Show me someone who breezed through high school and I’ll show you a movie villain. It is a well-documented fact that the popular kids are the baddies, and the rest of us…well we grow up to tell the tale. Tina Fey’s immensely quotable Mean Girls stole all of our hearts with a mix of wit, physical comedy and realistically unlikeable female leads. If you love it as I do, read on for a playlist of similar films.
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Bleak Comedy film genre at its finest here, with peak Winona as Veronica, one of the most popular girls at her high school. Her problems begin when she disapproves of the bad behaviour of some of the other girls. She and her misfit boyfriend J/D (Christian Slater) confront the clique “The Heathers”, things escalate pretty quickly. It’s no movie like Goodfellas, but death and devastation follow. Always with excellent one-liners, though.
Director: Michael Lehmann
So quotable that I strongly advise you never watch this film with a superfan like me, because I literally it know off by heart. The main mean girl is in fact, our heroine here and we root for her throughout – a clever twist on how most high school films about teenage girls are told. But then, it is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash spawned a generation of fashion followers. And we all started a thirty year long crush on Paul Rudd. Or was that just me?
Director: Amy Heckerling
Never Been Kissed (1999)
Drew Barrymore has rarely been better than in this high school comedy about a girl who believes she was and still is the biggest loser. Now a journalist, with even less luck in love, she returns to high school and poses as a student. It’s for an article but y’know…it’s about her finding her confidence. Of course! Laugh out loud moments aplenty, excellent performances and some truly terrible fashion.
Director: Raja Gosnell
Freaky Friday (2003)
Originally a 70s flick starring Jodie Foster, Freaky Friday was remade with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in the early 2000s, with a suitably noughty soundtrack and wardrobe. It’s the story of an overworked Mother and her bratty teenage daughter who switch bodies after an encounter with a fortune cookie. They are trapped like this until they start to see the world from each other’s point of view. Its great fun and full of energy – peak Lohan!
Director: Mark Waters
A film that deserves a re-watch, if you have some free time. Juno was Elliot Page’s breakout role as a pregnant teenage girl with a quick wit and quirky values. As she navigates her relationship with the foetus’s father, her own parents and the parents who want to adopt her baby, she learns a lot about herself. This was the film which also put Diably Cody on the radar as a filmmaker to watch. It’s smart, sensitive and faithful to the life of a teenager in high school. Top marks all round.
Director: Jason Reitman
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
There are at least ten things I love about Heath Ledger, and this was the movie where I discovered them all. A 90s update on The Taming of the Shrew, with Julia Stiles as Kat, an angsty teenage girl who refuses to conform to high school codes of cool. Her little sister Bianca is the opposite: cute, eager to please and well-liked. Cue a romance for each of them. Heath Ledger is Patrick, the bad boy who tries to win over Kat, at the behest of Cameron, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who wants to date Bianca. Sounds confusing, but really it’s just a lot of fun and you get to see Heath perform a Frankie Valli song, accompanied by the school marching band.
Director: Gil Junger
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
This was a departure for Diablo Cody, who had become well known for light-hearted fare with the aforementioned Juno. Megan Fox plays a possessed cheerleader (great start, eh?) and Amanda Seyfried her long-suffering bestie. Demonic fun and games ensue, and Amanda is forced to get in touch with her inner Succubus Slayer. Visually stunning and full of frights. Watch out for Karyn Kusama’s other work…she’s a powerhouse director.
Director: Karyn Kusama
A cute, clear and funny coming of age buddy movie about a pair of high school besties who are on the fringes of social status, and preparing to graduate. They decide to go all out on a Big Night Out, and we join them on that thrill ride. There’s porn, puking and popularity – so basically all the elements of gross out/high school comedy that we love. Think Superbad, but with chicks.
Director: Olivia Wilde
Eighth Grade (2018)
This one totally took me by surprise… it creeps up on you in the guise of a slow-moving character study and before you know it, you’re feeling all of the feelings of an anxious teenage girl. It’s a powerful movie in which the lead, Kayla, (in a sublime performance from Elsie Fisher), navigates her way through friendships, romance and the internet. Her single Dad faces all her teenage moods with patience and love, and their bond will make you shed a tear. Moving, thoughtful, funny and sad all at once. A five-star film.
Director: Bo Burnham
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
This one became a Netflix juggernaut with two sequels churned out in quick succession. Each one has its merits but it’s the original which I really fell in love with. Lara Jean is a shy high school girl who lives with her two sisters and widower Dad. A box full of old love letters to all the boys she has ever loved get sent out and her comfortable, boy-free life is changed forever. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo are both equally gorgeous as the leads, and the story keeps you guessing throughout. A delight of a film.
Director: Susan Johnson
So there you have it – I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and love these movies as much as I do. Because if you don’t, you can’t sit with us. #onwednesdayswewearpink
Have you seen any or all of the films on this list – do you have a favourite?! Which films would you recommend? Drop us a line at email@example.com or leave us a comment on our socials.
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