Remembering John Hughes: 10 most totally awesome high school movies

As a child of the 80’s, my expectations of high school life were indelibly shaped by John Hughes, the king of the teen movie. Reality, of course, never lived up to the John Hughes fantasy. I never attended a party anything like the rager at Jake’s house in Sixteen Candles. Never managed to cram an Astros game, trip to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, a ride to the top of Chase Tower, crashing either of the MLK Day parades and lunch at Vargo’s into a school day.

But Mr. Hughes gave those of us in the Nimitz High School class of 1992 something to shoot for.

So, in honor of John Hughes, here’s my list of the 10 most totally awesome movies set in a high school. Thanks to my Chronicle colleagues, who flooded my in-box with suggestions. Here they are, in no particular order, except for the Breakfast Club, which is first because it’s the best and if you disagree we can’t be friends.

What’s on your list?

The Breakfast Club

If you didn’t spend at least one night parked on an abandoned road with your buddies quoting lines from this movie, you didn’t attend high school from 1985 to 1995.

“Did I stutter?”

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“Nine times.”

Sixteen Candles

“Can I borrow your underpants?”

To Sir, With Love

Sidney Poitier. A serious dude with serious moves.

Back to the Future

“Give me a milk. Chocolate.”

The Last Picture Show

Cloris Leachman, before the unfortunate dancing experiment

Better Off Dead

“I want my two dollars.”

Can’t Buy Me Love

I mowed lawns for cash in high school, too. That’s where the similarities between Patrick Dempsey and me end.

Napoleon Dynamite

“Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh.”


The first mean girls

Heck, let’s make it 15.


“I don’t know. Maybe there’s two of us.”

Cooley High

“Why don’t you go somewhere?”


Somehow, I don’t think it’s like this at HSPVA.


Matthew Broderick ain’t Ferris no more.

Summer School

I watched this movie on cable around 50 times one summer. Maybe that’s why I married a woman who’s a dead ringer for Courtney Thorne Smith.


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