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Saturday, September 6, 2008

The 50 Greatest High Schoolers On Film. Part Five: 1-10

At last, the final ten are here. In no particular order, I give you the number one high schooler on film in each of the categories.

10: Jimmy Chitwood (Maris Valanis) from Hoosiers
Jimmy Chitwood sort of comes out of nowhere. After sitting most of the season out, distraught over the death of his coach. However, without Jimmy, there would be no coach Dale to lead the team to victory and there would be no game winning shot by Jimmy in the end. Showing up at a town meeting on whether to keep Coach Dale, he announces that he wants to play with one caveat. "Coach stays, I play. He goes, I go." With that, the Cinderella story of Hickory High is set in motion as the action comes down to a single play, like most great sports films. Jimmy is set up to be a decoy while Merle is supposed to take the shot. Jimmy eyes the dismay in the faces of his team and boldly states, "I'll make it." Guess what happens? While the character is based on Bobby Plump, the dramatic license is evident as details were changed to give the final game a little more oomph. Not that it really needed it, the true story of Milan High School that inspired Hoosiers was a thrilling tale that came down to Bobby Plump scoring the winning basket putting Milan up 32-30 in the end.

Babes9: Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates) from Fast Times at Ridgemont

Linda Barret, by the pool, has got to be one of the greatest masturbatory fantasies of all time, next to Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places. Now, while that is not why she is on the list at the number one spot, it certainly helps. The scene has been parodied numerous times and according to the DVD extras, a lot of video stores reported tracking errors during that scene. In addition the scene teaching Stacy how to fellate a carrot is classic. Her only downfall is not knowing to knock on the bathroom door before entering. Totally awesome. Totally awesome. Alright Hamilton.

Studs8: Jim Stark (James Dean) from Rebel Without a Cause
Jim finds himself confused and out of place in his new surroundings. He finds it hard to exist in between his quarrelling parents. In fact his sense of betrayal by his father's lack of courage to stand up to his mother worsens his unrest. The smoldering containment on his powder keg persona only adds to his studliness and he breaks you heart shouting "Your words are tearing me apart." He befriends the loner and misunderstood Plato, offering up his jacket and plays house with him and Judy acting as the absent father to Plato while fulfilling his own dreams of being proud of a father figure. It's really tragic that it takes the death of Plato, wearing Jim's jacket, for Jim's father to realize his need to be a man. It could have been Jim that was shot and Mr. Stark would have had his son die thinking of him as a coward.

Nerds7: Lucas (Corey Haim) from Lucas
Corey Haim has a hit with as much frequency as the locusts appearing and this was one of his few gems among the duds of Fast Getaway, Body Shots, and Dream a Little Dream 2. Lucas is one of those nerds that just doesn't get why he is a nerd. He falls for and tries to win the heart of Maggie, a pretty older girl, who ultimately ends up with Cappie, our number 4 Jock. Lucas does his best to try and dissuade Maggie from the well known, popular crowd. He claims to live in a huge house when in actuality, he cuts their lawn. He calls cheerleading "superficial", knowing that being drawn into that world will kill his association with her. He attempts to steal a kiss while listening to the symphony from underneath a bridge. Yet, the reality is that Lucas is still the nerd. He joins the football team which is seen as a joke. He's terrorized by the jocks, he loses the girl he pines for, and gets pummelled in his attempt to prove himself on the football team. But it wouldn't be an 80's movie if the nerd didn't come out on top. It also wouldn't be an 80's movie without a slow clap that leads to all out applause signifying victory.

6: The Heathers (Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, and Kim Walker) from Heathers
It is often said in times of imminent decimation that it is better to be at the right hand of the devil than in his path. Veronica's inclusion into the titular clique of Heather's is just that. Kill or be killed. In high school, social death lasts a lifetime. She doesn't like them. In fact, in some sick and twisted world, she thinks they deserve to die a horrible death in and out of the high school scene. She just doesn't admit it, to everyone besides her boyfriend, J.D. Intimidating and mean spirited, the Heather's bully such students as Marth "Dumptruck" Dunnstock and Betty Finn. While only one Heather (Chandler) actually dies, the damage is done. They are now more popular than ever yet Heather McNamara attempts suicide, falling victim to the strategy that if you kill the leader, the followers will be lost. Meanwhile, Heather Duke seizes the opportunity to take over command of the clique showing her true bitch colors.

Bad Asses
5: Jason 'JD' Dean (Christian Slater) from Heathers
Bad asses can be considered good or bad. While the previous four were on the side of right, number one on the list is as bad as it gets. His lust for violent justice against those he deems too socially sick to coexist in this world might stem from seeing his mom blown up in a building demolition at the hands of his dad. Well, maybe he's just a complete psychotic f@#k, instead. Either way, JD's manipulative nature gets the better of Veronica. He's like a Faustian allegory come to life in high school. He rides in like James Dean but is more like the Angel of Death in disguise. He plots to kill the Heathers as vengeance for all those they smite. It doesn't matter that the punishment doesn't fit the crime. He is judge, jury, and executioner of the law he says proclaims, "The only place different social types can genuinely get along with each other is in heaven." Prolific, in a sick and twisted manner. Since the Heathers are merely a mouthpiece to the problem, his final solution is to just blow up the school in a show of suicidal solidarity. He manages to get most of the student body to sign a petition declaring their mutual disgust for society and plan to die together in a suicide pact. Ironically, everyone thought they were signing a petition to get a popular band to play the school with their big hit, Suicide. Don't do it. It is only fitting that he commits suicide by his own treachery freeing everyone to live in this world as they are, hopefully inspiring change. Whether Veronica decides to do just that after usurping the role as head Heather, or Veronica, is left to be seen. Perhaps, we will find out in the sequel, Heathers 2: Electric Boogaloo

