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Films for Graduates

As summer approaches, students are looking for some films to celebrate either graduation of just making it through the year. Here is a list of seven essential high school films every young person needs to see.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Perks of Being a Wallflower: Follows high school freshman Charlie and his new friendship with two older students Sam and Patrick, as well as his struggle with mental health. Based on the novel of the same title, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a defining entry in the coming-of-age genre. It is an extremely emotional and meaningful exploration of trauma and being young. This film is full of beautiful moments and music.

Booksmart (2019)

Booksmart:  After realizing they’ve had no fun in high school, two studious girls decide to try and track down their classmates' huge house party before they graduate. Along the way they face fellow graduates, former teachers, and copious amounts of hard-core drugs. Booksmart is a hilarious, wacky and fun film. Written and directed by Oliva Wilde and featuring a fantastic cast and queer characters, Booksmart is the perfect graduation movie. 

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Dazed and Confused: Dazed and Confused is an absolute high school classic. Set in 1970s Texas, groups of teenagers experience the last day of school in various different ways. The younger kids avoid hazing rituals, the older kids avoid signing pledges for their sports teams and everyone avoids thinking about their futures. Full of realistic and relatable conversations and plotlines. Features an extremely notable soundtrack full of 70s rock and some fantastic cinematography. Directed by Richard Linklater who is known for natural slice of life style cinema. 

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a must see for anyone in high school. Senior high school student Ferris Bueller fakes an illness to spend a day getting into shenanigans across Chicago with his best friend and girlfriend. A hilarious and playful movie, as well as extremely quintessential. 

Heathers (1988)

Heathers: Heathers is an incredibly unique movie about hot people killing each other. Veronica, a junior, is reluctantly a part of the popular crew in school, referred to as the Heathers. When looking for a way out of participating in their mischievousness, Veronica’s new boyfriend J.D. murders one of the Heathers. This film is an endlessly quotable cult classic complete with well written dialogue and amazing costuming and colors.  

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You: Based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You is a light romantic comedy perfect for high school. When young jgl transfers to a school on the west coast he sets his romantic sights on the most desired girl in school. Unfortunately, she is not allowed to date until her sister does, an outwardly mean and stubborn senior. JGL decides that the best person to take her out is a scary Australian played by heath ledger, who is equally as stubborn and outcast. Hysterical and amusing, 10 Things I Hate About You is one of the best late 90s rom-coms around. 

American Graffiti (1973)

American Graffiti: Similar to Dazed and Confused, American Graffiti revolves around young people experiencing a night before their lives begin. Set in the early 60s and full of oldies classics, American Graffiti is director George Lucas before the success of the Star Wars franchise. It is a down to earth and distinctive entry in the filmmaker’s filmography and certainly worth any graduate’s time. 

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