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.

6. Grosse Point Blank

Granted, this is one of two reunion dances on the list, but whatever. Don’t be a dick. It’s a high school gym and these people were all high school classmates. Further, the reunion has some pretty good music going on. In fact, the music is a little TOO good. No one’s taste in music during the 80’s was as good as the Grosse Point Blank soundtrack was. If I planned on attending any of my high school reunions, I’m pretty sure I’d just hear “Da Dip” Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” and something by Duncan Sheik.

Points against the reunion/dance because someone brought a baby that John Cusack won’t stop staring at during David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.” That moment’s a little intense for me.

5. She’s All That

In cinema classes at universities around the world over, a class should be taught on how to keep your films from appearing dated after ten years. On the first day, the teacher will address the class with simply, “Do not include a large dance scene set to Fatboy Slim’s “Rockefeller Skank. Please take the rest of the period to nap or chat quietly with your neighbor.”

Also, if I was the principal of that school, I would wonder why everyone was so good at dancing, but they’re such awful students. I mean, this isn’t even an arts magnet.

“If you kids put half the energy into studying as you did dancing to The Fatboy, you’d all be Rhodes Scholars."

4. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion

OK. Lots to discuss here. The “Time After Time” dance is just amazing. They leave in a helicopter with a billionaire. And the rich pregnant girls get reminded that they have kids, which must have been devastating. The girls’ dresses are awesome, and I had a crush on Michelle (I think. Whichever one Mira Sorvino is) when I was 18. I think it was her voice.

3. Teen Wolf

You think life is treating you pretty well, then you have to compile a list like this and you realize that it could have been so much better. If only you’d been a wolf. A teen wolf. The awesomeness of this prom is compounded by several factors. The presence of Stiles, a gentleman once known to wear a shirt that read simply, “What are you staring at, dicknose?”, a white tux jacket, and the presence of a teenage werewolf. I can’t stress the importance of that last one enough. It’s odd though, cause most kids that hairy in high school aren’t popular at all. Kids can be so mean.

2. Carrie

You really want to enjoy this prom at arm’s length, because it goes from good to not-so-good pretty quickly. Most high school dances don’t have ghosts and wraths and telekinetic activity, but this one does, and that’s what really sets it apart. Also, if powder blue tuxes with ruffles are your thing, then this dance is your Woodstock.

Also, if you’re a prankster, this one sets the bar pretty high. Most pranks don’t completely crush a girl’s spirit and sense of decency, but this one does.

1. Can’t Buy Me Love

This high school dance saw Ronald Miller perform the African Anteater dance, which caught on with most of the people in the film, but sadly, not in the real world, which was a shame, because it was a really great dance. The thinking man’s Macarena. One part mashed potato, one part epileptic fit, all parts awesome. Beyond the African Anteater Ritual, there’s little remarkable about the dance, but the Anteater Ritual is more than enough to cruise this one into the top spot.

Special thanks to Jeanine for planting the seed on this one.