My Top 5 American High School Movies
I have always loved movies about high school. All the angst and anxiety about making a good impression with the cool kids have been greatly depicted in American high school films. Various types of themes are included in my top 5 American high school movies: The Loners, The Popular, The Jocks, The Reformed, and The Mighty. Let’s get this list rolling.
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5. Stand and Deliver (1988)
Stand and Deliver is a very important movie that deals with adversity and how to make the right decisions in life. Every choice that one makes has an affect on your own life in the future and others as well. This thought has to be etched on everyone’s mind. This is why I love how Edward James Olmos performs in Stand and Deliver. His subdued tone really works well here, as it did in Miami Vice, because when he flips out at Andy Garcia, you can tell the inner strength of his personality is way stronger than just some goody two shoes. He actually cares to get things done right. We see that throughout this movie. Lou Diamond Phillips brings an element of being a trouble maker, combining that with wanting to look up to someone special. His inner nature and core has the potential to bring good to people. Luckily, Olmos’ character arrives at the right time in his life. The movie themes and casting was strong, and I definitely advise everyone to watch this movie.
4. Pretty in Pink (1986)
My favorite 80s actress of all time has always been Molly Ringwald. I used to feel so involved watching her films. Every moment she felt sad, I wanted to console her. When seeing her being used, I wanted to be there to warn her. It is not that easy for anyone on screen to bring out such a feeling from someone they have never met. Pretty and Pink was a wonderful example of her true talent. You felt for her not being understood by so many in this film. Jon Cryer, as well, did a great job in Pretty in Pink. He was in love with her in this movie, but he was also very child-like in dealing with the fact that her character wasn’t in love him. Of course, I love the music in Pretty in Pink. Definitely takes me to a time that does not exist anymore. Thankfully, we do have recordings… The incredible cast includes James Spader, with his clothing and cool attitude of not caring, and Andrew McCarthy, who perfectly portrays a kid being wishy-washy. A lot of great themes about longing for someone not interested and the importance of making your own decisions are here. Watch and enjoy.
3. Heaven Help Us (1985)
One of my favorite overlooked movies of all time, Heaven Help Us combines hilarious sequences with heart breaking moments. I would say this film, on my list, is probably the most balanced from start to finish. Andrew McCarthy really does a great job in combining several acting qualities. His refined moments, the connection with Mary Stuart Masterson’s character, as well as clowning around with his fellow school mates gradually, makes it a versatile performance in my book. I can watch this (and have) numerous times in succession. The scenes with Donald Sutherland and Andrew McCarthy are really funny, especially their first encounter. Of course, the recently deceased John Heard (r.i.p.) truly embodied a person who wanted to help, but bringing a slight feeling of wanting to get ahead was also in view. That is why his character, purposefully, is not someone I would truly want to look up to. A very difficult balance to uphold by any actor. Mr. Heard achieved it perfectly.
2. Breakfast Club (1985)
A truly tough decision to make, Breakfast Club has always been either my number 1 or number 2 favorite high school movies of all time. As the year passed by, I have a truly up and down situation here, because there are moments in this movie that go on a little bit longer than they should. But, when the scene is great, emotionally you get right into it. The overall cast is phenomenal, and Judd Nelson truly takes over this film from start to finish. He is the lead that makes everything happen. Molly Ringwald is the princess and plays this part well. Having her become better seems good, but I do not know if Judd’s character and her will eventually be together. I do not see a huge change in her personality to warrant this hope. Emilio Estevez brings a very good scene, during their open discussion. Of course, this is the best scene in the movie. My heart beats everytime. Sadness develops, as they sift through their emotionally charged difficult perspectives and choices. I like the script, flowing very well from one scene to the next. Putting every type of high school kid in one setting sets the dynamic well. Observing them and their pains really makes this a must see movie.
1. Karate Kid (1984)
This movie truly has it all. I am in love with Karate Kid. There are so many lessons to be learned here. Most importantly, in comparison to all the movies I listed, this film has a heart. No matter where I am, if Karate Kid is on tv, there will be no changing the station. I truly believe that this is one of the best 80s movies of all time. The adversity and lessons learned here can be viewed by anyone at any age. I love the connection between Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio. My goodness, they are from completely different planets, but such inner love and respect depicted towards one another in small doses makes me cry inside. How wonderful it is to see that Pat Morita’s character does not let Ralph Macchio run away from the thugs due to fear. Teaching a great lesson, one should always fight adversity head strong, otherwise fear will always make you fail. The music is wonderful, script is top notch, and delivery by the actors are just magnificent. Every person should watch this movie. That is why Karate Kid is my top choice. Check out another 80’s classic, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, for an action-filled night.