Back-to-School Movies to help ignite your child’s school spirit
Hey mom and dad, it’s almost that time! No, don’t worry Christmas is still few months away. I’m talking about the single most awesome time for all parents, it’s back-to-school time! I can hear you cheering from your living rooms. Back-to-school can mean a lot of things to parents. Sure you might have to dust off the minivan and revise your role as a soccer mom for Suzie. Time to drop off little Mary to daily so she can dance in the Nutcracker for the one-billionth time. Oh but wait, what about the band outings for Kevin, football practices for Timmy? Don’t forget to bake for the PTA and OH GOD, Karl needs help with his math homework! Phew, ok back-to-school can be a juggling act! For a few short weeks, however, you have a little peace and quiet so enjoy it!
On the adverse of all this, your children, the love of your lives, your little bundles of joy, begin to have what I like to call, summer drag. They have no intention of ever letting summer end, and they certainly don’t have schooling on the brain. Instead, they have decided in their minds to drag it out, sitting hours in front of their video game console or watching movies on Netflix. So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Here are a few movies you can sneak in and let them watch while they get school mode.
Elementary, and middle schoolers
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (PG, 2010)
To Greg Heffley, middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented. It’s a place rigged with hundreds of social landmines, not the least of which are morons, wedgies, swirlies, bullies, lunchtime banishment to the cafeteria floor – and a festering piece of cheese with nuclear cooties. To survive the never-ending ordeal and attain the recognition and status he feels he so richly deserves, Greg devises an endless series of can’t-miss schemes, all of which, of course, go awry. And he’s getting it all down on paper, via a diary – “it’s NOT a diary, it’s a journal!” Greg insists, preferring the less-sissyfied designation – filled with his opinions, thoughts, tales of family trials and tribulations, and (would-be) schoolyard triumphs. “One day when I’m famous,” writes Greg, “I’ll have better things to do than answer people’s stupid questions all day.” So was born the Wimpy Kid’s diary.
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (PG, 2001)
This is the tale of Harry Potter, an ordinary 11-year-old boy serving as a sort of slave for his aunt and uncle who learns that he is actually a wizard and has been invited to attend the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is snatched away from his mundane existence by Rubeus Hagrid, the grounds keeper for Hogwarts, and quickly thrown into a world completely foreign to both him and the viewer. Famous for an incident that happened at his birth, Harry makes friends easily at his new school. He soon finds, however, that the wizarding world is far more dangerous for him than he would have imagined, and he quickly learns that not all wizards are ones to be trusted.
Set in an era where superheroes are commonly known and accepted, young William Stronghold, the son of the Commander and Jetstream, tries to find a balance between being a normal teenager and an extraordinary being. Loads of fun with superhero tropes featuring Kurt Russell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and a supremely well-cast Lynda Carter.
“Wonder” (PG, 2017)
A boy with facial deformities enters a mainstream school for the first time as a fifth-grader, causing the community to grapple with issues of compassion and acceptance. Starring Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts and based on a true story.
Older Teens, High School
“School of Rock” (PG-13, 2004)
Down and out rock star Dewey Finn gets fired from his band, and he faces a mountain of debts and depression. He takes a job as a 4th grade substitute teacher at an uptight private school where his attitude and hijinx have a powerful effect on his students. He also meets Zack, a 10-year-old guitar prodigy, who could help Dewey win a “battle of the bands” competition, which would solve his financial problems and put him back in the spotlight.
“Rushmore” (R, 1998)
Max Fischer is a precocious 15-year-old whose reason for living is his attendance at Rushmore, a private school where he’s not doing well in any of his classes, but where he’s the king of extracurricular activities – from being in the beekeeping society to writing and producing plays, there’s very little after school he doesn’t do. His life begins to change, however, when he finds out he’s on academic probation, and when he stumbles into love with Miss Cross, a pretty teacher of the elementary school at Rushmore. Added to the mix is his friendship with Herman Blume, wealthy industrialist and father to boys who attend the school, and who also finds himself attracted to Miss Cross. Max’s fate becomes inextricably tied to this odd love triangle, and how he sets about resolving it is the story in the film.
“Election” (R, 1999)
Tracy Flick is running unopposed for this year’s high school student election. But school civics teacher Jim McAllister has a different plan. Partly to establish a more democratic election, and partly to satisfy some deep personal anger toward Tracy, Jim talks popular varsity football player Paul Metzler to run for president as well. Chaos ensues.
“Clueless” (PG-13, 1995)
Cher is rich, pretty, blonde, popular and knows how to talk anyone into doing just about anything. When she can’t get a teacher to give her a better grade, she and her friend Dion match him up with another teacher to make him happier… and maybe a but laxer on his expectations. When a girl named Tai transfers to Cher’s school, she and Dion give her a makeover and attempt to find her a boyfriend. Cher soon realizes that she wants a boyfriend herself, but no one seems right. She goes through a spiritual makeover and realizes that there’s more to life than clothes and popularity before she finds the boy of her dreams.
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (R, 1982)
A look at the lives and loves of a group of high school students. It’s the final year of high school for Brad Hamilton who decides he should break up with his longtime girlfriend. He’s at a loss however when she breaks up with him first. Jeff Spicoli continues to take delight in getting under the skin of his teacher, Mr. Hand. Others are looking for love, sex and just plain having a good time which, for the most part, they all seem to find though sometimes in unexpected places.
“Bring It On” (PG-13, 2000)
The Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego has got spirit, spunk, sass and a killer routine that’s sure to land them the national championship trophy for the sixth year in a row. But for newly-elected team captain Torrance, the Toros’ road to total cheer glory takes a shady turn when she discovers that their perfectly-choreographed routines were in fact stolen from the Clovers, a hip-hop squad from East Compton, by the Toro’s former captain. While the Toros scramble to come up with a new routine, the Clovers, led by squad captain Isis have their own problems – coming up with enough money to cover their travel expenses to the championships. With time running out and the pressure mounting, both captains drive their squads to the point of exhaustion: Torrance, hell bent on saving the Toros’ reputation, and Isis more determined than ever to see that the Clovers finally get the recognition that they deserve. But only one team can bring home the title, so may the best moves win.