The 10 Best End-Of-School Movies

I’ve been out of high school for almost ten years now and yet I still have an affinity for watching these movies. Is it because I loved and really miss high school? God no – absolutely not. It’s because I remember watching some of these when I was in middle school and really, really anticipating my high school years and hoping they’d be something like these movies. They were not. But that’s cool, ‘cause, as it tends to, life gets a lot better once you turn 21. In so many respects. But that’s another post.

You may not agree with some of these choices since, you know, you’re a human with opinions of your own, so be forewarned.

10. With Honors

With Honors

Considering that I haven’t seen this movie in possibly fifteen years, it still deserves to be list-worthy. When I was a kid I was bold enough to list it as my favourite movie up until I was twelve years old. I feel like Joe Pesci was really hoping for this to be the role he’d be remembered for (maybe I’m way off on that), and he made quite an impression on me at the time. The man’s great. Brendan Fraser’s in it, too. I don’t know why I told you that, though. That helps nothing here.

9. Pretty In Pink

Pretty in Pink
Pretty in Pink

Now this is really just on the list ’cause of James Spader. Look at that man. What a dick! And what a dreamboat. I saw this movie when I was nine and it was the first time I thought, “Oh man, he’s such an asshole… I could probably change him, though. *Swwwwoooonnnn*” So that’s memorable for me and made it a pretty enjoyable film. (Sidenote: I never understood why any teen boy was ever into Molly Ringwald. I always thought it was ’cause of her adorable name ‘Molly’ but then abandoned that idea since boys seemed to care about smiling and boobs and not how precious a girl’s name was.)

8. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Fast Times at Ridgemont High

I saw this when I was probably too young, but will cherish it forever. That moment when Judge Reinhold is dreaming about Phoebe Cates taking her swimsuit off? Man. I was just a kid, but that was intense for anyone who saw it. Also, all the abortion stuff in the movie? That was pretty risqué for me to see at such a tender age, so that made me love it even more. The one thought that I remember having after seeing this at the time? “All those kids are having sex too young. Where the hell are their parents?” I also remember thinking, “Sean Penn doesn’t seem like a good actor, I hope he has other skills.”

7. Adventureland


I can’t really pinpoint why I liked this one so much. Maybe ’cause it seems so hard to do an end-of-school movie that’s actually good nowadays? Maybe that’s what impressed me? Or maybe it’s ’cause Kristen Wiig can do no wrong and Bill Hader is perfect. They should’ve had way more screen time.

6. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Everything about this movie makes me happy. Cameron, the reckless driving, the sneakiness, the fancy lunch, the shitty sister, the pool, the dancing, the parade, all of it. Just makes me feel good inside. I’ve been waiting for the day that I can find a replica of Sloane Peterson’s jacket so I can complete the finest Halloween costume that no one will ever get (those shorts were surprising easy to find).

5. Police Academy 2

Police Academy 2
Police Academy 2

Now this one definitely does not fall into the aforementioned category, I’m aware. Why am I including it? Only because I would watch this movie and the beautiful sequels almost every other day during any of my summers off school. It’s hard to remember why I found them so entertaining, to be honest. It was probably their image of what “the city” was like. So rugged, so dangerous. To this day, they make me immensely happy. I think we’ve all been searching for our Sgt. Mahoney. Guttenberg was/is a gem. Did you see him on Party Down? Just great.

4. Can’t Hardly Wait

Can't Hardly Wait
Can’t Hardly Wait

All right, all right, I know what you’re thinking. But have you seen this movie? Did you see it when it came out? ‘Cause it’s still a great one. Maybe I’m swayed by my brother thinking that this was the greatest thing to come out of the nineties, or maybe in time you’ll see how good this movie actually was. Ethan Embry just looks like a puppy in it, does that make sense? How is that a bad thing? Just sweet as hell.

3. Jack


This is my absolute favourite Francis Ford Coppola movie. Say what you will and cast your judgements — Robin Williams is perfection in this movie. PERFECTION. Love, love, love. And Jennifer Lopez looking all young and shit? Too hot.

2. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

I love this movie intimately. Definitely better than Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Why? No idea. Just watched it a billion times as a child and fell in love with the Robbi Rob song “In Time” that’s on the soundtrack. Also, the story is solid as hell. My brother recently told me that he thought of the perfect way that someone should propose to me. (Is that normal? It’s fine, we’re just close.) He said that the dude should play that song in the movie for me and strum his hands in the air à la Bill & Ted in this scene, and then say, “Let’s be excellent to each other.” …And my mouth fucking DROPPED at how perfect an idea that was. In reality, I don’t actually want that – but what a brilliant idea. Maybe if I marry Keanu Reeves – yeah, that’d be amazing in that case.

1. Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused

If this is an obvious choice for number one, well, good! I hope it is! There is no other option, in my opinion. I make sure to watch this every single June, I love it so. Makes me feel young again. Maybe it’s that Aerosmith song that makes it perfect – or maybe it’s because it forces me to remember the incomparable Nicky Katt from TV’s Boston Public. Whatever it is, just a fine piece of movie right here.

Please don’t raise your voice at the fact that movies like American Pie or Ghost World didn’t make the cut. You want to include them on your list? Go ahead! I’d love to hear what you got and why. (Edit note: Sorry about being rough on Brendan Fraser. Don’t know where that came from.) Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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