Mean Girls (2004). Despite the stereotypical blonde and bitchy that are the bane of this film’s existence, it has become a classic. Cady (Lindsay Lohan) moves to a new high school, and becomes victim to the rude awakening of a cliquey hierarchy run by the Plastics (headed by Rachel McAdams’ Regina George). Succumbing to everything she proclaimed she never wanted to be, Cady learns how nasty fake friends can be. The film has so many quotable lines, many thanks to Tina Fey, and is a cult classic of the 2000s. Why do we miss high school because of it? Because it was so fetch. That’s why.
Superbad (2007).The title says it all, as two guys (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill) face the ultimate worst-case-scenarios, juxtaposed while trying to impress girls. Written by Seth Rogen, this film is filled with laughs as any guy who has ever tried to look cool as hell for a girl can relate to our antiheros. Seth (Hill) and Evan (Cera) concoct a plan to impress some girls in hopes of getting with girls, involving the typical shenanigans of kids their age. A simple fake-IDed trip to the liquor store takes a turn for the unexpected, and their hilarious evening unravels from there. Why do we miss high school because of it? Because of the thrill of illegally acquiring alcohol and all the challenges that went with those high school parties that retrospectively make us cringe. Now, purchasing a case of beer and getting IDed for it just isn’t as fun as getting a fake for “McLovin.”
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). Even as a college student, I still take a day off, as a self-assurance that Ferris Bueller is indeed my spirit animal. Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), takes a day off during his second semester as a senior in high school. Joining him are his beautiful girl (Mia Sara) and fretful best friend (Alan Ruck), as they soak in life and are unknowingly trailed by Ed Rooney, the school’s dean (Jeffrey Jones). If you are in high school (and even if you aren’t) and you haven’t seen it, shame on you. Go illegally download it, now. And pick a day to take off as well. Why do we miss high school because of it? Who else wouldn’t love to take a day off from being responsible and have a romp through Chicago? And then get away with it? Yes please.
Heathers (1988). Imagine if you could purge your high school of all those popular bitches? Via murder? Heathers plays out this scenario, as the black sheep of her clique Veronica (Winona Ryder) plots and kills every bully in her school. And she gets away with it, with the help of rebellious J.D. (Christian Slater). Without Heathers, we wouldn’t have Mean Girls. The politics of high school’s social ladder was born here. Even if we hated being anything but popular in high school, we embrace it now with open arms. Why do we miss high school because of it? Admit it, you secretly wish you could kill off the people who made your life miserable, especially during those awkward teenage years. And Christian Slater is adorable, in his own, bizarre way.
Say Anything (1989). I’ll admit, I’m still waiting for John Cusack to be outside my bedroom window, trench coat clad and boom box in tow. Lloyd Dobler (Cusack) is a fine example of a passionate young man who isn’t afraid to say he doesn’t know what he wants to do beyond high school. And then, on the other end of the spectrum is the girl he is crushing on. Diane Court (Ione Skye), the recipient of a prestigious scholarship that is taking her to England. This feeling is what many face upon graduating high school, as they prepare for life in the REAL WORLD. OH NO. “How many of them really know what they want, though? I mean, a lot of them think they have to know, right? But inside they don't really know, so...I don't know, but I know that I don't know.” (Well said, Lloyd). Why do we miss high school because of it? The way that Cusack chases the girl of his dreams and travels off to England with her at the end? Come on, girls. We all want a noble guy like that.
Grease (1979). Complete with slicked-back hair, a young John Travolta, and cars we all wish we had, Grease is basically the REAL high school musical (sorry Zac Efron). The clash of the cliques and being true to you are so stereotypical, cheesy, yet perfect all the same. Sandra Dee (Olivia Newton-John) and Danny Zuko (Travolta) become the power couple we all wish we were part of, despite the fact that Danny is a greaser and Sandy is brighter than the sun. And the music is great too; perfect to cruise around to and sing loudly and off-key. Why do we miss high school because of it? Soda shops, drive-in movies, and being able to break into song with all your friends knowing the lyrics? This is a theater-kid’s paradise.
The Breakfast Club (1985). Another John Hughes masterpiece, this one reminds you that not everyone in high school will be exactly who you think they are. A band of misfits are set to attend detention all day together on a Saturday, and their conversations and exchanges are surprisingly sophisticated, considering their age. Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez are part of the cast, and their interactions are superb. The ambiguity at the end of the film is also great, as we really question what happens once they all pour their hearts out to one another. Why do we miss high school because of it? It taught us not to make judgments based on who your friends were, as everyone is not always who they seem. The library they all had detention in was also pretty sweet, for a high school one.
21 Jump Street (2011), because I would have signed up for AP Chemistry if I knew Channing Tatum could be my lab partner. Based on the 1990s TV show, cops Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are undercover as high-schoolers, looking to bust a drug ring while reliving those uncomfortable high school days. As out of place as they are, they manage to make the most of it and still kick ass. Why do we miss high school because of it? Watching Tatum and Hill go through the motions in their second round of high school is hilarious. Even as trained cops and has-beens of the awkward teenage years, they still trip up just as badly (if not worse than) as the current high schoolers.
Pretty in Pink (1986). Sorry (not sorry) for all the John Hughes films, but if they weren’t so honest, they wouldn’t have a place on their list. Molly Ringwald is his muse once more, as her big moment of turning sweet 16 gets overshadowed by her sister’s wedding. What’s worse is that she is crushing on a guy who doesn’t know she exists (typical), and her family is flocking from all over for the wedding. The worst part? Her grandparents even forget her birthday (a new self-esteem low is reached!) Why do we miss high school because of it? Any girl can attest to having embarrassing relatives, seemingly unrequited love, and those picture-perfect moments that outweigh all the face-palms in between.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). Based on Stephen Chomsky’s conversational novel of the same name, Charlie (Logan Lerman) starts high school and makes efforts to make friends. His companionship of two spunky upperclassmen who aren’t afraid to live awakens a bright light inside him. The growing pains of high school are rough, but Charlie makes the most of what he’s got, no matter how dark it can be. Why do we miss high school because of it? Despite its darker parts, high school is an important part of the whole “find yourself” stage. It also shows that it is cool to have a teacher as a close friend, and not just all about kissing ass for an A+.