Feature: Top 10 High School Comedies

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.


Movie: Election

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.

Dazed and Confused

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.

Napolean Dynamite

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.

Mean Girls

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.


Movie: Clueless

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.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

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.

American Pie

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 …


Movie: Superbad

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.


Movie: Porky’s

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).

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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.

Honorable Mentions: Rushmore; Not Another Teen Movie.

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?

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'Feature: Top 10 High School Comedies' have 11 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 14, 2008 @ 7:15 pm lesten

    c’mon man, you missed Teen Wolf!

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 19, 2008 @ 11:50 am Stan-Lee

    Clueless? C’mon! Surely you could have some up with a better one than clueless!

    What about the breakfast club?

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 19, 2008 @ 11:54 am greg

    Overall good list. A few that should have been considered:

    10 Things I Hate About You
    Weird Science
    Three O’Clock High

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 22, 2008 @ 9:24 am CeeJay

    Any list professing to rank the top high school comedies HAS to include the following Molly Ringwald flicks:

    Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club.

    No ands, ifs or buts about it.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 11, 2010 @ 10:28 am za

    Rushmore gets only an honorable mention?

    Krikey. That’s sad. Seriously.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 30, 2010 @ 9:21 pm tonto

    How about:
    Varsity Blues
    Valley Girl
    Risky Business

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 31, 2010 @ 11:33 am sasori

    @ tonto –

    Which one of the movies you listed is a comedy? Seems you forgot about that criteria …

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 9, 2010 @ 3:50 pm tonto

    Valley Girl and Varsity Blues are 100% comedies. I would argue Risky Business is also a comedy. Grease is more of a Musical, but with comedy underpinnings.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 4, 2010 @ 1:18 am chas

    Thanks for sharing this great list of movies. I think my favorite movie from your list is American Pie. I’m looking forward to reading a lot more of your site in the future.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 7, 2011 @ 3:33 pm cras

    love the list. but American Pie has to be no.1

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 15, 2012 @ 6:09 pm Jeffrey Powter

    add 21 Jump Street in here.

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