Student Survey: What Movie Do you Think Accurately Depicts High School Life?

Media based on high school experiences–everything from young love stories to stories of teenagers battling with mental health–is extremely popular. I went around campus one day and asked GALA students and teachers this question; “Which movie of TVshow do you think best accurately depicts high school life?” Here are some of their answers.
Trigger warning: some of these shows and movies contain mature themes, and while this article does not go in-depth on these themes, the summaries of the shows and movies do name them. Also, note that some of the answers are more satirical than serious.

Coming in first place is “Euphoria,” a show following a recovering teen drug addict (played by Zendaya) dealing with all kinds of high school craziness. Nine different people answered with this.

Next was “High School Musical,” a movie about two kids trying to break the status quo and be a part of the school musical instead of sticking to what they know. Six different people gave this answer, complete with a lot of giggling.

Six people, including our own Spanish teacher Ms. Black, answered with “Mean Girls,” the teen comedy written by Tina Fey. The movie follows a new kid who gets pulled into a group of popular kids and has to learn the difference between real friends and fake friends. I should hope this movie is accurate because it was based on Rosalind Wiseman’s 2002 bestselling self-help book, “Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence.”

Four people said “Gilmore Girls,” a feel-good show following mother and daughter as they both navigate life.

The next biggest vote was “13 Reasons Why,” a drama, mystery, and psychological thriller. The story follows a teenager who mysteriously finds a box on his porch containing cassette tapes that have recordings of a student at his school that had recently committed suicide. Four people said this.

My personal favorite is “10 Things I Hate About You,” a modern-day retelling of the Shakespeare play “The Taming of the Shrew.” The story is about a new boy at school having a crush on a very pretty girl, Bianca, but one of the popular boys likes her too. Bianca can’t go out unless her sister, Kat, does, so all the boys create a scheme to find a guy to take Kat out. This one got two votes.

Surprisingly, “The Bee Movie” got two different votes. An anonymous voter has said, and I quote, “he has to find himself and then almost ends up killing his best friend.” What could be more like high school than that? The bee movie is about a colony of bees containing one very curious bee who befriends a human and learns that humans have been stealing their honey for centuries.

One person gave an in-depth description of why “Grand Army” was the best example, giving reasoning like how realistically the high schoolers communicated, the dynamics between the characters, and how it felt like real life. It had diversity and showed the real struggles high schoolers went through while actually being in school. The series was created by Katie Cappiello and was adapted from her 2013 play “Slut.”

One middle schooler said that if “Tick…Tick…BOOM!” took place in high school, it would have been a perfect representation. “Tick…Tick…BOOM!” is about Tony award winning playwright Jonathan Larson before his fame, when he was a struggling writer in New York.

Other movies mentioned include: “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “Super Bad,” “Cars,” “High School Musical 3” (specifically with Troy and his college dilemma), “Young Again,” “Clueless,” “Thirteen,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Critical Thinking,” “The Kissing Book,” “Sky High,” “Teen Beach Movie,” “The Chocolate War,” “The Fallout,” “Heathers,” and “Descendants.”

Other TV shows include “KC Undercover,” “Cobra Kai,” “Hetero” (the mini-series), “Julie and the Phantoms,” “Liv and Maddie,” “Outer Banks,” “Genera+ion,” “Lucky Star,” and “Gossip Girl.”

And, last but not least, “Good Morning GALA”!