By Jessica Marshall
It’s time for another reunion… the big-screen kind.
This time, it’s “10 Years,” the story of a group of cohorts who return to their hometown for their 10th high school reunion. An all-star cast featuring Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Justin Long and Oscar Isaac gathers to act out one of the most popular American fantasies– being able to relive all that delicious high school drama in one glorious night by revisiting old flames, rivalries and friendships with ten additional years of life experience.
Much like experiencing a real reunion, however, you can’t fully appreciate the value of a good reunion movie until you’ve seen a few already. Here are ten classic reunion films to get you in a “10 Years” mood:
“Peggy Sue Got Married”
The last thing you probably want to do after you separate from your cheating husband is attend your 25th high school reunion. But Peggy Sue Bodell (Kathleen Turner) sucks it up and goes anyway. And when her no-good, cheatin’, soon-to-be-ex high school sweetheart/husband (a baby-faced Nicolas Cage) shows up just as she is being crowned Reunion Queen, the shock and stress of it all sends her fainting back to 1960, affording her the impossible chance to re-live her senior year in high school. The question is, will she make the same mistakes that lead to her sorry fate 25 years later?
The original gang from East Great Falls is back together again for a fourth round of antics, but this time, they’re all grown up. Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch and Stifler reconnect after years apart for a high school reunion, and they find out quickly that while their lives have taken them all in different directions, some things never change. Like Stifler’s mom and warm apple pie.
“Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion”
Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino show that half the fun of attending your 10th high school reunion can be making up fabulously successful fake lives to impress or intimidate your former classmates. At least that’s how they envision it in this wacky 1997 comedy based on a stage play called “Ladies Room.”
“Grosse Pointe Blank”
It’s natural to wonder what your former classmates do for a living after all these years. It’s not so natural, however, to hear that one of them is a professional assassin. But that’s the case in this 1997 dark comedy starring John Cusack and Minnie Driver. Cusack plays a contract killer who is given a hit in his hometown that just so happens to coincide with his 10th high school reunion. But things get really complicated when he discovers that his target is the father of the high school girlfriend for whom he still has a thing.
“National Lampoon’s Class Reunion”
Let’s hope your actual class reunion doesn’t happen like the one in this movie. John Hughes penned this 1982 lampoon comedy, starring longtime character actors Gerrit Graham and Michael Lerner, about a disgruntled nerd who exacts murderous revenge on his high school classmates at their 10-year reunion in retaliation for a merciless prank pulled on him during senior year.
If you tag along with your significant other to his or her high school reunion, be on alert that things can get awkward if an ex shows up. Especially if that ex is a loose cannon played by Ray Liotta. And in this 1986 comedy by Jonathan Demme, Jeff Daniels plays an uptight banker from New York who finds himself in this very situation, after he impulsively runs off with party girl Lulu (Melanie Griffith) and they wind up in her old hometown.
You’re supposed to have your life completely figured out by your 10th reunion, right? That’s the opposite of true for semi-successful New York pianist Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton) when he returns, directionless and indecisive, to his small hometown in this 1996 dramedy by Ted Demme. Hutton stars alongside Uma Thurman, Matt Dillon, Michael Rapaport, Lauren Holly and a very young but wise-beyond-her-years Natalie Portman, whose characters each help Willie find direction in their own quirky ways.
“Zack & Miri Make a Porno”
On the other hand, if it has been ten years since high school and you still don’t have your #&$ together, just start making pornos. That tack works for Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) in this 2008 Kevin Smith comedy. The reunion itself isn’t really the focus of the film, but it does play an influential role in shaping the lives of these two star-crossed and comically inept lovers.
This 2010 buddy comedy probes the slightly less mature realm of the junior high reunion. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider play a gang of old junior high teammates who won a basketball championship back in the day. Thirty years later, they reconnect when coach they all loved dies and spend a weekend living it up and completely regressing at an old lake house they’d gone to as kids. Escalating shenanigans ensue, culminating in a rematch against their former nemesis team from that long-ago game.
“The Big Chill”
This 1983 film is often hailed as the poster child of reunion films, though it isn’t about a traditional school reunion. The story is about an impromptu gathering of college friends at a vacation house in the wake of the suicide of a mutual friend 15 years after they graduate. The movie is worth watching for it’s fabulous 60s and 70s soundtrack alone, but also offers great performances by an all-star cast that includes William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Jeff Goldblum, JoBeth Williams and Glenn Close.
What’s your favorite reunion movie? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!