With the weather starting to cool off and Halloween decor making its way into Target, it’s official: fall is coming. And with fall comes the groans of students going back to school. Thankfully, our favorite fictional high schools can always put us in the mood for getting our education on (or doing some sweet dance moves). We’ve debated extensively, and here are our top 10 favorite high school comedies!
#10 Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Written by one of our favorite writer/directors, Cameron Crowe, this film is quintessential ‘80s from the kicking synth-music, to the Pat Benatar lookalikes, to the typical high school abortion! Yep, with its juxtaposition of storylines, Fast Times was a step away from the raunchy teen comedies of the time, showing that high school is more than popularity contests and big football games. Really, it is filled with mini-adults who think and act like they’re real adults, without really understanding the responsibilities adulthood has. It’s still a highly enjoyable comedy, but the lack of jock/princess/geek stereotypes are a real and refreshing take on high school.
#9 The High School Musical Trilogy
The High School Musical movies are the epitome of the high school comedy genre, though some may vehemently disagree. It’s got everything that high school movies should have: romance, basketball, and emo bounding through a golf course. Also, it has all the catchy tunes and dance moves you could ever want from a series. Plus, Zac Efron.
#8 She’s All That
After being dumped by his queen-bee girlfriend, Zack Siler (Freddy Prinze Jr.) makes a bet with his best frenemy that he can turn any girl into the school’s new “It” girl. That girl is Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook), she’s got glasses and a ponytail–which means she is persona non grata to the rest of her high school who seem more interested in picking out their outfits than being actual decent human beings. This movie def is another teen movie, but that’s what makes it so fun. It’s goofy with great one-liners (“Supersize my balls, please”), while still being sweet and entertaining. Prinze Jr. is annoyingly adorable as is Cook, and you really do root for them to be together in the end. The music is quintessential late 90s, which definitely earns it a special place in the hearts of millennials and, seriously, that dance scene is so silly/amazing that it totally works.
#7 Not Another Teen Movie
We couldn’t make a teen movie list without including the film that is a sendup of ALL teen movies! With young Chris Evans, Chyler Leigh, Jaime Pressly, Eric Christian Olsen, and many other up-and-coming stars, this film mixes satire, parody, and nostalgia to give us the immensely-quotable teen comedy. Now, we know most parody films belong at the bottom of some bargain bin, made straight for DVD, but Not Another Teen Movie stands above the rest with its clever use of movie references. This movie loves teen movies and just doesn’t know how to say it without including a couple of fart jokes and boob shots. Also, and most importantly, it gave us Chris Evans in a whipped cream bikini!
Clueless is another one of those loose Shakespeare adaptations that turned cult classic with its throwback one liners. “As if!” turned into an overnight trend, and we’re sure Jeep sales skyrocketed the year this movie was released. Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash had amazing BFF chemistry (and fashion), and their friendship was serious best friend goals. These teenagers really did not have a clue for how the world worked, but their naivety makes us smile because we are all a little clueless sometimes.
#5 Never Been Kissed
Never Been Kissed is the perfect movie for those late bloomer nerds who didn’t get a high school romance. Though it’s got some creepy vibes (like, Mr. Coulson was clearly attracted to Josie before he found out she was over 18), it’s a solid late 90’s comedy, complete with small parts done by James Franco and Jessica Alba. We’re now of the age where we can say it loud and say it proud: “I’m not Josie Grossie anymore!”
#4 Bring it On
Bring It On made the top five because it really is so relatable to our high school years. We follow Kirsten Dunst’s Torrance through embarrassment, team hierarchy, and teenage love, all while trying to keep her cheer team together with her new BFF (and Buffy alum) Eliza Dushku’s Missy. We all learned the correct form of Spirit Fingers and how easy it was to get a cheer stuck in your head for the rest of your life. Kirsten Dunst is also considered one of America’s sweethearts, so everyone tends to hold her movies close to their hearts.
#3 Easy A
Anyone who has attended a public high school knows that your high school social life is almost solely dependent on your reputation. Easy A takes the themes of sex, gossip, and social stigma and adds some wit, a bit of heart, and a lot of beautiful people. Featuring Emma Stone in her first starring movie role, Easy A is an interesting look into the high school culture of slut shaming and double standards. The subject matter is all too familiar to us, though perhaps we wish our school mascot had looked a little more like Penn Badgley and our fervent Christians looked more like Cam Gigandet (this is a sexy, sexy school).
#2 Mean Girls
For many who grew up in the 2000’s, Mean Girls is the quintessential high school comedy. Written by the then-still-up-and-coming Tina Fey, the movie is full of unforgettable lines that are quoted in everyday dialogue 13 years after its release (outliving star Lindsay Lohan’s career). Have you squealed that an item is “so fetch?” Have you yelled out “she doesn’t even go here!” at an uninvited guest? Yes, you know you have, and you have Mean Girls to thank for that.
#1 10 Things I Hate About You
Heath Ledger may be known to most as the Joker, but we must always remember that he was the mysterious bad boy in 10 Things, first. Need we say more? No? Well, too bad, because how could we not say something about Julia Stiles? Seriously, her buck-the-system, girlpower attitude is everything in this movie. Plus, putting this new spin on Katharina’s character in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew completely redefines the term, “shrew.” And then they put all of that on an incredible soundtrack, featuring artists like Letters to Cleo and Save Ferris, so of course this movie was our number one. Plus, sweet, little baby Joseph Gordon Levitt is a definite perk.
Did your favorite high school comedy make the list? Let us know in the comments!