Movies Set in a High School


As I’m writing this, Jay and Sean must be driving home from Sean’s twenty-year reunion. It’s got all of us thinking back to our high school days and our favourite high school reunion movies. Funny how Wandering Through the Shelves seems to be on the wavelength.

grosse pointe blank

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)Jay revisited this one just a couple of weeks ago preparing for the reunion. John Cusack has never been cooler as a hit man coming home to his own ten-year reunion. First of all, I’m a sucker for Prodigal Son Returns movies. Second, I loved seeing Cusack return to high school since many of us remember him from ten years earlier in high school movies like Say Anything. Oh, and the soundtrack is just perfect.

election Election (1999)– Speaking of actors we knew from high school, Ferris Bueller is back as a teacher trying to sabotage an election for school president. Director Alexander Payne is the master of cringe-worthy moments and the satire always rings true. There were definately some Tracy Flicks in my school. Both Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon do their best work ever here.


Elephant (2003)– Here’s one I’ll never forget. Gus Van Sant offers no theories or explanations as to what the motivations of the shooters were in his depiction of a high school massacre. Based in part on the Columbine shootings, we follow several students through what at first appears to be just an ordinary day at school. Once the massacre begins, the film is harrowing and unflinching, refusing to even try to make sense of things.


22 thoughts on “Movies Set in a High School

      1. Jay

        Ha, it IS good news, but I’m guilty of doign the same thing all the time, always wondering which poor schmuck it really is.


      2. Matt

        I love Sidney Poitier and am relieved to hear that he’s still with us. I watched To Sir with Love for the first time about a year ago and liked it a lot. I even like the song.


  1. joelnox

    I liked but didn’t love Grosse Point Blank but Election, a popular choice this week, is a sharp satire and both Broderick and Reese are tops. I’ve heard of Elephant but haven’t seen it yet.

    One of my picks is an Australian film that got a microscopic release in the States I wonder if it got a wider one in its country of origin, in tone if not in story it seems akin to Elephant.

    Here’s mine for the week, my extra is the Australian film:

    Brick (2005)-Attempt to make a modern noir in a high school setting is unique for sure. Laced with deadpan humor and anchored by a strong performance from Joseph Gordon Levitt as a loner who involves himself with a drug ring to try and find out what’s happened to his girlfriend when she disappears.

    School Ties (1992)-In the 1950’s David Greene, a Jewish teen, wins a football scholarship to an Ivy League prep school, advised by the coach he keeps his faith to himself. Despite some cultural differences he is welcomed into the elite group at first, he grows close with the young men, falls for a girl and all is well. However eventually his secret is discovered and along with simmering resentments the prejudice of some conspire to put at risk all he has achieved and his hopes for the future. The cast is filled with actors, Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris O’Donnell, who at the time were on the rise.

    Up the Down Staircase (1967)-Well acted drama of a young teacher’s struggle to adapt to a tough inner city school. Some of the sheen has worn off the topicality of the issue since there have been many versions of it but this is a fine rendering of the tale with excellent direction from Robert Mulligan. In the lead Sandy Dennis is the best she ever was on screen keeping her signature flutters and twitches to a minimum.

    Honorable Mention-2:37 (2006)-Dark complex drama of the interwoven lives of a group of high school students and a horrendous tragedy that binds them together. Small Aussie drama was one of the first credits for currently rising actress Teresa Palmer, has some very unsavory elements and is grim, grim, grim but well-acted.


    1. mattasshole Post author

      I love Brick! That’s where I first became a fan of JGL. Last time I saw School Ties, Matt Damon was still the dick from School Ties so it’s been awhile but I remember liking it.


  2. Myerla

    I don’t care how odd this may sound, but being a hitman is my fantasy job not dream job but fantasy job, one that I see unrealistic and unobtainable. Just seems like a cool job.

    I do like Grosse Point Blank and Election. Haven’t elephant but it does look very interesting.


    1. mattasshole Post author

      I think about being a hit man all the time. See the world, make lots of money, get up to lots of mischief. I’d be a nice one though that only kills bad people. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one that thinks of that. Thanks, Myerla.


  3. mattasshole Post author

    Thanks! I highly recommend Election. Such merciless satire from the director of About Schmidt, The Descendents, and Nebraska- all of which have gotten much love already from Thursday movie picks.


  4. Wendell

    Sad, but I’ve missed all of these. To be fair, I avoided election, because, um…Witherspoon. Still debating whether I’m going to watch The Wild one of these days. Been meaning to check out Grosse Point Blank forever, though.


  5. Pingback: TIFF 2017: Bingo! I Got Bingo!, Part 3 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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