of two young women coming into their own. And that's why finding movies Booksmart presented a beautiful, honest depiction like to stream is no easy task: candid stories about teenage girls aren’t too common. Booksmart
The Olivia Wilde-directed movie managed to break the mold with a tale about two best friends sampling the high school party scene the night before their graduation, after spending most of their teen years hitting the books.
Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are dynamite as best friends Amy and Molly, and the film has everything you want in a high school comedy — from poignant friendship moments to the messy, hilarious results of the two party novices getting into trouble.
If you're in the mood for more teens behaving badly, there are plenty of movies to choose from (though none of them, of course, is exactly like Dever and Feldstein’s buddy comedy). While
Booksmart made headlines for centering two girls in its raunchy high school flick, teen movies as a genre have a long and storied tradition. And Amy and Molly are far from the first Hollywood high school students to partake in one last hurrah before graduation.
Many of these films portray growing pains felt by their protagonists — and some of them even reach a
Booksmart-level mixture of high school rebellion and some good old-fashioned hell-raising. Whether they’re portraying hardcore partying, budding sexuality, or just the struggle to “fit in,” these 17 movies are all perfect for fans of Booksmart. 1 Lady Bird Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird really struck a chord with audiences when it premiered, earning praise for Saoirse Ronan’s performance and Gerwig’s sharp screenplay. While it strikes a different tone than Booksmart, Lady Bird also explores the various trials and triumphs of high school friendship in their own ways, and ends with its characters entering unexplored territory: moving away to college. (And as a bonus, it also happens to feature Feldstein.) Stream it on Netflix. 2 The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Millennials who grew up with
Stephen Chbosky’s novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower were just as pleased with the film adaptation, which Chbosky directed (and wrote for the screen) himself. The story follows Charlie, a wallflower who lurks at the edge of his school's social scene — until two older students invite them into their group. Like Booksmart, this movie is all about finding your people and making the most out of the high school experience. It also happens to include a remarkable performance by Ezra Miller. Stream it on Hulu. 3 Dude Awkwafina and Lucy Hale star in this Netflix movie about a group of high school grads who want to live their best lives before they go off to college. Sound familiar? There’s a reason why this trope is so popular — these movies have a way of leaving you laugh-crying and also just crying. with side-splitting jokes that combines some very real (and even tragic) moments. Dude is a stoner dramedy Stream it on Netflix. 4 The Outcasts
Booksmart, the 2017 film The Outcasts features two academically-minded high school students longing to shed their outsider status. Jodi ( Victoria Justice) and Mindy (Eden Sher) feel unpopular in their high school, since they spend all of their time actually studying. After being on the receiving end of a cruel prank led by other students, the two nerdy friends decide to unite every outcast in their class to upend the established social order. Stream it on Netflix. 6 Someone Great
Although they're not graduating from high school,
the three friends in have a way of forcing one another out of their comfort zones, and will remind you of Amy and Molly. When Jenny ( Someone Great Gina Rodriguez) lands her dream job as a music journalist for Rolling Stone, she starts to plan her move across the country — but when her boyfriend of nine years breaks up with her upon learning the news, everything changes. Someone Great reinforces the power of friendship, and will make you feel grateful for the ride-or-die pals in your life. Stream it on Netflix. 7 Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Sarah Jessica Parker dance movie is a cornerstone of the canon — not least for its great soundtrack and equally killer choreography. It’s a campy film about army brat Janey (Parker), who regularly moves from town to town. At her latest school, Janey meets Lynne ( Helen Hunt), who shares her love of dancing. The pair enters a TV dance contest, despite Janey’s father’s objections to her passion. (Fun fact: Girls Just Want to Have Fun is actually based on Cyndi Lauper’s iconic song of the same name.) Stream it on Hulu. 8 Dazed And Confused
Another stoner movie from the past — which arguably hasn't aged as well as
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun — is Dazed and Confused. The 1993 cult classic features the character David Wooderson ( Matthew McConaughey), who says perhaps one of the creepiest lines in movie history: “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” Yikes. Fortunately, he's framed as a burnout, not a hero. Still, there are some nuggets of greatness throughout the film that make it worth watching. Rent or buy it on Amazon Prime. 10 Orange County
Orange County is a riotous comedy starring Colin Hanks, Catherine O'Hara, Jack Black, and more. Hanks’ character Shaun is an aspiring writer who desperately wants to get into Stanford University, after being rejected. This leads to a wild night filled with misadventures, which concludes with an unexpected self-realization from Shaun. Up-and-coming novelists: This film is for you. Stream it on Hulu. 11 Eighth Grade
More serious in tone (albeit with comedic moments),
Bo Burnham’s follows 13-year-old Kayla as she tries to make it through the year and ready herself for high school. If you want to watch a movie about a young girl learning how to gain self-confidence, this is a wonderfully poignant option. Oh, and if you loved the cringe and awkward moments in Eighth Grade Booksmart, there are plenty in Eighth Grade. Stream it on Hulu. 12 Flower Flower is best described as Booksmart meets , if that makes sense. This 2017 film is about a high school student ( Promising Young Woman Zoey Deutch, as the vigilante Erica) who extorts sex offenders, seeking both monetary gain and justice. Her latest target is a middle school teacher who sexually assaulted her friend, and she’s determined to bring him down . Stream it on Hulu. 13 Plan B , Natalie Morales’ recently released comedy, Plan B has been praised for the way it handles femme friendships and reproductive rights. It centers on high school students and best friends Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) and Lupe (Victoria Moroles). When Sunny’s first sexual experience goes awry, she seeks a plan B — literally. The duo essentially goes on a wild goose chase to track down a Plan B pill, and hijinks inevitably ensue. Stream it on Hulu. 14 Can't Hardly Wait
Like many coming-of-age movies,
revolves around teenagers trying to have sex for the first time. This cult classic follows the graduating class of 1998 as they try to make all of their high school fantasies come true in one last, wild night. Can't Hardly Wait Can't Hardly Wait also holds the special distinction of featuring a truly eclectic collection of '90s stars, from Jennifer Love Hewitt and Seth Green to Clea Duvall and Ethan Embry. Stream it on Showtime. 17 Easy A
This other early Emma Stone feature is (very loosely) based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel
The Scarlet Letter (like if the events of The Scarlet Letter took place in a 21st century California high school). (Stone), a student who pretends to sleep with her male classmates to boost their self-esteem — and finds herself ostracized by her her peers. This teen comedy tackles the gender-based double-standard so cleverly that it deserves its ‘A’ grade. Easy A follows Olive Rent or buy it on Amazon Prime.
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This article was originally published on
May 24, 2019