School will be back to school soon, or maybe it will, or it will be for some students and not for others, and does not even tell us who will wear masks and who will not. .
It’s confusing, that’s how it is. And when we’re confused, we like to do what Americans always do when they don’t know how to behave in certain circumstances: we watch how the characters deal with the same issues in movies and on TV.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled this collection of some of our favorite school movies and TV shows. We limited ourselves to high school movies and shows because nobody really makes them about elementary school, and college just doesn’t have the same back-to-school feeling.
Plus, there are so many great high school sports shows and movies that we decided not to include them here.
These shows entertain us, enlighten us and inform us. They can make us nostalgic for our old school days – or make us happy to be done with them. For those who are still in school, the films can serve as a kind of guide through their hectic adolescence.
We still don’t know what to do with the masks, but we’re betting they’ll be a big feature in upcoming movies and shows for the next few years.
“Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1939): This is one of the best teardrop movies of all time. Robert Donat stars as a teacher who over decades has gone from awkward and hated to universally loved, all because of the love of his wife, the sublime Greer Garson in her first role.
“Blackboard Jungle” (1955): Possibly the best of its kind showing an idealistic new teacher coming to a downtown school and being severely tested by picky students on the streets, ultimately helping at least a few of them. Glenn Ford plays the role of the teacher, with Sidney Poitier not young as the most rebellious but also the most promising pupil.
“To Sir, With Love” (1967): Twelve years after playing the struggling student in “Blackboard Jungle”, Poitier takes on the role of the innovative teacher dealing with struggling students and shaping their minds and lives. Poitier is at its peak here – it was the same year as “In the Heat of the Night” – but perhaps the film is best known for its popular theme song.
“Carrie” (1976): Maybe it was a bad idea to poke fun at the shy, belated Carrie after all. Sissy Spacek has become a star as a bullied teenager with unsuspected talents. The film is based on Stephen King’s first published novel, so the vengeful climax is bloody, violent, and somehow richly satisfying.
“Grease” (1978): Broadway’s oldest musical (at the time) was turned into a blockbuster movie. The characters of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and their friends may have been caricatures, but they were very entertaining caricatures. And that soundtrack, including a few songs written especially for the movie, made the whole country sing.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986): this playful comedy is less about school than about the joys of not being in school. Matthew Broderick is charming as a college student who decides to take the day off with his girlfriend and enjoy all the fun Chicago has to offer. John Hughes’ film also features a cherry red Ferrari and the most boring economics talk ever.
“Dead Poets Society” (1989): This time it’s Robin Williams as the noble, unorthodox-style teacher who makes the difference in the lives of his students. History here is touched by tragedy, but the film is perhaps the most notable for introducing an entire generation to the term carpe diem and Walt Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My captain!”
“Heathers” (1989): The filmmakers have invented a whole new language of slang for this dark comedy about a rebellious girl (Winona Ryder) who falls in love with the worst bad boys in school (Christian Slater). Together, they take revenge on the school’s ruling clique, but he’s more into her. It’s a cynical and happily nihilistic comedy.
“House Party” (1990): Today considered a cult film, it’s an explosion and a half. Written and directed by Reginald Hudlin, of East St. Louis, the comedy features early hip-hop stars Kid n ‘Play as friendly teenagers who get in trouble when they try to go to a big party. The impressive supporting cast includes big names in comedy (Martin Lawrence, John Witherspoon) and music (Full Force, George Clinton).
“Clueless” (1995): Jane Austen’s “Emma” is updated in the mid-90s Beverly Hills. Alicia Silverstone is adorable as Cher, a teenage girl whose efforts to reunite two teachers make her think she is a born matchmaker. She is wrong. But eventually, she learns that she’s less superficial than she thinks – and also that Paul Rudd is surprisingly cute.
“Mean Girls” (2004): It’s a comedy, but it’s deeper than it first appears. Lindsay Lohan stars as a new student at a new school in a new country, and she is shocked to discover that her class is run by a powerful clique of three girls. She joins the clique to spy on them, but – and this is the deep end – learns almost too late that we are becoming what we claim to be. The extra-spiritual script is by Tina Fey.