4: Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) from The Karate Kid
and Greg Tolan from Just One of the Guys

You had to know it was coming. The greatest bully that ever walked a high school or swept a leg is the one, the only Billy Zabka. At some point during the 80's, the film Gods came down unto Hollywood and shone a light onto Billy's head which told producers and casting agents that he was their man. Was he ever. He and the Cobra Kai tortured Daniel LaRusso throughout that film. In the beginning, Daniel brings his YMCA East Coast Offense while Johnny Lawrence brings the West Coast version in the form of the mostly unethical and downright vicious style of his Vietnam Vet sensei, John Kreese. From thereafter, at every chance, the Cobra Kai give Daniel chase until after a horrendous beating, Mr. Miyagi intervenes and sets up a more civilized and controlled fight in the form of a karate tournament. Of course, we know in the end, Johnny has to go down, but as far as bullies go, he's still a follower and even though he thinks he can beat Daniel, he listens to his sensei and tries to further disable Daniel during the final match. What you don't know about Johnny Lawrence is that immediately after his defeat, he shamefully retreats to another school in LA and poses as bully, Greg Tolan, picking on those without martial arts training. Unfortunately, things go horribly askew. Again, his girlfriend leaves him, he gets attacked by someone who looks very similar to Daniel LaRusso, but is actually a girl, and gets beat up at the prom. He reluctantly returns to the tournament and is nearly beaten up by his sensei for losing the tournament. No one really knows what happened to Johnny after high school. Some say he went to Grand Lakes University and continued to try and bully those around him while being the star of the swim team. We do know that he was punched once and didn't retaliate. Today, he's an Oscar nominated filmmaker.

Freaks and Geeks
3: Farmer Ted AKA "The Geek" (Anthony Michael Hall) from Sixteen Candles
Of course, the number one Geek has to be "The Geek." Anthony Michael Hall is the quintessential geek and king of the dipshits. You see, nerds don't lead, per se. Geek's love being in charge, clearly when the have no reason to be in that position. But, a Geek can still get the girl without changing his ways. A nerd usually has to rise above his oppressor's in some outlandish fashion. Farmer Ted busts onto the scene in full geek regalia trying to hit on Samantha during the bus ride home. He then pursues her at the dance that night leading to a heartfelt shop talk about men and missed birthdays. Now, Ted pulls a nerd move in securing Samantha's underwear in order to boost his social status among the undesirables, but yet his geeky cocksure attitude moves him to crash Jake's party ending in him being trapped under a glass table while his wing men get taken home by brutes and carefully left on the curb. Don't worry though, he shows up later toting drunk and unconscious Caroline, Jake Ryan's (Number 2 Stud) girlfriend in exchange for Samantha's panties. He gets the girl by default, even though he did do the deed in the back of Mr. Ryan's luxury car. The Geek shall inherit the Earth, let it be written.

Dead and Undead2: David (Kiefer Sutherland) from The Lost Boys
Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire. It's also fun to be the Number One Dead High Schooler on Film. While, I am not sure completely sure David ever went to high school, being that Kiefer Sutherland was only 21 at the time of the movie's release, I'll accept that he could have been in high school. I'm the one making the list, so deal with it. As the numero uno dead guy, David was sadly only number two on the vampire totem pole. He was, however, responsible for getting Michael Emerson, Starr, and Laddie to be half vampires. Also, his legacy lives on in the sequel as had fed off of Shane at the bonfire making him the head of the Tribe. Oddly enough, Angus Sutherland is Kiefer's half brother in real life, too. He also makes an appearance in the comic series, The Lost Boys: Reign of the Frogs. Sadly, he appears to bite it, no pun intended, at the end when Michael goes toe to toe with him, impaling him on a set of Grandpa's antlers in his taxidermy workshop. It's sad really, because a little known fact is that David had been considering getting his GED and attending night classes at Santa Clare Community College. You don't know. It could be true.

Slackers1: Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) from Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Just before the final bell rings on the first day of senior year, we are introduced to Jeff Spicoli, hotboxing in a Microbus. That's pretty much Spicoli in a nutshell. "No worries, mon." His philosophy on life is that all he needs are "some tasty waves and a cool buzz." Well, that and some pizza delivered right to class. Unfortunately, math was not his strong suit or he would have ordered enough for everyone in class since he had to share. His nemesis is the disgruntled teacher, Mr. Hand who pretty much holds the keys to his graduation in his hand. He actually makes Spicoli late for prom by giving him an impromptu history lesson, proclaiming that Spicoli will probably "squeak by." Among his most awesome moments are wrecking Jefferson's car and coming to the realization that, "People on 'ludes should never drive." Fortunately, his dad is a television repairman with an ultimate set of tools. Sometime in the future he manages to save Brooke Shields from drowning and blows the reward money on having Van Halen play his birthday party. How awesome is that for the number one slacker? Totally awesome.

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