High School Movies

So recently I was watching a re-mix trailer of Mean Girls using clips from various Disney princess movies.

I have friends who are also into High School Musical. There will be a movie coming out this year on middle-school. When I first came to Canada, I was introduced to shows like Degrassi, which takes place in a school as well.

I do not quite understand the American school culture. Or rather, I do understand it, but only to a certain degree in which there may be shared experiences of isolation and loneliness and awkwardness of nerds like myself navigating the whole concept of identity and self-esteem (yeah, self-esteem? What the hell was that?).

Hence, the number of high-school movies I see around make me wonder why anybody would go to watch them. The people in these movies are horrible. High school is depicted as this awful place where everyone is forced to participate, whether or not they want to. (I refused to. This is why my high school experience was worse than it should have been.) They have to overcome stuff, usually in painfully embarrassing ways. Protagonists behave atrociously in an effort to make themselves look good.

I am going to trust that like many over-dramatizations of life on screens big and small, these movies are an exaggerated version of actual North American high schools.

Why does Hollywood keep making these movies? Is high school so interesting? Is it the habit of watching people who just behave horribly to each other all the time? The defensiveness of being picked on in school?

Help me understand this, folks, I really do not understand this. 


  1. My theory is that it's a combination of a) it being the perfect artificial setting to populate with stereotypical characters, b) the actors in it can be young/white/thin as possible as is usual in a big-budget US movie, c) there's automatic tension between youth and adults there to take advantage of plot-wise, and d) most USians go through some schooling, so it's easily relatable, even if not realistic.


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