Have you checked out our list of the Best School Movies of All Time? Well, guess what-there’s more!
The list provided such spirited debate that a handful of our writers decided to write blurbs about some flicks that should have made the cut, but didn’t.
Check out what our team had to say about some of the films that “bubbled under.”
? Better Off Dead (1985)
We’ve all been brokenhearted at least once. We’ve all felt like we couldn’t live our life without that person so our only option was death – or skiing the K-12. We’ve all been able to overcome that pain and ended up with the cute foreign chick that loves baseball.
Welcome to “Better Off Dead” the 1985 dark, stereotypical, teenaged, romantic, cult classic by oddball Savage Steve Holland and starring the versatile John Cusack.
Cusack plays our “hero” Lane Myer whose love-of-his-life, Beth, just dumped him for Roy Stalin, the captain of the ski team. Oh, and Stalin also plays the guitar. Beth’s reason to dump Lane? “I think it’d be in my best interest if I dated somebody more popular, better looking, drives a nicer car.”
Lane doesn’t think his life can go on without Beth so he decides to off himself in a variety of ways that never ever seem to work out (leap from a bridge, land in a garbage truck). But with the help of his let-me-snort-everything-
Why was this movie in my top 10? I’ve seen this film hundreds of times and it never tires. The characters are so odd that there’s never a dull moment in the film.
You have a deranged newspaper boy who will go to no end to collect his two dollars. You have Lane’s mom, Jenny, who improvises her cooking because the pages got smeared together. Lane’s brother Badger is an 8-year-old prodigy that never leaves the house but reads books (and succeeds) in building laser guns, rockets and picking up trashy women. And everyone, including Barney Rubble asking Lane if they can date Beth now that he no longer is.
But overall it’s the aforementioned struggle of a teenager in love – brokenhearted, lonely, not wanting to move on, finding love in an unexpected place – that makes this a favorite of mine.
Oh and, “I want my two dollars!” (K-Daddy)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a fleshed out version of Jeff Kinney’s first Diary of a Wimpy Kid comic/novel, and it’s firmly marketed at children, probably about six to 10. And yet it’s one of the most realistic depictions of junior high put to the screen. Junior high isn’t represented in film much, and when it is, it’s the hellish world of an outcast—the unbearable to watch for a second time Welcome to the Dollhouse, for example. Diary of a Wimpy Kid though depicts the vast anonymous middle herd of a school that wish to remain that way. Still, all the points of a school or coming-of-age-movie are hit: parents just not understanding, simultaneous fear and attraction to the opposite sex, and the of utmost importance school legends (don’t touch the cheese that’s sat on the blacktop for years, or get ostracized). The kids in the movie take everything at great importance, and yet also seem to know it’s going to be really unimportant once seventh grade is over. (Brian Boone)
Born in 1976, I never saw Animal House when it was originally out. Having watched it later in life, to me that’s still the blueprint for college debauchery but Old School feels like my generation’s version of that film. It was written as a comedic answer to Fight Club but the hilariously stupid, drunken antics of Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vaughn rival all the classic fraternity flicks.
Old School was really the movie that put the “Frat Pack” (including Owen Wilson, Jack Black and later Steve Carell) on the map and marks Ferrell’s best flick to date. Pair it up with something truly “old school” like Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School and you’ll be laughing so hard that you might want to think about wearing some Depends before embarking on that journey. (Dave Steed)
Real Genius (1985)
Real Genius is something surprisingly different: a movie set in a school in which the characters actually worry about their grades, not their social standing or their prospects for getting laid. And they really, really worry about them. Underneath the crackling dialogue (“If there’s anything I can do for you — or, more to the point, to you — let me know”), Real Genius is about kids under constant, crushing pressure to live up to their seemingly limitless potential. To keep from cracking, they act out, exuberantly and good-naturedly, and no one does it with more style than Chris Knight (Val Kilmer), who glides through the film with an incandescent cool that would leave the neurotic twerps of The Big Bang Theory cowering under their Star Trek blankets. Chris and his classmate Jordan Cochrane (Michelle Meyrink), whose pixieish good looks and cheery daffiness launched untold geek crushes, are among the few characters in American movies who make being smart look like a blast. And then Revenge of the Nerds came along and shoved all our heads in the toilet again. Well, it was fun while it lasted. (Dan Wiencek)
Ten Things I Hate About You (1999)
A modern spin on the Shakespearian classic The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You is a feel good, teen romantic comedy. With an all-star cast of Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, there is such chemistry between all of the actors that the acting is on point and they play off one another flawlessly. Because the movie is mostly set within school grounds, and deals with dilemmas such as finding a date to the dance and passing French class, the audience can relate to many aspects of the movie.
Stand out scene: When Heath Ledger’s character, Patrick Verona, sings “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” complete with the marching band to Julia Stiles character Kat Stratford while running through bleachers away from campus security. (Cassandra)
Three O’ Clock High (1987)
Maybe it was a little too weird or visceral to catch on with a mass audience, but Three O’Clock High is an overlooked gem. We spend one school day sympathizing with Jerry Mitchell (Casey Siemaszko) as he counts the minutes until a certain beating at the hands of Buddy Revell (Richard Tyson), a hulking, mysterious bully who looks like a ’50s throwback. Between the snappy dialogue, great cinematography, and sweet Tangerine Dream soundtrack, this is the most fun you’ll ever have watching someone heading toward certain doom. (Chris Holmes)
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