“The Benefits of Being a Wallflower” (2012): One way or another, this story of depression, PTSD, repressed memories of sexual assault, sadly locked up homosexuality, lack of friendship , suicide and violence turns out to be rather… sweet. Logan Lerman stars as a goofy, damaged boy who finds acceptance and love from his two new friends, Emma Watson and his half-brother, Ezra Miller.
“Our Miss Brooks” (1952-56): Eve Arden stars as a sarcastic English teacher who happily wrestles with her pompous principal while trying to get the attention of a certain biology professor and guiding the education of his students, especially Richard Crenna. The series began as a radio show, and it remained on the radio even while separate episodes were broadcast on television.
“Room 222” (1969-74): One of the first TV shows with a black central character, this awesome sitcom didn’t shy away from discussing the issues of the day. Lloyd Haynes plays the role of a history teacher, beloved by students and faculty alike, who wisely makes a difference in the lives of everyone around him, including a young professor played by Karen Valentine. The oddly unforgettable theme song is by Jerry Goldsmith.
“Welcome Back, Kotter” (1975-79): the noble-teacher-inspiring-his-students genre is transformed into a sitcom, with a big twist: the teacher has returned to his own high school. Gabe Kaplan plays the wise and lovable social studies teacher who sees potential in a classroom full of lazy and losers, most notably John Travolta. The theme song, also unforgettable, was a No. 1 hit for John Sebastian.
“Saved by the Bell” (1989-93): Set almost entirely in a high school, this generational sitcom focuses on the friendship of a group of clearly defined character types: the charismatic schemer, the nerd, the feminist, the American All-Girl, the sportsman and the rich girl. A friendly manager helps them get through their teenage mini-crises.
“My So-Called Life” (1994-95): Widely regarded as the first show to portray high school as a difficult place for teenagers to navigate, this critical favorite only lasted remarkably for one season. The show marked the debut for star Claire Danes and was Jared Leto’s first major role. Twenty-five years later, we still think Danes’ character Angela ended up with the wrong guy. # TeamBrian
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003): All poor Buffy wants is a normal teenage life. But she was chosen, and received certain gifts, to fight the supernatural forces of evil: vampires, of course, but also ghosts, werewolves, zombies and an assortment of evil humans. the stars of Sarah Michelle Gellar; the strong supporting cast includes Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendan and David Boreanaz.
“Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003): Two gorgeous teenage boys and a gorgeous teenage girl are all friends – what could go wrong? James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson were the immediate stars, but it was Michelle Williams, their sadly doomed best friend, who had the most important and enduring career.
“Freaks and Geeks” (1999-2000): Like “My So-Called Life”, this highly influential comedy-drama lasted only one season, only 18 episodes. He follows members of the two less popular cliques to school, with star pupil Linda Cardellini trying to demean herself to accommodate her new friends. Executive producer Judd Apatow used much of the cast in several of his later projects.
“Gilmore Girls” (2000-07): Although the main focus of this dramatic comedy is on the close relationship between mother and teenage daughter, most of the girl’s problems and concerns relate to her school and her life. his friends. Never a big hit, the show has developed a solid reputation since it left the air. With Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel.
“Smallville” (2001-11): Focusing on Superman’s teenage years (and later), this surprisingly long drama initially uses Clark Kent’s burgeoning superpowers as a metaphor for the physical and emotional changes of adolescence. His focus later changes to the not yet new superhero’s desire to fight for truth, justice, and the American Way.
“Glee” (2009-15): Be honest: If someone had told you in 2008 that there would be a hit TV show centered around a high school glee club, you would have thought they were crazy. Supermarkets learn that there are few teenage problems, romantic or otherwise, that can’t be solved by singing a good song.
“Never Have I Ever” (2020-present): Funnier than most high school shows – or most shows, for that matter. In this half-hour-long comedy, the main character is an outsider, of course, but this time she is of Indian descent. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan plays the role of Devi; although intelligent and driven in her studies, she is well-meaning yet ignorant and has a knack for saying and doing the wrong thing.
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