3 Best Movies to Watch From American High

Staff & contributors

This low-stakes coming-of-age movie stars SNL's Pete Davidson as Zeke, an aimless college dropout. His best friend, Monroe, is still in high school and is much younger and more innocent. Monroe doesn't realize that he has a very biased outlook on life through Zeke, as he starts drug dealing, partying, and dating according to rules that are not his own.

Big Time Adolescence tries to be a statement on destructive friendships but doesn't fully succeed. Its true value is that it's a movie that you can turn your brain off to, and those rarely come with statements.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Aiden Arthur, Brielle Barbusca, Emily Arlook, Esteban Benito, Griffin Gluck, Jon Cryer, Jon Freda, Jordan Rock, Joseph Vincent Gay, Julia K. Murney, Kimberly G. Grader, Larry John Meyers, Machine Gun Kelly, Michael Devine, Nick Ziobro, Omar Brunson, Oona Laurence, Patsy Meck, Pete Davidson, Shaun Woodland, Sydney Sweeney, Thomas Barbusca

Director: Jason Orley

Rating: R

There are a lot of laughs to be had in Prom Dates, most of them coming from the funny and actualized characterization of Hannah, the lead’s queer best friend. But everything else about this coming-of-age film feels too familiar and forced to be memorable. Despite leading the film, Jess feels like a hollow copy-paste version of all the delusional, ambitious leads in teen films like Booksmart, Superbad, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, except there’s nothing particularly insightful or likable about her. She comes across as the annoying classmate you know too much about, against your own will. Events unfold in more or less predictable ways, though it’s not hard to imagine that the film could be elevated by a more robust cast. As it is, Prom Dates is a fleeting, forgettable entry in an already stacked genre.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Adam Herschman, Antonia Gentry, Arianna Rivas, Audrey Trullinger, Chelsea Handler, Emery Kelly, John Michael Higgins, Jordan Buhat, JT Neal, Julia Lester, Kenny Ridwan, Kiel Kennedy, Leonardo Cecchi, Patty Guggenheim, Shea Buckner, Terry Hu, Zión Moreno

Director: Kim O. Nguyen

The suggestion that life gets better if only you stand up for yourself is a helpful one. After all, self-confidence is something young kids could use a lot more of. But it’s also not true, and for Sid to instantly get his dream life once he starts applying himself just doesn’t ring true. Things unfold a little too smoothly and conveniently in this movie, making it less of an actual coming-of-age journey (which is complicated and messy) and more of a young boy’s simpleminded fantasy (that is, idealistic and egotistic). I just don’t buy that Sid, a kid who has been shy and avoidant all his life, gains all the wisdom, courage, and charisma of a hero overnight. And it certainly doesn’t help that everyone in his high school looks like they’ve long graduated from college. Ultimately, Sid is Dead lacks the authenticity to stand out from the wealth of excellent teen dramas we’ve been spoiled with in recent years. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Anjelica Bette Fellini, Aubrey Cleland, Audrey Whitby, Belissa Escobedo, Carla Gallo, Denisea Wilson, Eileen Galindo, Genevieve Hannelius, Helen Hong, Jack Griffo, Joey Bragg, Luke Massy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Suraj Partha, Tyler Alvarez

Director: Eli Gonda