- By Kim
- 2 September, 2013
- Comments Off
It’s Labor Day, today! It’s a day for celebrating the achievements of hard working people everywhere. And what do workers like?
Taking the day off and doing nothing! YAY!
Okay, maybe that’s what I like to do, but I’m pretty sure millions of Americans feel the same way. We celebrate this holiday by relaxing in all of our favorite ways. Mine just happens to be catching up on TV with some terrific snacks, while the warm breeze filters through the apartment. Sometimes I even take a nap.
Labor Day also traditionally signifies the end of summer and the time when kids return back to school. We’re knee deep in back to school flurries, so I thought it would be fun to list a few movies to get the kids into education mode. Netflix’ Instant Watch is filled with movies about kids, teens and school. If nothing else, these are some fun movies to stream as you stuff yourself full of grilled foods with your friends.
Back to School – Of course I had to start the list off with this campy classic. While not the best movie on this list, the film really highlights what Rodney Dangerfield was masterful at: executing the perfect one-liner. The premise is simple. Dangerfield plays a wealthy, but uneducated father who enrolls in college with his son to show him the value of gaining an education. And of course, the old guy becomes a hit on campus. Be sure to check out a very young Robert Downey Jr. and a cameo by Kurt Vonnegut.
The Breakfast Club – Now THIS movie may be one of the greatest school-themed movies of all time. Written and directed by 80s teen movie emperor, John Hughes, this movie explores universal adolescent themes such as alienation, stereotyping, and rebelling against authority. Starring core members of the Brat Pack (a media-dubbed group of up and coming actors and actresses), The Breakfast Club tells the story of seemingly different kids from separate cliques who are forced to interact with each other during detention. As they get to know one another, they begin to realize that they aren’t so different after all. Aww. Look how young and cute everyone is!
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – If you’re going to mention John Hughes 80s teen movies, this one is also going to come up in the discussion. To contrast with The Breakfast Club’s reminder of how painful adolescence can be, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off shows us the joys and frivolousness of youth. Ferris Buellar is the kind of kid we all wished we could be – daring, smooth-talking, and able to make the party wherever he is. Hell, he’s the kind of adult I wish I could be. As you can tell from the title, the movie is about a boy who plays hooky from school. Hmm. Maybe this isn’t the best movie to recommend to those returning to school… Bonus: Check out how sexy Charlie Sheen used to be. *sigh* What a waste.
Heathers - Yes, the 80s were a goldmine of teen movies. This one remains one of my favorites as it was played on Comedy Central relentlessly during the 90s. Due to it’s dark subject matter, this movie retains its edge after all these years. It still remains popular today since the script was so well written – satire hidden in a teen movie. After all, without Heathers, there would have never been Mean Girls, Easy A, or Saved. Winona Ryder plays a girl navigating the social minefield of high school. She gets in with the most popular girls at school, but finds herself drawn towards a sociopathic new student (Christian Slater). Suddenly, does suicide become de rigueur?
Clueless – This movie is close to my heart since I was a teenager when it released in the 90s. My friends and I saw it on opening weekend and couldn’t stop talking about it. We quickly adopted the movie’s slang and Paul Rudd as our new crush. It is my Breakfast Club. Contrasted with all the other 80s movies on this list, this movie is pure 90s, complete with skaters boys, Buns of Steel and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. However, at its center, this is an old story retold – Jane Austen’s Emma. A wealthy girl entertains herself by meddling in other people’s lives, only to realize that some of the consequences are not to her liking. This is still Alicia Silverstone’s best and most famous role, and she is the pitch perfect heroine, Cher.
High School Musical – How many of these movies are there? I’m not sure, but it was the gem in Disney’s crown during the 2000s. Full of squeaky-voiced, pimple-free teenagers, this is the movie you can safely bring out when grandma visits. I know there are other edgier teen high school movies made in the aughts, but since I’ve more or less put these movies in chronological order, you can’t help but see what a difference 25 years makes. Could a talky, introspective John Hughes movie get made today? Anyway, what High School Musical lacks in depth, it makes up for with sugar and gloss. This is a movie made for pre-teens and their anticipation of what high school is like. Fun! Sports! Music! Crushes! Gym Class! So Much Homework! It’s an Archie Comic come to life on-screen. The plot is basically boy-meets-girl with some musical theater drama thrown in. Perfectly fun, light-hearted fare for a family.
BONUS: GLEE – While not a movie, Glee is a fun TV show that has swept the world in recent years. Picking up where High School Musical left off, Glee combines comedy, drama and music into a shiny, appealing format. The show has introduced many young people to music from the past and adults to current hits. While its popularity has cooled off somewhat since its overwhelmingly popular first season, the show has been a great vehicle for opening the conversation on both teen issues (bullying, pregnancy) as well as larger social issues (LGBT rights, disabilities, drug use) to the mainstream. Now, I could bring up all of the talented kids this TV show has spawned, but I’m not. I’m most grateful that Glee has brought the awesome Jane Lynch into the spotlight where she belongs. The kids are great, but Lynch’s Sue Sylvester is the antagonist we all deserve.
Heathers image owned by New World Pictures
Back to School image owned by Orion Pictures
High School Musical image owned by: Disney Channel Original movies