Once you leave school you sometimes lose track of that life. I find myself asking sometimes, what the heck are all these kids doing out of school? before I realize ... dummy, it's spring break (or Christmas break etc.). However, going to the movies is a pretty good indicator of where the school year is (other than checking an actual calendar, like most human beings). When the parking lot at the local Muvico Theatre is jam-packed on a Thursday night I know school is out and it's time to hit those 10:00 a.m. screenings lest I be overwhelmed with annoyingly bright cell phone screens complete with rapid-fire text messaging, annoying chatter, or other forms of audience mayhem. Yup, I'm an old fart at 28.
It's not all sour grapes here. The children are our future and all that jazz. And what better way to celebrate the end of the school year than with some graduation classics? Here's some of my favorite picks.
I promised myself just one John Hughes classic would make the list, and when I did that it made the selection pretty easy. Here's a movie where all the main characters truly do grow, taking the next big step in their lives. This was an era where Molly Ringwald actually graced the cover of Time Magazine. No, really.
D to the Uh. It's only one of the greatest comedies of all time and it might just be my favorite Dustin Hoffman performance to this day. Aimless college grads, do not fret because Uncle Dre has some advice ... steer clear of Rumor Has It.
I know I'm going to be skewered for not including Dazed and Confused on this list but this is the movie that knocked it off. But I must say, I'd take Lloyd Dobbler over Randall "Pink" Floyd any day. On another note, where's Ione Skye? Didn't she hook up with a Beastie Boy? Yo, Ad-Rock, what'd you do with her?
This is pretty much the ultimate graduation movie because the people in this are trying to, like, live. John Singleton has had a pretty disappointing career but this was as great a debut as it gets. Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Nia Long and Cuba Gooding Jr. (back when he acted) are all great.
Yes, I realize I'm leaving far better films off of this list. But tell me if you've been here before: you're flipping through the channels and there's like five or six very good movies on. They're usually: The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, Saving Private Ryan, A Few Good Men and The Matrix. But you change the channel just one more time and you come across it ... Back To School. Now you're stuck. It doesn't matter how good the other movies are. It's Rodney Dangerfield playing Thornton-freaking-Mellon. The great Steve Zabko in one of his quintessential '80s villain roles. Kurt Vonnegut as Kurt Vonnegut. And Robert Downey Jr. (and his hair) as Derek. Yep, you've been there.
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Dre writes three times a week for Film.com, covering Movies and DVD with his Floridian flare. E-mail him!