Going back to school can be a stressful time for parents and kids alike. It’s commonly known that high school is a turbulent and, simultaneously, memorable time which you’ll likely never experience again. However, if you do end up returning to high school, for whatever reason, the drama, awkwardness and embarrassment will follow you right back. Here are the ten best movies about adults returning to high school and being forced to deal with the bizarreness of being an adult among youths.
10) Freaky Friday
This remake of the popular Disney classic about how similar kids are to their parents got the twenty-first century make over as Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis played a daughter and mother who are forever at odds with each other. Cleverly debunking the belief that the grass is always greener on the other side, this movie makes you wish all our parents could see just how hard we have it sometimes!
9) Never Been Kissed
Returning to high school as a (fairly) successful adult in the hopes that the experience would be different the second time around is a fantasy we’d all wished for at least once. Unfortunately, as Josie shows us, it’s not the success that shapes your experience, but the person you are; and after that lesson we’re happy to sit back and watch Josie’s misadventures from the comfort of our own lives.
8) To Sir, With Love
Sidney Poitier plays the unforgettable Mark Thackeray in this high school classic about an inexperienced teacher who is tasked with the chore of managing a class of unruly students at a rough inner city school. Throughout his time, Mark manages to not only earn the students’ respect and admiration, but also instill a sense of responsibility in them. Not only is this movie touching and even heartbreaking, it reminds us that some people are meant to return to school because it make it better for everyone else.
Matthew Broderick shows us that even adults can’t escape the pettiness and melodrama of high school. Set in a small town in the nineties, this hilarious movie has a feeling of claustrophobia that perfectly illustrates the one-track thinking of its main characters and is a rare example of the movie being far better than the book.
6) School of Rock
Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, a failed yet passionate musician who impersonates his best friend to take a supply teacher job at a prestigious private school. There, he discovers and encourages the individual talents of his students by forming a classroom rock band. Though his intentions are initially selfish, they eventually become selfless as he becomes dedicated to improving the lives and self esteems of his students. Couple that with traditional Jack Black hilarity and it’s a formula for a side-splitting time.
5) Horse Feathers
This Marx Brothers’ classic sees Groucho as the president of a university with a less than impressive football team and accidentally recruits bumbling “icemen” Baravelli (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx). Not only does this lead to chaos on the football field, but also in the halls of Huxley U where Pinky and Baravelli have registered. Featuring classic, tireless Marx Brothers comedy like Grouchos infamous one-liners and Harpo’s side-splitting sight gags, Horse Feathers makes you wish the Marx Brothers invaded every school.
4) Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion
Even since I graduated high school, I have been fantasizing about returning for my reunion to show off just what a success I’ve become, so this movie is pretty much my fantasy realized. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with that dream.
3) Peggy Sue Got Married
Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner) lives out the ultimate fantasy when she faints at her high school reunion and finds herself transported back to her senior year. Armed with her older and wiser mind, Peggy Sue begins to mould her high school experience into the one she had initially wished she had by boldly standing up to bullies and shunning the advances of her high school sweetheart turned-adulterous-husband, Charlie (Nicolas Cage). Eventually, she does find her way back to the future, but it’s not before experiencing what could have been!
2) Billy Madison
Adam Sandler’s hit movie about a childish adult is more like a nightmare for most people. In order to earn the respect of his wealthy father and inherit his fortune, Billy (Adam Sandler) must redo his entire schooling from grades one to twelve in twenty-four weeks. While crushing on a beautiful teacher, defending his new classmates (“Peeing in your pants is cool!”), making amends with his former classmates and fighting to take out his father’s crooked employee, Billy ends up succeeding more than just academically.
1) Dazed and Confused
Despite the fact that it focuses on the lives of a group of high school seniors on the eve of their summer vacation, one of the most memorable characters in Richard Linklater’s classic is actually David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey), a long graduated loser who still hangs out with teenagers. It’s Wooderson’s iconic line — “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” — that we most remember from this movie as well as his carefree lifestyle in which he’s enjoying the benefits of being young without having to deal with the schoolwork, teachers of pressure. Isn’t that the dream?