high school movies?
September 30, 2005 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Movies set in schools?

For our last project in senior English, my class is producing a collage play based on their experiences in high school. I'm trying to get them to think of major events they can use, or issues (like dating, or bullying) they can build their play segment around. To do this, I would like to show movies (or excerpts) that revolve around high school to trigger their brains, as they seem a little stumped. However, I am stumped. So far, I can think of Ferris Bueller, Heathers, Pump up the Volume. They're a lower-level class, all male, with high behaviour problems (yes, even in their last term of school), so movies need to be high on the "entertainment" end. I can see Ferris working, but Heathers and Pump not as much because they seem a little less universally appealing as Ferris is. Any specific references to scenes would be much appreciated!

I will come back and say which ones worked well, and which bombed.
posted by chronic sublime to Media & Arts (46 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
sounds like you need to look up John Hughes.
posted by CrazyJoel at 5:14 PM on September 30, 2005

Dangerous Minds.
posted by arcticwoman at 5:16 PM on September 30, 2005

If you like really old school(*cough*), look for Rebel without a Cause or Up the Down Staircase.

Wonder if stuff has really changed in 50 years.
posted by CrazyJoel at 5:19 PM on September 30, 2005

Elephant by Gus van Sant

...nah, just kidding.
posted by fatbobsmith at 5:19 PM on September 30, 2005

10 Things I Hate About You. Bring It On.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:20 PM on September 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

I second the John Hughes, suggestion. Classic 80's.
posted by Atreides at 5:21 PM on September 30, 2005

The "Spicoli orders a pizza scene" from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. (Don't think you'd get away with showing the whole movie.)
posted by jrossi4r at 5:21 PM on September 30, 2005

Mean Girls.
posted by GaelFC at 5:30 PM on September 30, 2005

Stand and Deliver
posted by musicinmybrain at 5:44 PM on September 30, 2005

3 O'Clock High

The long walk is a great scene.
posted by IndpMed at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2005

the breakfast club.
posted by jimmy at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2005

Fast times at ridgement high.
posted by neilkod at 5:46 PM on September 30, 2005

posted by nylon at 5:55 PM on September 30, 2005

Dazed and Confused
posted by 23skidoo at 6:01 PM on September 30, 2005

The Faculty is (in my opinion) an engaging easily-watchable movie that's set in a secondary school. Not exactly relating-to-their-experiences though, I hope. I'll strongly second that recommendation of the Breakfast Club though, and Elephant just for the cinematography (don't pay attention to the plot, if any).

I know this isn't helpful but there are quite a few big "life in secondary school" pictures, but even though I can remember odd fragments I can't remember enough to give you the title. If I haven't recallled by tomororw expect an AskMeFi on the topic; Don't despair anyway.
posted by fvw at 6:01 PM on September 30, 2005

My Bodyguard, which I haven't seen since I was in highschool myself but I remember it being the only movie that I'd seen that was anything like my school experience. Funny, I just looked it up and Adam Baldwin, from Firefly/Serenity played the bodyguard.
posted by octothorpe at 6:22 PM on September 30, 2005

Rock 'n' Roll High School ?
posted by doctor_negative at 6:41 PM on September 30, 2005

I gotta second "Dazed & Confused."
Also, I can't remember if The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" was in high school or later middle school. It's good, but prolly doesn't have the universal appeal you're going for.

And then there's Lucas, which again might not have the universal appeal you're hoping for.

Actually a freakin' great movie (for your situation) would be Not Another Teen Movie and all the flicks it parodies, but it's a pretty hard R for its crude humor.

On preview: that E!Online list is good.

Also, if TV shows aren't entirely ruled out, "Freaks & Geeks" would be appropriate, I'd think.
posted by kimota at 7:18 PM on September 30, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite? It's got some minor bullying, an awkward school dance, and a student government election. Not to mention a happy but not altogether unrealistic ending.
posted by justonegirl at 7:19 PM on September 30, 2005

I second the suggestion for "My Bodyguard." Might be a bit dated, but definitely addresses the issues that you are interested in.
posted by googly at 7:31 PM on September 30, 2005

Blackboard Jungle. Your students should relate to that.
posted by Joleta at 7:39 PM on September 30, 2005

Sky High came out a few months ago in the states, but I'm not sure if it has or will come to Australia--about kids of superheroes. Also, The School of Rock.
posted by brujita at 7:44 PM on September 30, 2005

