Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

Teen movies – quintessential scenes – graduation night


The other week, hubby and I were watching “I Love You, Beth Cooper.”  He said, “Man, my graduation night was not that exciting.”

Which made me start thinking about other grad night movies/scenes.  How realistic are they?

  • For those of you who haven’t seen Beth Cooper, the basic premise is this:

Nerdy, nice guy is giving his valedictorian speech, knows it’s his last shot to get hot cheerleader Beth’s attention, so as he’s rambling about things that they all wished they’d said those last four years, he declares:


Her crazy boyfriend is not happy, he and his friends chase Nerdy and his bff around, Beth and her friends help out the latter, hi-jinks ensue.

Lesson learned: Making a bizarre declaration of love will always charm the girl*

  • Moving on to another grad night movie:

Can’t Hardly Wait


Ethan Embry plays an every guy who is obsessed with hot girl Amanda b/c she likes Pop-tarts.  He hears Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” on the radio and takes it as a sign he should profess his undying love.  Meanwhile Seth Green (dressed as Gizmo from DC Comics) and some chick get locked in a bathroom together.  Lots of hi-jinks.

Lesson learned: Pretty much the same as above*


Set in the 70s, everyone drives around, hangs out, drinks, smokes pot.  My husband refers to Mitch as “my brother” since he swears we make the same facial expressions.  There’s a dick named O’Bannion, a stoned-as-shit Slater, and Wooderson, that guy who is WAY too old to be hanging around with high schoolers.**

Lesson learned: The 70s were awesome


Now that I’ve gone over the fictional universe, how do these movies compare to real-life?

Well…I’ve been out of school for almost 15 years, so my memory isn’t the greatest.  I’m sure I went to a party that night.  It was probably most like Dazed and Confused.  No one made any declarations of love.  Mostly we just hung out.

Either hanging out is universal or my little town is 20 years behind in the times.

So what about you all?  Any favorite graduation-themed movies or scenes?

*More about this next week when I study the teen movie phenomenon of the every guy winning over the hot girl.

**Admit it, we all knew at least one of these types in school.


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

14 thoughts on “Teen movies – quintessential scenes – graduation night

  1. Excellent and funny recaps! You had me cracking up. I barely remember my high school graduation but I do remember going somewhere and drinking a lot of wine coolers aftewards (seriously? gag) Yes, I did know a guy who was way too old to be hanging out with us.

  2. Love the recaps, particularly Can’t Hardly Wait (it really was all based on pop tarts!). I don’t even remember what I did my graduation night–not in the substances-prevent-recall way but in the because-I-think-we-just-sat-around way.

    One of my favorite movie graduation scenes is Reality Bites, but that’s college, not HS.

  3. Dazed and Confused was fantastic. I love how they just hung out the entire time. My own graduation night was uneventful. I avoided the school-sponsored grad party and stayed home.

    One movie you forgot in terms of graduation scenes was Say Anything.

  4. You know, I guess I haven’t watched much in the way of “graduation night” themed movies. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the ones mentioned here. But from what you provided, mine was more like Dazed and Confused, only I was the nerd who felt out of place around quite a few stoneheads.

  5. My graduation night was awesome 😀
    I finally kissed the guy I’d wanted to be with for a long time, and we got married two years later.
    And maybe I should add that we’re STILL married.

    And I love the movies you picked – so fun.

  6. First off, I LOVE Can’t Hardly Wait. I’ve watched that movie so many times, it’s not even funny. I also love Boone’s Farm. 🙂

    When I think of graduation scenes, I think of TV. Rory’s graduation on Gilmore Girls made me cry my eyes out. Now that I think of it, most graduation scenes do. Bella’s dad during the Twilight graduation scene made me tear up too. I’m a graduation softy!

  7. Two of my all time favorite graduation movies are: Legally Blonde- What she tells the ex-boyfriend is priceless. St. Elmo’s Fire-Classic! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s