Cut Loose: The 9 Greatest High School Dances In Film

Wednesday, August 31 by
High school movies set unrealistically high dancing standards for children today.  

As children all over the nation finish their summer vacations, we’re reminded of the simpler times of high school. But as these entries demonstrate, those “simpler times” weren’t always so simple High school dances are romanticized in many teen films, but in reality, they’re often boring, horribly awkward affairs. So kudos to the films that point that out, and kudos to the films that skirt the issue and glamorize the events, sparing us the cringe-inducing memories. So, kudos all around, I guess.

And the omission of Napoleon Dynamite from this list was not an oversight.

9. American Pie

Their “Arabian Nights”-themed dance was amazing if only because it captured how truly awful and cheesy high school dances can be. Further, the Sherminator is outed as a grapefruit banger and urinates down the leg of his pants. While it doesn’t really pertain to the dance, the afterparty at Stifler’s lakehouse looked really fun.

Bonus points for the uber-creepy MC/lead singer of the band. High school smartasses would have crucified that guy. Those virgins were way too nice.

8. Pretty in Pink

Ducky makes everything better. I want Ducky at my funeral. Ducky’s dancing, his spiffy shoes, and Molly Ringwald’s inventive-but-still-kind-of-ugly dress made this a very fun and realistic look at prom. Even if she hadn’t gotten back together with Blaine at the end (uh, retroactive really predictable spoiler alert), this still would have made the cut.

One last time: DUCKY!

7. Back to the Future

A good dance, but a little overrated. Sure, the Enchantment under the Sea dance was where Marty McFly taught the 1950’s kids about rock and roll, but I can’t blame them one bit for being nonplussed about the whole affair. I mean, they’re enjoying one of the biggest hits of the day (“Earth Angel”) performed by some band that includes Chuck Berry’s cousin Marvin, when a white guy gets onstage and plays some weird noise that they’ve never heard before. If I was in the 1970’s, and some dude hijacked my prom stage and started playing Korn’s “Freak on a Leash,” insisting that everyone in the future loves it, I’d be furious. I’m not in the future. I’m in now. And now, I want to listen to Captain and Tenille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” and Bread’s “Make It With You.” I don’t care what dumb future people are listening to. People really enjoy Katy Perry right now and even 100 years ago, that seems like a really bad idea.

All of this is outweighed by the delight of seeing a prom-goer hounded sexually by his mom. Forty-three thumbs up.