Generally a high school party goes something like this: So-and-so’s parents are out of town, and they decide to have people over. The news filters through school and makes its way to you and your friend group. You weigh your weekend options and decide that it could be fun to go, plus maybe your crush is going too, so there’s a chance you could hook up at some point during the evening’s festivities. You and your friends wrestle up some alcohol (most likely from your parents’ liquor cabinet or some sketchy gas station that sells to minors) and go over to So-and-so’s parents’ house ready to rage, hoping for the best, and praying that the booze doesn’t run out and you’ll have a night full of fun memories. However, the general experience of being at a high school party is sub-par. You hang out, drink, watch your crush flirt with someone else, maybe do some drugs, and definitely try to hide whatever it is you’ve been doing all night from your parents when you get home. It’s stressful, and decidedly un-glam. But high school parties in movies are the bomb! So here are five high school movie parties I wish I could attend IRL.
1. Jake Ryan’s Post-Dance House Party In Sixteen Candles
I watched Sixteen Candles for the first time in middle school and was utterly blown away by the hotness that was Jake Ryan. He completely informed what I thought high school guys were going to be/look like: (tall, chiseled jawlines, muscular, into me) which made me beyond excited to waltz into my freshman year and score a dream boyfriend. What I didn’t realize is that the actor who plays Jake is like, 29 in this movie, as are all the actors in almost every high school movie ever made, so you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the male population of my high school did not quite meet my fantasy standards.
Although he’s a mega babe, Jake Ryan spends the majority of the party acting like a sourpuss and being a dick to his GF, Caroline, which is lame. I get that he didn’t want to have people over in the first place, and he’s into Sam, but it would be nice if he could just chill out and try to enjoy himself. Either that or set some fucking boundaries and don’t give into peer pressure! As his behavior at the party clearly demonstrates, Jake has a lot of learning and personal development ahead of him, so going to this party and attempting to hook up with him would be futile. I’d want to go and get in with Caroline and her besties. They’re all wasted and having the time of their goddamned lives! They’re parading around in Jake’s mom’s furs and pearls and crawling around on the floor and lol-ing and helping Caroline out by cutting her hair off when she gets it stuck in a door frame (thanks to Jake the drip, might I add). I’d fit right in with these ladies, so count me in.
2. The Party at the Moontower in Dazed And Confused
Dazed and Confused speaks to me on so many levels. Not only does this film take place in my favorite sartorial era, the 70s, but it also captures the fact that there’s not much to do for fun in small towns when you’re underage. You drive around, killing time and waiting for a something (anything) to happen. And house parties are pretty few and far between because it all depends on people’s parents either leaving town or being “cool parents” who let teenagers drink in their home, so a lot of times you end up hanging out in like…open spaces.
In Oklahoma City, where I grew up and went to high school for a few years, there were literally random fields and farms where everyone would gather on the weekends and rage. I’m pretty sure one of these party fields was off a highway exit ramp. Like, you got there by exiting the actual exit ramp and off-roading into a fucking field. That’s just good, old-fashioned country fun y’all! All it would take is a few people rallying and being like “party at the [insert field location] and within half an hour everyone from our high school with a social life would be there. Usually someone would bring a keg or beer and we’d all get wasted and smoke weed in each other’s cars until the cops showed up. And then everyone would scatter and drive home. Very similar to the Moontower party situation, but with less hotties in bellbottoms. I’d be more than thrilled to cruise around in vintage cars all night with young Jeremy London and his crew of stoner friends and football players before ending up at the Moontower. Vintage country fun!
3. The Capulet’s Masquerade Ball In Romeo + Juliet
Okay, this isn’t technically a “high school party,” but I’m pretty sure Romeo, Juliet and most of their friends are supposed to be teenagers according to Shakespeare, and they all go to this ball in the movie, so it gets to be on the list.
The masquerade ball takes place at the Capulets’ Mansion, which is massive and opulent and there are fireworks and Mercutio’s in drag leading amazing choreographed dances. What’s not to love? Also it’s a serious costume party, which means nobody’s phoned it in by going as Justin Bieber circa 2012. No no. Everyone in attendance is working a look. The crowd is a high/low mix of wealthy party people and straight-up sexy AF criminals, i.e. Romeo and his whole crew. They arrive on the scene hopped up on E, swerving around in a convertible and waving their guns into the night air, and even though the tuxedo’d security guards manning the door are stern as hell, they understand that a truly fun masquerade ball must be both exclusive and a little dangerous. So they decide to turn a blind eye to the Montague boys’ tomfoolery and let them all in. Loves it.
Inside, everyone is getting shitfaced and ignoring the fact that they’re all sworn enemies (which is my MO at parties, so I feel like this ball would be my jam). Juliet’s mom is on a LEVEL—she’s practically unhinged and making out with her nephew Tybalt, and let’s not forget that Romeo is actually a young Leo in the prime of his life, and if that’s not your thing there’s also a young Paul Rudd in a spacesuit, so you do the math. It’s a can’t-miss scenario. Take me there!
4. The Post-Graduation Party In Can’t Hardly Wait
This party is amazing because it’s the kind of party where anything can (and does) happen. Everyone’s down to wile out, and all the different high school crowds are represented. You could hang out with anyone you want at this party, and the dark vibes are at a minimum. Like, Jerry O’Connell is lurking in the shadows, but he’s still pretty sexy. The crazy girl is walking around calling people sheep, which makes for lols. Amanda Beckett makes a dramatic entrance while her powerful hair blows in the breeze, and Mike Dexter gets publicly shamed which is probably really cathartic for all the people he was an asshole to in high school. There’s also a fucking live band?! There was never a live band at any house party I went to in high school. This party is a no darkness affair: everyone’s hanging out, enjoying themselves and trying to hook up or tie up loose ends before they head off to college. Positive vibes abound.
5. The Random House Party In The Craft
Not all parties are fun. Some parties are dark, horrific experiences that will stay with you forever. And this party falls into the latter category. First of all, it’s a party full of Catholic School kids, and Catholic School kids take drinking and drugging and all sorts of other teenage shenanigans to the next level. I know this because I went to a Catholic school for three months during my junior year of high school before getting kicked out for doing exactly that. You have to wear a uniform to school every day while being oppressed by nuns who are up your ass 24/7, and are more concerned about making you memorize bible verses than letting you live your damn life. It sucks. So house parties on the weekends become outlets to blow off some steam by doing blow and blowing your boyfriend, which is what everyone at this particular party probably set out to accomplish.
But cutting loose and feeling free at this little get together is difficult because Lizzie, the pretty girl from the swim team who also happens to be a racist cunt played by Christine Taylor, has randomly lost all her hair and is walking around wearing a god-awful wig and acting sugary sweet to everyone. I don’t know about you, but interfacing with that kind of energy would fuck me up. And as if that’s not bizarre enough, Nancy The Witch (Fairuza Balk, God bless her) shows up uninvited, looking like a literal nightmare cometh to life, and goes upstairs to the bedroom with the hottest guy in school. Wtf?! And then she straight up murders him by like, mentally hurling him out a window! A week later she’s in a mental institution forever.
You might be asking yourself, “Of all the movie parties in existence, why would anyone want to go to this fiesta of terror?” I’ll tell you why: It would be hilarious. Not right away, not even five years later, but in 10 or so years, once you’ve gone through the right amount of therapy and reached your 30s and you’re semi well adjusted, you’d be able to look back on what happened that night and lol about it with your friends. Trust. It would make an amazing story. Dark experiences either drive you to insanity or make you 1000 times stronger/more interesting. So going to this party would be a long-term lol investment for me.