end, and snobby girl realizes all the wrongs she’s done. This is how the world works, right? As Ronald Miller gives Cindy Mancini a much needed id="mce_marker",000 in exchange to pretend to be his girlfriend, everyone begins to fall for Patrick Dempsey as a heartthrob, including me. Memorable, still, are those sweet moments between Ronald and Cindy star gazing atop a car in the junkyard and that moment at the end when the two of them ride off into the sunset on Miller’s riding mower.

2. Sixteen Candles: This is the first John Hughes film that I was exposed to. Of course, once again via television, as I was 4 when it was made. Not only is this a great high school love story, but it is filled with hilarity, which I could only appreciate the older I got and the more times I watched. How could you forget the scene when Sam’s grandparents intercept a call from her crush Jake Ryan, and the only conclusions they can come to is that all he wants is SEX!  Everything seemingly goes wrong for Sam, including having to hang out with exchange student Long Duc Dong, who brings on further humorous moments. Beyond the hijinks that ensue, my favorite moment is that last scene. That kiss. The birthday candle lighting. Swoon!

3. The Breakfast Club: This is my all-time favorite John Hughes film! It has the perfect premise of all the high school cliché’s coming together to spend a wondrous Saturday together in detention. And all the lessons learned through viewing this movie are all so relevant today, where students from all walks of life are forced to work together for the greater good of trying to outsmart Principal Vernon, learning more about each other along way as well as breaking down so many barriers. I even did a freshman college paper analyzing this film. Deep thoughts for sure.

4. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Another John Hughes’ film makes my list, and for all the right reasons. He really got what high school was about with this one, right? I mean it has brother sister rivalry, a genius Ferris Bueller who is not only loved by his whole school, well except for Mr. Rooney, but also has the best girlfriend who is so understanding of his close buddy relationship with Cameron. Matthew Broderick killed it with his performance. I mean I totally believed that all of his antics could totally happen. Anyone can find themselves in the middle of a parade lip syncing winning over the hearts of the crowd. And the fact that Bueller steps out of the action to talk to me, well he had me at, “Hello.” This film still remains significant as seen in the Super Bowl Honda Ad paying homage to Ferris Bueller, as Broderick plays himself playing Bueller. It’s always going to be a classic.

5. Clueless: Finally to a film that actually did come out when I was in high school. Could I relate to the parody of high school life in LA? Nope. But for some reason, I was still drawn to it. Clueless was so out there, that I had to check it out. Perhaps it was the new language they created, which became the center of a junior year AP English Language Lesson constructed by my teacher. I mean what would life had been like for me if I never knew what “surfin’ the crimson wave” was or that “jeepin’” didn’t refer to taking your jeep out for a ride on the sand dunes. As if! But of course, like any good high school movie, Clueless ends with everyone living happily ever after, and learning more about life.

This was a hard list to create because there are so many other great high school movies. I mean there was living out my performing arts fantasies with Fame, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and THAT scene, the amazing love story of Say Anything and the boom box, and a new generation’s version of Clueless, Mean Girls, which is a guilty pleasure. It’s so fetch!  

When you think about high school movies, what do you remember most? I could keep going!


Tracy manages and writes for Liberating Working Moms and tweets as @wa_tracy.

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