Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us some of his favorite school themed movies.
If ever there was a movie to showcase the worst kind of experience you could have at prom, it would be Carrie. Sissy Spacek stars as the title character who is a small, fragile, and meek high school girl who is mercilessly teased by everyone else at school. The popular cheerleader girls mock her and laugh in her face. Even a majority of teachers and administrators have it out for her, except for the gym teacher. To top it off she lives a very isolated life under the rule of her mother, Margaret, who is an extreme religious zealot. Carrie’s anger and frustrations at her opposition triggers her telekinetic powers when she is pushed to her breaking point. A horrible accident in the gym locker room will forever change her life. Her awful classmates are served detention and their attendance at prom is now in jeopardy after their horrible treatment toward Carrie. They vow to get revenge on her in the worst way. They convince popular guy Tommy to invite her to the prom where they will rig the results to have them win prom king and queen. Carrie is suspicious of the newfound attention but goes along with it just to feel normal. Even though her mother tried to warn her, it all comes crashing down on her in the most horrific sense.
-Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta, PJ Soles, Betty Buckley
SCHOOL TIES (1992)
Brendan Fraser leads an all-star cast in School Ties. It’s the 1950s, and Fraser plays David Greene who leaves his small-town community in Scranton, PA to attend St. Matthews Academy in Boston, MA. It’s a high society, privileged prep school where he can show off his football skills in hopes of getting noticed to an Ivy League School. David is Jewish and soon realizes the antisemitism that runs rampant in the hallways of St. Matthews. He feels forced to hide this part of himself just so he can fit in as the new kid at school.
-Now streaming on Max
-Starring: Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris O’Donnell, Anthony Rapp, Cole Hauser
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (1999)
Cameron James is new to Padua High School, and during his first day tour, it becomes love at first sight with Bianca Stratford. Bianca’s older sister, Katherine, is a senior at the school and is extremely disliked as she is described as tempestuous and a shrew. Bianca is desperate to be seen as popular but feels Katherine gets in the way of her image. Their father has forbidden her from going out on a date until Katherine receives a date, which essentially equates to no one dating in the family. Cameron’s ultimate goal is to take Bianca to the prom. He is not one to back down from a challenge and sets a scheme in motion to have someone win over Katherine. He turns to resident bad boy Patrick Verona and pays him to take out Katherine. As Patrick and Katherine get to know each other, they both see passed the stereotypes and reputations that have been placed on them by the other high school kids.
-Now streaming on Disney+
-Starring: Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gabrielle Union, Allison Janney, Larry Miller
AMERICAN PIE (1999)
American Pie was a huge box office hit in the late 1990s and became a pop culture mainstay due to its raunchy, jaw dropping moments. Jason Biggs’ Jim is a nerdy, lovable senior at East Great Falls High School in Michigan. Senior year becomes the biggest one yet for his friend group with Oz, Kevin, and Finch all feeling those pressures of senior year. They attend a huge party hosted by the not-to-bright, obnoxious Stifler where they realize they may graduate high school before losing their virginity first. They make a pact to have sex by prom night, but it has to be valid consensual sex. They have three weeks to make it happen as they check in and cheer each other on.
-Now streaming on Paramount+
-Starring: Jason Biggs, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth, Seann William Scott
MEAN GIRLS (2004)
“Goodbye, Africa. Hello, high school.” Lindsay Lohan was in the peak of her career when she starred as Cady in Mean Girls. She opens the film detailing on her family’s big transition from living in Africa to moving back to the United States with Cady now attending a public high school. The first day doesn’t go well as she feels around looking for new friends, like Janis Ian and Damian. They teach her about the “The Plastics”, a group of mean girls with Regina George, Gretchen, and Karen. “Evil takes human form in Regina George” as they say. At first Cady wants to be friends with the Plastics and Janis Ian and Damian. It doesn’t bode well when the sides conflict, and Janis Ian convinces Cady to infiltrate the group hoping to expose their true secrets. It wouldn’t be a high school movie without a fling as Cady becomes friends with Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of Regina George.
-Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler