Several months ago, I compiled a list of the Top 10 College Comedies. Seeing as the initial brainstorm had a bunch of high school flicks in it, it was only natural to compile this list.
Criteria: High schoolers; doesn’t necessarily have to take place on campus.
Before moving onto bigger pastures, director Alexander Payne smartly captured the dirt of politics — more specifically the dark side in the campaign for the high school student-council presidency. Reese Witherspoon plays the annoyingly exuberant candidate willing to step on anyone to get what she wants. Matthew Broderick is her unlikable social studies teacher who wants nothing more than to see her fail. A great dark comedy that if you’re not careful may open your eyes to the sad state of American politics.
Movie: Dazed and Confused
This is a classic movie involving the last day of school and the following night in which incoming freshmen are hazed by the outgoing seniors. However it isn’t just about watching kids get their asses kicked, there is a lot of common ground and fun to be had with all the pot smoking, drinking, inane banter and girls to try and screw. Matthew McConaughey shines as the 20-something alum who refuses to grow up.
Movie: Napolean Dynamite
The sheer strangeness of the lead character alone makes this movie funny. Jon Heder takes on the title role and manages to make a complete dork likable. How does he do it? By wearing his moon-boots and appearing completely and genuinely confused in all his interactions with society. This is one of those movies that requires several viewings to be able to appreciate all the minute details.
Movie: Mean Girls
Lindsay Lohan, where have you gone? In her best movie to date she plays Cady, the new girl at school who gets swept up into the A-list girl clique comprised of Regina (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried). As she tries to bring down Regina, everything comes crashing down on her and the school when their secret “Burn Book”, becomes public knowledge. Tina Fey uses her comedic writing talents to expertly make fun of girl pettiness.
Who knew it was possible to fall for a dim-witted, shopping obsessed brat? Apparently Amy Heckerling did when she wrote and directed this comedy that looked closely at the gaudiness of high school in Beverly Hills. Alicia Silverstone looks the part and delivers some of the best Valley Girlish, W.A.S.P.-y lines ever written. Casting Stacey Dash, as her BFF Dionne, doesn’t hurt either.
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I think we all knew one or two kids in school that were like Ferris — so smart that they were able to buck the system, so suave, that they were able to get out of trouble when they ultimately got caught. The stuff Ferris (Matthew Broderick) gets away with is legendary and is only eclipsed by the amount of effort that his principal (Jeffrey Jones) expends to catch him.
Movie: American Pie
How can a movie, in which one of the stars screws an apple pie, not be included in a top-10 list? As to why Jim (Jason Biggs) does it, it’s because he’s told it feels like a vagina and he wanted some practice since he and his friends made a pact to lose their virginity by prom night. Needless to say they’re pathetic but it’s great fun to watch as their quest unfolds. I can’t count how many classic moments there in this …
Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan teamed up once again to create one of the foulest-mouthed high school comedies ever. Faced with losing touch after graduation Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) make a desperate attempt to get laid with the girls of their fantasies by supplying booze to the final high school party. Of course things go haywire, starting off when their cohort Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) gets a fake drivers license with the name McLovin printed on it. I laughed my ass off for 15 minutes on that scene alone. Read the review.
Ah, what a movie. Raising the stakes on raunchy teenage comedies in the 80’s, Porky’s stayed its focus on the main topic on boys’ minds — sex and how to get more of it. It follows the antics of a group of friends as the spy on girls (one of the best shower scenes in a movie) and do basically anything within their power to get laid. I probably should not have watched this at the young age that I did since it has caused me to view women as sex objects (probably the reason I’m still single).
Movie: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
This movie won for top stoner film and it wins here. Cameron Crowe crafts the perfect set of characters supposedly based on kids he met while doing undercover work at a high school. It’s filled to the brim with pervasive drug use, unprotected sex and mindless adolescent humor. To this day I can’t look at Sean Penn without thinking about his role as Jeff Spicoli, the stoned out surfer dude who blows his money on having Van Halen play his birthday party. A must see.
Yeah I know Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club aren’t included. I don’t exactly classify them as a comedy… Aside from them, what others did I uncerimonously leave out?