Good, Bad, Bogus School Party Movies
I did the whole high school party thing back in the day, and things did get crazy once in a while, but I never ended up with a midget in my oven. Have you seen the trailers and clip for Project X? These kids are out of their minds. But, hey, I get it; it was all about upping each other to claim party glory. You had to go big to make it memorable.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, Project X looks to raise the stakes big time, but it’s also got some serious competition to become one of the best of the best as far as school party movies go. Where will Project X fall come March 2nd? Here’s the good, bad and bogus of school party movies to give you a sense of the lay of the land.
Good: Can’t Hardly Wait
Just before I hit high school, Can’t Hardly Wait arrived in theaters. Sure, the idea of having to mingle with guys suffering from an identity crisis like Kenny Fisher, yearbook hounds like Vicki and potentially getting swallowed up by a drunken mob belting out “Paradise City” was intimidating, but when I actually got to school and Mike Dexter, Amanda Beckett and Preston Meyers were nowhere to be found, it was a little disappointing. Regardless, this one remains at the pinnacle of high school party movies courtesy of its all-star cast, epic soundtrack and very important high school lessons – if you both eat a strawberry Pop-Tart for breakfast, you’re meant to be
Bad: Prom Night
First red flag of the 2008 remake of Prom Night? A PG-13 rating. That’s like trying to throw an epic high school bash and filling your guests’ red cups with soda. This one had fun, campy slasher flick written all over it until you’re mere minutes into the movie and it’s absolutely drowning in predictability. Not only can you see all of these moronic characters heading straight for their demise from miles away, but once they get there, it’s stab, stab, stab, dead. Where’s the creativity? The best part about a good high school party is the wild and unexpected events that make the night unforgettable. This prom? Totally unmemorable
Bogus: Not Another Teen Movie
What better way to describe a teen movie parody than bogus? As a film of the spoof genre, Not Another Teen Movie immediately knocks itself out of contention to be considered a good high school party movie, but it does deserve some attention for taking material from the good ones out there, upping the insanity tenfold and then giving us some absolutely absurd scenario that still looks like a blast. I’d probably point and laugh had a group of my peers walked into prom Broadway musical style, but every time I watch that prom night scene, I seriously start to think Not Another Teen Movie: The Broadway Show might actually work
Good: Dazed and Confused
You might have to endure some brutal beat downs and public humiliation to get there, but this high school party is totally worth it. Things at Pickford’s place fall apart, but we still get a three-phase party - out on the night, the Emporium, the obligatory aimless driving session and the party at the Moon Tower - each of which is jam packed with raucous revelry and joyous nonsense set to the tune of the best of the '70s. If only we all had a little more Slate in our lives … every president would be in a cult and married to a hip, hip lady
Bad: I Love You, Beth Cooper
The basic premise of this movie isn’t all that bad; the biggest nerd at school confesses his love for the popular girl during his graduation speech. In fact, I’m surprised more social life-less valedictorians don’t do this more often. It’s a pretty bold move and might actually earn some respect. Then again, when you’re as irritating as Denis Cooverman, going off to become the #1 at a Fortune 500 company won’t even give you a shot with a girl like Beth Cooper. Then again, what’s so great about Beth Cooper? There’s tons of fun to be had with high school stereotypes, but the way they’re used in this movie are so obnoxious and unfunny, it could scare some pre-teens away.
Bogus: Piranha 3D
Piranha 3D gets bogus honors for having an awful narrative, but killer parties. Sure, there’s something fun about watching the cast get torn to bits by man-eating piranha, but there’s got to be some level of concern for the characters. However, when you’re getting zero character development and tossing the main players into uninteresting sub-scenarios, it doesn’t really matter if they live or die, only how inventive their death is. That being said, is there anything more entertaining than that Spring Break party massacre? So much death and so much blood, but also the perfect amount of campy humor making you squirm in your seat yet enjoy the moment all the way through
No, I’m not the target audience for Prom, but every now and then it’s actually kind of nice to go back to the days when I believed in that over glorified view of a high school experience. Then again, there’s a big difference between living out a fantasy in a film and having a film take a scenario and manipulate it to the max. Prom is bound to cause big problems for parents, if it hasn’t already; moms and dads out there will likely get nauseous from the incessant eye rolling this film will cause while their kiddies will be scarred for life, Prom taking itself so seriously, they’re bound to too, leaving them with dreadfully unrealistic expectations for their high school experience
Speaking of movies that go too far with a totally unrealistic scenario, a group of college rejects starting their own school? Yeah, right. Accepted is overflowing with absurdity – the group pulling the whole thing off with a mere website, anyone taking the school initials, S.H.I.T., seriously (then again, there really is a U.T.I. out there) and the fact that Justin Long’s character is named Bartleby. What parent does that? But still, here’s a case where a movie is packed with silliness, but embraces it. While Accepted never actually intends to convince you this can really happen, it takes itself and its characters seriously enough to offer a good time with a little bit of heart to boot.