Hollywood has always had a place for the ‘high school movie’ genre. The stories explore the angst of teenagers, the politics of school and some movies even take on personality and body image issues. While movies like Dazed and Confused, The Breakfast Club have enjoyed universal acclaim for decades, there are also films like Mean Girls and 10 Things I Hate About You that may seem trivial but try to deliver an impactful story.
Here are the top 10 high school dramas that are worth checking out.
1. The Breakfast Club: Netflix
Written and directed by John Hughes, The Breakfast Club has emerged as one of the most popular high school movies of all times. Released in 1985, the film centres around five teenagers who find themselves stuck in detention on a Saturday. While they come from seemingly different worlds, they find common ground to connect with each other and realise they are much more than the stereotypes associated with them.
Also Read | Hollywood Rewind: The Breakfast Club
2. Dazed and Confused: Netflix
Directed by Richard Linklater, Dazed and Confused is remembered for Matthew McConaughey’s “Alright alright alright” dialogue but there’s much more to the 1993 release. The film is set around the hazing ceremony that’s conducted by seniors for incoming freshmen. The misadventures of a few high school students aren’t necessarily life-changing, but leave enough of an impact on the characters and viewers as well.
3. Mean Girls: Amazon Prime Video
Written by Tina Fey and directed by Mark Waters, the scenes and dialogues from Mean Girls have become a part of pop culture in the last decade. The 2004 film stars Lindsay Lohan as Cady, who starts at a new school which is dominated by ‘mean girl’ Regina, played by Rachel McAdams. Mean Girls inspired several high school character archetypes in the 21st century.
4. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Netflix
Directed by John Hughes, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off stars Matthew Broderick in the lead role. Broderick plays Bueller, a high school student who decides to skip school for a day. The 1986 teen comedy is considered a landmark when it comes to portraying teens on screen.
5. Lady Bird: Netflix
Greta Gerwig’s moving yet funny directorial debut stars Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird. The protagonist has named herself Lady Bird, and wants to live in a city that has a sense of culture, unlike Sacramento, where she has grown up. The 2017 release follows her as she tries to put on a fake identity at school while also getting her heart broken. The film’s soul lies in Lady Bird’s relationship with her mother, which is twisted but easy at the same time.
6. 10 Things I Hate About You: Disney+ Hotstar
Starring Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julia Stiles and Larisa Oleynik in significant roles, 10 Things I Hate About You centres around two sisters who are complete opposites. One is the stereotypical popular girl, while the other is an anti-social cynic. The two come into their own and discover life beyond the stereotypes that are associated with them in this 1999 rom-com.
Also Read | Hollywood Rewind: 10 Things I Hate About You
7. The DUFF: Amazon Prime Video
Many have called this 2015 film an updated version of Mean Girls. Starring Mae Whitman, Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell and Ken Jeong in significant roles, this film follows Bianca who belongs to a popular group but ends up being a magnet for people to get to her friends. As she realises that her identity is dependent on others, it sets certain events in motion, which turn out to be quite a learning for Bianca.
8. Easy A: Netflix
Starring Emma Stone as Olive, this is the story of a high school student who does not subscribe to the popular tropes of school life. Somehow, she gets entangled in a web of lies and decides to play the part that is being associated with her. The 2010 teen comedy is loosely inspired by the novel The Scarlet Letter.
9. Booksmart: YouTube
Starring Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart is the story of two high school friends who realise that they spent their teen years working hard at school to get into good colleges. However, their other school mates, who had fun and attended parties, also got into the same colleges. The girls feel they have to make up for lost time in just a few hours, before high school finishes. Directed by Olivia Wilde, Booksmart released in 2019.
10. Superbad: YouTube
Starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera in the lead roles, Superbad is the story of two friends who are about to go off to college. The 2007 film highlights their awkward experiences while they are trying to be cool in their own unique way. Directed by Greg Mottola, Superbad was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
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