For much of the country, today is the first day of school. And more than recalling any of my own first days, I picture scenes from movies depicting first days. There's Grease, obviously, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Billy Madison, Dead Poets Society, all of the Harry Potter movies and the first Twilight. Or does that last one involve a mid-year transfer like so many other films about outsiders?
In any event, today's discussion is not specifically about first-day-of-school and new-kid-at-school scenes. In fact, it doesn't even necessarily have to be about movies set at school. Nostalgia can go in different ways, and so the question of which movies remind us most of our school days can be answered with either of the following: high school movies we feel best depict or represent what it was like for us, or any films we memorably saw and/or cherished while in school.
With the former, I tend to immediately go to Back to School, because I felt as old as Rodney Dangerfield when I went back to finish my undergrad degree when I was 30. As for high school depictions, I was especially amused by the relatively clique-free modern high school in the recent 21 Jump Street movie. When I got to ninth grade, I was rather surprised the school didn't have the kind of social caste system I'd expected thanks to John Hughes movies and Heathers, and if this is truly how high schools are now then we were apparently ahead of our time in Connecticut.
The latter response is more difficult for me. I could say Forrest Gump since that was my first date or Schindler's List since I fell asleep watching it at a friend's house after school and still haven't gotten around to seeing the whole thing or Stand By Me because I used to walk home from junior high along railroad tracks or Simple Men because I couldn't seem to get anyone in school to appreciate Hal Hartley with me. But I don't really associate any of these with school so much as experiences I had growing up.
Which movies remind us most of our school days? Here some responses received so far via Twitter:
Join the next discussion on Twiter by following Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic) and Movies.com (@Moviesdotcom).