I love high school movies. In fact, it may be my favorite film genre. Certainly in the top 3. I first fell in love with them when I was in middle school, when they gave me unrealistic expectations about how cool high school was going to be. But movie high school and IRL high school are two vastly different things. Which is fine. I had a good experience, it was just a bummer that I couldn’t wander the halls whenever I wanted and actually had to go to class to graduate.
There are a number of high school movies that I’ve enjoyed over the years, so nailing myself to a top 5 or top 10 list didn’t seem reasonable. So, I decided to make separate lists of my favorite high school movies that came out before I was in high school, while I was in high school, and after I was in high school.
For Part One, I’ve listed favorite high school movies that were released during my high school tenure, which started in September of 1997 and ended in June of 2001.
And before I start this list, I feel as if I need to say something up front: Varsity Blues did not make this list. It’s not that it’s not an entertaining movie, but I didn’t see it until after I was out of high school, so it’s off the list.
Honorable Mention: Rushmore (1998) Good movie that I saw in theaters, then never saw it again. Not sure how that happened.
- American Pie (1999)
The 2nd most 90’s movie to ever exist. And like all great high school movies, it centers around a group of friends who vow to lose their virginity. However, this is the only movie on the list which, for me, doesn’t hold up to multiple viewings. I loved it and found hilarious when it first came out, but after seeing it more than a couple of times, the feel of the movie starts to fade. However, it still deserves to make the list.
- Election (1999)
This movie was great because it didn’t focus solely on the students. It centers around a history teacher and the teacher’s pet that he can’t stand. The scene where Jim McAllister’s life starts to fall apart and he gets stung by a bee will always gross me out. It’s my favorite of MTV Films releases. And yes, that includes Varsity Blues.
- Drive Me Crazy (1999)
Was this film named after the Britney Spears song, or vice-versa? Doesn’t matter, great movie that is so 90’s that it can’t help itself. Part of me pretends this movie is an extension of ‘Clarissa Explains It All. I also enjoyed the cameo of The Donnas (as the Electrocutes) performing at the prom. #DaughterJudy4Life
- Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
This is the MOST 90’s movie to ever exist. I’m not sure which aspect of the movie I like best: The big, end-of-year party, which has the alpha-jock breaks up with prettiest girl in school and the quiet kid who has been in love with her since freshman year makes his last ditch effort to win her heart, nerds hanging out outside the party, nerd getting drunk and becomes super popular, guy and girl who dislike each other hooking up, super bubbly yearbook girl (Clarissa Darling alert!), the list could go on forever. I think the strongest lesson in this movie is to never peak in high school. #AmanDUH #dimeadozen
- Bring It On (2000)
The undisputed number one high school movie for my high school years. I saw this movie in theaters four times, which is a record that has withstood multiple Star Wars movies and Terminator 3. I was in love with Kirsten Dunst for all of 2000 and 2001. Cliff Pantone was my hero. I spent more time than I should have to track down this shirt:
I could never find it and I thought it was hopeless until my wife found it a couple of years ago and gave it to me as an early birthday present (which is probably why I married her).
Anyways, an AWESOME movie that borders on corny while still feeling sincere. I will love this movie forever.