Thursday, September 16, 2010

5 Life Lessons From High School Movies

For all those getting ready once again to brave the school halls (the system is completely different here in Australia - we start in January, and finish in December), here are some words of wisdom from a handful of the best high school movies (need to update my DVD collection to include all of these), along with the lessons that can be learned from each one...

The Breakfast Club (1985)
"We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all" - Andrew Clark.
High school tends to force people to fit into a mold. Some kids are branded "cool," most are not. But underneath the labels, everyone has their own quirks. And it took being trapped together in Saturday detention for the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal of "The Breakfast Club" to see how much they had in common.

Heathers (1989)
"If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn't be a human being. You'd be a game show host." - Veronica Sawyer.
People always say, "High school is the greatest time of your life." But everyone who's actually in it knows better. There is the constant pressure to succeed, to fit in, and to think about the future. So it's okay if you don't feel like high school is so great. But you definitely shouldn't follow any other examples from the murderous characters in this movie.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
"Just because you're beautiful, doesn't mean you can treat people like they don't matter." - Cameron James.
Popularity determines the pecking order of high school, naturally. And attractiveness plays its part in deciding who sits on top of the totem pole. But being the center of attention doesn't give you the right to disrespect others. You never know what sort of person any of your classmates will grow up to be, or where you might run into them again after graduation.

Mean Girls (2004)
"Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter... All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you." - Cady Heron.
Name-calling. Whispered gossip. Betrayed trust. They're all standard features of high school discussions. But what does it really get you? Gaining one friend by turning on another usually insures you end up with none at all. There's enough naturally occurring drama in high school interactions; it's best not to manufacture more.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller.
Yes, high school is important. Grades, exam scores, and extracurricular activities all factor in to university applications and setting the course for your life. But it's not so important that you shouldn't allow yourself to have some fun now and again. That's not to say that skipping school is a good idea (especially not nine times in a semester), just keep things in perspective and every so often watch a movie.

What are some lessons you've learned from high school?


[photos courtesy of,,, and]


LyddieGal said...

Ahhhh so many loves!!! Actually all of them, except Heathers, which I've actually never seen. But the rest I own. And I watch Ferris Bueller's Day off yearly.

High School is an odd time for sure. Mine was full of all the teen angst you could possibly imagine.

Chic on the Cheap

MarchMusings said...

I've seen all except Heathers. Love them and you are so right-high school is great once you leave it!

Sonja said...

Aww I love these movies !!! (well ok I haven't seen all of them, but the ones, I did see... I love!
I loved my high school, the teachers, and the the students.
Learned so much from all of them!
Gahhh I think I miss it! haha

Anonymous said...

Awesome picks - though I also haven't seen Heathers. Heart the Breakfast Club something fierce.

I learned in high school that there was nothing wrong with spending time to myself. I had friends and everything, but I was a teacher's aid my last two years (lots of sitting in her office grading quizzes) and I would also use the dark room for photo projects off hours from other students. So I got to spend some time to myself and realize that I thoroughly enjoyed having the time that was free of pressure.

style-haus said...

oh this brings me back! love these movies...breakfast club is a cult classic. have to say pretty in pink is my all time fave

Josie said...

Oh, you've mentioned some of my FAVORITE movies -- love the Brat Pack. And you've picked out some wonderful lessons!
xo Josie

t.g.s said...

great advice
my school isn't like that, well my year at least isn't.
we all get along and especially now since we're all seniors and we've just grown out of those stereotypes and who's cool or not
but yeah i think before it was worse and there was definately a pressure to fit in but high school right now is good and i kinda don't want to leave year 11 yet

Death Wears Diamond Jewellery said...

fuck me gently with a chainsaw! looove every film on your list, they are all in my dvd collection :)

cathy. said...

10 Things and Mean Girls are two of my favourite high school movies ever :)


meg said...

Heathers will always stick with me as a movie ahead of its time.

Well..there are just some cliques that aren't worth the bother. The Art kids are the coolest. Drama kids just want drama.

Thanks for the note..I see that you've been there and done that with that scenario on the clothing part.

My Republic of Fashion said...

Out of all of those films, I have only ever seen Mean Girls. That is BAD. Must have a dvd day soon. :)

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I always love reading different opinions. :)SarahD

knk said...

i like this post
i think i heard this before

SabinePsynopsis said...

Love all these movies, which makes me realise that I'm a bit of a sucker for high-school films - maybe because I didn't enjoy going to high-school that much. Peer and group pressure, bitching... I guess what I learned was to do my thing, no matter what others said or thought.

Pop Champagne said...

cute lines, lol i love the means girls line where she goes "i dont hate you because you're fat... you're fat because i hate you!" haha. and that 10 things i hate about you line, gawd that's why I hate talking to models at events, they're irritating cuz they treat you like they're better than you (since they're the model, they think)

Aimee said...

Some great life lessons, I do love Mean Girls :D xx

michelle_ said...

i guess alot ? high school taught me to be stuff in times of break down whether frm friend problems or school work :)


jewel said...

lessons i've learned: life's too short to take everything seriously, perseverance, and you've got to be yourself or else you'll be surrounded by people you don't like anyway :)
i love all those films! and i've seen all of them. can you believe it?
by the way, my new job is a cleaner at a small school. it's ten hours a week but totally worth it; i get £6.33 an hour!

elizabethandcatherine said...

I love most of these movies!!!!
Liz xx

jamie-lee said...

I think you have summed it up pretty well here. One thing I learnt is that girls are nasty and will do anything to be the popular one, with absolutely no regard to the lasting effects of what their actions may have!

Turquoise and Lily said...

i love mean girls anyway.. really want to re-watch that movie :)

The Owl's Closet said...

This is an awesome post, especially for back to school season:) I had no idea that schools there start in January! I haven't seen "Mean Girls" in ages, but I love that movie hehe Back in high school, I learned that staying out of the drama and not taking sides it the way to go:) Hope you're enjoying the weekend!

jen said...

i learned that you should be nice to everyone and don't take life too seriously. needless to say, i hated high school.

The Zhush said...

Great post...hitting all my favorite high school movies at once, really brought back some fun memories!

nookie said...

that people can easily turned his/hers back on you..

shari @ little blue deer said...

Some of my favorite movies! And you're right, so much wisdom! I love Breakfast Club, and Mean Girls is my modern day fave (and I'm 36 ;)

Mat said...

ha some quality films! i didn't start learning till after school, my school was terrible.

Corrine/Frock And Roll said...

I love all of these movies! :D I really loved 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' though, and the idea of bunking off from work or school for a fun adventure!

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

You know, it's funny: maybe because I went to school in Italy, but for me middle school was WAY worse than high school. In middle school I got bullied and all kinds of crap, for no reason - I wasn't even what you could define as "a geek".

In high school I just didn't care anymore: I did what I wanted, dressed how I liked. But I think the fact is also that in the US in high school you have all those clubs, and those are a killer, because while you do a lot of extracurriculars you are also automatically placed in a specific category.

I do love high school movies, though!

Poppy said...

Ferris Buellers Day Off is one of favourites! Love the quote and the photo lots.


that ferris buellers day off is not quite my preference. too much of a hard-sale pester.



lavelle said...

ahhh breakfast club, mean girls and heathers are three of my all time favourite 'teen' films xx