Lean on me
posted by ramix at 7:45 PM on September 30, 2005

Two 80s movies and a classic:
To Sir, With Love
Summer School
Hiding Out

And if TV shows are an option, 21 Jump Street covers a multitude of issues and of course features a young Johnny Depp.
posted by sueinnyc at 8:07 PM on September 30, 2005

Heaven Help Us


Better Off Dead

Sixteen Candles

Pretty In Pink

Peggy Sue Got Married

posted by any major dude at 8:10 PM on September 30, 2005

The beginning of Say Anything (graduation and party)
Three O'Clock High and Better Off Dead, seconded.
The Outsiders
Rumble Fish
posted by whatnot at 8:33 PM on September 30, 2005

Gregory's Girl. 1981, Scottish, hilarious. One of the best school movies ever.
posted by tangerine at 8:42 PM on September 30, 2005

Class of 1999
posted by johngoren at 9:50 PM on September 30, 2005

Another vote for Breakfast Club. My favorite HS movie.
posted by Goofyy at 9:53 PM on September 30, 2005

While they're not much of the movie, "Donnie Darko" and "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" each have some fine high school scenes.
Class of 1984 is a guilty pleasure. I somehow missed the prostitution rings in my high school.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie. (If we get into TV shows, then Parker Lewis Can't Lose.)
Carrie. Christine.
posted by Aknaton at 10:18 PM on September 30, 2005

High School High
The Principal
Tough Turf
The Karate Kid
Mean Girls
Over the Edge

Seconds, thirds, whatevers: the S.E. Hinton ouevre, Fast Times, Election, Heathers, Stand and Deliver probably some others I'm forgetting.
posted by box at 10:47 PM on September 30, 2005

Cooley High
posted by dipolemoment at 12:11 AM on October 1, 2005

Volcano High
posted by bobo123 at 1:14 AM on October 1, 2005

whoops... Volcano High.
posted by bobo123 at 1:15 AM on October 1, 2005

IMDb's search for keywords involving "high school" yields 707 results. Good luck!
posted by itchie at 8:26 AM on October 1, 2005


Probably not useful for your purposes, but always deserving of a retro-plug
posted by IndigoJones at 9:34 AM on October 1, 2005

Damn, Indigo, you beat me to it. "If..." is one of my all-time favourite films. Why the hell isn't Anderson's stuff available on DVD yet?
posted by Decani at 11:07 AM on October 1, 2005

Don't forget Teen Wolf.
posted by Atreides at 11:23 AM on October 1, 2005

Wild Things, although these issues probably wouldn't happen in your high school.
posted by mmascolino at 12:39 PM on October 1, 2005

posted by vronsky at 3:41 PM on October 1, 2005

Sorry - no posty when drinky
posted by vronsky at 3:43 PM on October 1, 2005

If I actually showed all these films, these kids wouldn't have the time to graduate. Thanks for the fantastic ideas; I don't have the time to preview all of them and then view them in class, but thank you all the same.

The thumbs-up ones:
Breakfast Club (one that had been on the tip of my tongue: the brat pack detention movie). I'd never seen it and now I'm glad I have. The kids grumbled at first ("this movie is 20 years old! it must be shit!") but got a few laughs out of it so all was not lost. Prompted a ton of discussion about how vastly different the US schooling system is to Australia's. We don't quite have the cliques/huge stereotypes in Oz schools, everyone kinda hangs with everyone else. Although nerds and stoners seem to a universal school phenomenon.

Never Been Kissed: one that will trigger a conversation about what they'd do differently if they went back to school. Plus disturbing conversations about where they will be in 10 years' time. Admittedly, these are the kind of kids that myself and a couple of teachers want to take out to the pub once they graduate and reach drinking age (next year).

Dazed and Confused: I still need to preview, but will link in nicely with their upcoming grad ceremony. Will also try to use parts of Mean Girls. Being a male-dominated class, a female perspective is appreciated (Heathers still may get a look in, if I could find the DVD anywhere!)

I wished I could've used Election, but sadly it is 1 rating too high for our mild-mannered, foul-mouthed children.

Thanks again for the suggestions. It's a shame I can't chase some of the more obscure answers down (eg Gregory's Fish) in time, but you've given me something to watch over the summer holidays once the little whippersnappers have gone.
posted by chronic sublime at 1:58 AM on October 4, 2005

tom brown's schooldays all the st trinians films
posted by baker dave at 11:54 AM on October 5, 2005

Goodbye Mr. Chips
posted by tellurian at 8:58 PM on October 6, 2005

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