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Top 10 Movies about High School

By: Meilan Solly

           Everyone knows high school can be a trying time. You worry about hard classes, fake friends, and the ever-impending future. One way to navigate successfully through high school is to take advice from people who have already experienced it. Another is to watch movies about high schoolers and realize that most of the time, your peers are facing a lot of the same problems as you.
10. Mean Girls (2004): Mean Girls features Lindsay Lohan as the new girl, Cady Heron, at a school ruled by Plastics leader Regina George (Rachel McAdams). The two clash when Cady falls for Regina’s ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), and the girl fight that ensues provides lots of light-hearted entertainment. While Mean Girls doesn’t provide any deep musings on life, it does showcase the drama (albeit exaggerated) found in high school.
9. Splendor in the Grass (1961): In a post-World War II small Kansas town, shy, demure Wilma (Natalie Wood) falls in love with dashing football player Bud (Warren Beatty). Their relationship is not destined for happiness, however, as both face pressure from their overbearing parents and society’s standards. Besides touching on the ever-familiar topic of pressure, Splendor in the Grass discusses one of the more taboo issues in teens’ lives: sex and whether it’s acceptable before marriage. Due to this movie’s explicit content (for the time), it provides a stark contrast between the reserved society of the ‘50s and the modern world.
8.  Freedom Writers (2007): When new teacher Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) starts working at a recently integrated high school, she faces many challenges: feuding students who hate each other and her, plus controlling, uncompromising administrators. Erin overcomes these obstacles, however, by assigning daily journal assignments and actually learning about her students’ harsh lives. Freedom Writers is a touching tale of understanding and the power of strong teachers, and what makes it even more powerful is the fact that it is based on a true story.
7. Clueless (1995): Alicia Silverstone stars as Cher, a spoiled Valley girl whose main concerns are shopping, boys, and popularity. Cher serves as Emma in this modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic, setting up various friends including new girl Tai (Brittany Murphy). Although Cher can help other people find love, she can’t find it for herself. In the end, however, she finds both love and a stronger sense of purpose. You’ll start the movie because it’s a cult classic, and you’ll finish it because you find yourself falling in love with Paul Rudd as Josh, Cher’s ex-stepbrother.
6. The Outsiders (1983): In this adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s classic, C. Thomas Howell stars as Ponyboy, an idealistic teenager caught in a battle between the rich Socs and the “white trash” Greasers. After Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio), Ponyboy’s best friend, accidentally kills a Soc, the two are forced to go into hiding. While in hiding, the two have several deep conversations about life and why everyone feels the need to fight. In the dramatic climax of the movie, Johnny and Ponyboy rescue several children from a burning building, and the repercussions are both incredible and devastating. The Outsiders teaches a classic lesson of peace and the stereotypes created by society, but it also features great actors like Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, and Rob Lowe in their breakout roles on the path to becoming ‘80s pop sensations.
5. Grease (1978): This ‘70s classic features a young John Travolta opposite Olivia Newton-John as the quintessential bad boy who falls for the goody two-shoes. The two’s friends also make Grease special, especially hardened but under-it-all frightened Rizzo (Stockard Channing) and Kenickie (Jeff Conaway), Rizzo’s boyfriend and Danny’s best friend. Grease also offers great musical numbers like “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightning,” and “You’re the One That I Want.” If you yearn for the days of rock and roll and diner dates, it’s the movie for you.
4. The Breakfast Club (1985): Take five stereotypical teenagers (The Criminal, the Princess, the Brain, the Athlete, and the Basket Case) and make them serve detention together, and what do you get? One of the best ‘80s classics out there: The Breakfast Club. When John Hughes directs Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, and Ally Sheedy, the end result is a touching tale of overcoming stereotypes and liking people for who they really are. Add in Simple Minds’ hit, the movie’s closing song “Don’t You Forget About Me,” and The Breakfast Club is pretty much perfect.
3. Remember the Titans (2000): Inspirational movies are always fun to watch, and Remember the Titans is one of the best around. It features one of the first high school football teams made up of both black and white players and discusses racism in the 1970s. With noteworthy performances from Denzel Washington and Will Patton as the team’s coaches, plus memorable characters like rivals-turned-friends Julius and Gerry, Remember the Titans is a must-see even for people who don’t normally like sports films.
2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986): A list of classic teen movies just isn’t complete without Ferris. Matthew Broderick stars as Ferris, a typical teenager who decides that one day he is going to skip school with his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Peterson). Hilarity ensues as high school principal Mr. Jones (Ed Rooney) and Ferris’ sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) try to catch Ferris and stop his shenanigans. Ferris is one of the ‘80’s most well-known movies, partly because it’s directed by teen movie legend John Hughes, and partly because it features the famous line “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…”
1. Dead Poets Society (1989): When John Keating (Robin Williams), a teacher with a passion for poetry, comes to teach at a New England boys’ boarding school, students’ lives are forever changed. Typical teenagers who were previously uninterested and uninspired by literature and school in general become invigorated by their newfound love of poetry. Besides giving viewers a sudden desire to read poetry, Dead Poets Society leaves viewers with an inspiring message of courage and standing up against The Man, whether he is a domineering parent or society.

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