The Marquee

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Raise Your Hand if You Love Back to School Season

by Sarah Soliman

As The Marquee returns from its summer hiatus — and, more importantly, as students and teachers head back to school — it’s a great time to look at movies set in the classroom. School provides an always engageing backdrop for telling every kind of story, from comedy (School of Rock) to drama (Dead Poet’s Society) to musicals (Grease) to horror (The Faculty) and more. Here are some of the school-set movies we love here at The Picture House.

On the Way to School (G) — Francile Albright, Deputy Director & Director of Education

On the Way to School is a documentary about 4 students in different parts of the world — Kenya, Morocco, Argentina, and India — who travel long distances to get to school every day. This movie is an excellent introduction to conversations with your children about different cultures and perspectives. The students and their families are compelling and the way the documentary bounces between their stories keeps the pace lively. Also, a great way to encourage your kids to walk to school!

Election (R) — Jon Bingham, Operations & Theater Manager

Alexander Payne’s Election feels like a version of my high school. Underneath the lust for power, the cheating, the lying, the infidelity, lies wholesome curiosity and hope. The story reminds us that a democracy can only be as perfect as its people, and although leaders may hold the rules, they certainly don’t have to keep them.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (R) — Clay Bushong, Director of Programming & Business Development

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released 30 years ago and brought us the perfect mix of seamless storylines about the lives of high school archetypes, showing us the nerd, the stoner surfer dude, the doe eyed freshman girl or the scamming ticket scalper. High school is going to deliver the highest highs and the lowest lows of our lives that will be burned into our psyche forever. Bonus: a soundtrack that can’t be beat.

Clueless (PG-13) — Sarah Soliman, Marketing & Communications Manager  

When Clueless was released, I was old enough to be aware of its cultural impact, but young enough that I wasn’t allowed to see it in theaters—a perfect recipe for becoming completely obsessed with it. After finally seeing it, I harbored the hope that high school would be at least a little bit like it was in the film. Maybe not the playing matchmakers for teachers to improve my grades part, but the makeovers and parties and friendship parts — especially the friendship parts. In any other film, the beautiful and popular Cher would be the villain to new girl Tai’s hero. Instead, Cher and her best friend Dionne welcome Tai in, creating a high school world that has a lot of heart and kindness, without sacrificing any of the comedy or bite of Jane Austen’s Emma, on which the film is based. There are the usual boy troubles and jealousies and fights, but of course, everything turns out all right in the end. It’s like a daydream of what high school, at it’s best, could be.