Summer is officially over. School is back in session and film history is the subject of choice. Today’s lesson will introduce students to five movies they’ve probably never seen, but will enjoy nevertheless. The stories are universal. The characters are timeless and the themes transcend generations. From bullying and partying to pregnancy and suicide, these films capture the high school experience and will leave an indelible impression on the students.
Did your favorites make the list? Agree or disagree? Why or why not? Sound off below.
‘Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.’
5. “Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.” (1992)
Written and directed by Leslie Harris and produced by Nelson George, “Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.” is an urban tale of a female high school student from Brooklyn determined to defy the odds and to avoid becoming a hood statistic. Chantel Mitchell, portrayed by Ariyan Johnson, had big dreams, but was sidetracked by her hormones and taken on an unexpected journey.
‘Lean on Me’
4. “Lean on Me” (1989)
Joe Louis Clark truly lived by Malcolm X’s philosophy ‘by any means necessary’ at the Patterson, NJ high school where he was principal and the subject of the 1989 film “Lean on Me”. Controversial in nature, the film is based on the life of a high school principal, portrayed by Morgan Freeman, determined to save his school from the state, the inner city streets, the parents and the thugs threatening to overtake it.
3. “House Party” (1990)
From the opening scene to the closing credits, “House Party” delivers pure fun and excitement. Rap duo Kid N’ Play, with the assistance of Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, A.J. Johnson and the late Robin Harris, take viewers on a journey chronicling the day in the life of mischievous high school students willing to exercise extreme tactics to attend a house party.
2. “Cooley High” (1975)
Written by Eric Monte, with break out performances by Glynn Thurman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Garrett Morris, “Cooley High” chronicles the senior year of students from Chicago’s north side. No different from today’s teens, they party, they study, they date and are a little mischievous. Unfortunately, our two protagonists get in some trouble they can’t get out of and the story ends in tragedy.
‘Dead Poets Society’
1. “Dead Poets Society” (1989)
Robin Williams gives a stellar performance as English Teacher John Keating in the “Dead Poets Society” the 1989 Oscar winning film written by Tom Schulman and directed by Peter Weir. Carpe diem was the lesson taught. Though the students at this all boys boarding school in Vermont were inspired by his teachings, not everyone embraced the seize the day philosophy and conflicts ensues.