Top 5 High School Movie Universes

Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel July 29, 2013

mean girls 1

So… high school. ‘BLEHG.’ Am I right? It’s a time where every single one of us is the most awkward person we will ever be because we have no idea who we are or who we want to be. We try out a few looks – maybe you try out being a “gangsta” or a deep emotional “emo” kid who loves black and long bangs. But I put those words in quotations because they aren’t real. They’re just styles of dress we use to put ourselves into categories. Because high school is all about categories and where you fit in, right? Yeah, unfortunately. But there are some depictions of high school I wish totally existed in my life, and then there are ones I am SO glad never did. In the following list, I’m sure you’ll know what category each belong in. At the very least, each of these high school’s were definitely more entertaining than mine ever was.

5. “Degrassi: The Next Generation” (Canadian TV Show now just called “Degrassi”)

Degrassi TNG

Everyone knows “Degrassi” in some form or another. This is the overly-dramatic teen TV show where crazy shenanigans went down basically everyday at Degrassi High. This is where Aubrey Graham (aka Drake) got his start. This is also why I will always remember Drake as Jimmy – the kid who got shot in the back when his high school got shot up. Because that happened at Degrassi, along with teen pregnancies, sexual promiscuity and drug experimentation galore… even cancer and murder. This school was one I was definitely glad to not be a part of. If I were a superstitious person I’d say that school was cursed.

4. “Pretty in Pink” (1986)


John Hughes was the master at depicting teenagers. He just completely “got” them, ya know? He understood how difficult of a time it is to juggle family, friends, responsibility, the future and figuring out who you are. It’s pretty stressful. John Hughes wrote this script and proceeded to blow my mind. There is definitely a divide between the classes in high school. It’s usually the rich kids who are cool because they can afford cool shit. But being poor sucks. When rich boy (Andrew McCarthy) meets poor girl (Molly Ringwald, obviously) sparks fly for some reason. It’s a difficult thing trying to fit in somewhere you don’t feel you belong. Ringwald as Andie sure as hell tries but ends up figuring out who she is along the way. I definitely wish it was that easy to figure such a big thing out. I also definitely wish I had a quirky best guy friend nicknamed after some sort of quirky animal (“Duckie”-Jon Cryer) to help guide me along the way.

3. “Freaks and Geeks” (TV Series 1999-2000)

freaks and geeks

Paul Feig of “Bridesmaids” fame created this awesome portrayal of high school in the 80s. It’s one of the most legitimately real portrayals of high school I’ve ever seen. With the different categories of nerd (or geek), jock, and freak (among others) there was a real attempt to delve into why people are the way they are. Some of the stoner “freaks” wanted to be really smart, or “geeky,” and a lot of geeks wanted to explore and experiment with different things in high school. It’s also super funny at times and doesn’t try to point out how “cool” or “bad” certain behaviours are, just that teenagers act weird sometimes. It’s like a life lesson that isn’t preachy. I love the show and the super cool cast that includes James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and Linda Cardellini, with cameos from Lizzy Caplan and Ben Foster – all before they were famous.

2. “The Breakfast Club” (1985)

This half circle is where lives were changed

This half circle is where lives were changed

Aka the greatest teen movie ever made. EVER. This movie changed my life. And made me want to get into detention so I could talk about life and stuff with a few other people who were in different cliques and bond over how we are all essentially the same and how we all have life nonsense to deal with. It’s obviously John Hughes who wrote and directed this masterpiece about the teenage condition. And with the ending echoing a classic 80s power ballad, I teared up. I felt the foundation of my understanding of life shift. I WILL NOT FORGET ABOUT YOU.

1. “Mean Girls” (2004)

"On Wednesdays we wear pink"

“On Wednesdays we wear pink”

Mark Waters directed and Tina Fey helped write the script for the funniest and most glorious representation of high school yet. If I could go to a high school where my fellow math students looked like Aaron Samuels (who totally looks sexy with his hair pushed back or not) and peers like Janis Ian and Damian to show me how to survive the wilds of high school, I would’ve loved my experience. I also would’ve loved to be a part of an elaborate 3 step plan to help take down the “mean girl,” the Regina George, of my school. Best. High School. Ever. I don’t even go there and I know it’s cool. And it HAS to be cool if Glen Coco goes there.

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About Rachel Ganzewinkel

Rachel loves movies and writing and has found the perfect amalgamation in writing movie reviews for We Eat Films. In between movie watching and the real-life world of work, she enjoys tea, reading, writing, and wearing over-size sweaters (while occassionally doing some of these simultaneously).

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