Rian Johnson rewrote the book on the noir genre with Brick, a gritty high school thriller that replaced the traditional whisky-drinking detective with a student called Brendan. It scooped plenty of well-earned awards on the festival circuit – not bad for a film shot in 20 days on a budget of half a million dollars.
Gregory’s Girl (1981)
Being a teenager’s bad enough without being replaced on the football team by a girl. And living in Scotland. Despite the odds, Gregory Underwood manages to make the most of the situation. Oh, and someone in a penguin costume keeps appearing, for which no explanation is forthcoming.
Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939)
Latin class, 1870. Whoa, there… this doesn’t sound like much fun. But Goodbye, Mr Chips is as good a story as you’ll see told on film. It has humour, tragedy and lashings of nostalgic warmth – so much so you’ll forget it’s been over 70 years since Robert Donat picked up a gong for Best Actor for the titular role. It was remade in 1969 with Peter O’Toole.
The History Boys (2006)
A brilliant screen adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play, The History Boys follows a group of charisamatic grammar school sixth formers as they’re prepped for their Oxbridge entrance exams. It’s full of brilliant words (gobbit), brilliant lines (“How do I define history? It’s just one f***ing thing after another”) and the warm throb of a classroom full of thinking young minds. History will remember Nicholas Hytner’s film.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Napoleon Dynamite is a man of many talents – dancer extraordinaire, friend to llamas and all-round poster boy for the 80s. In case you missed the t-shirts that are still knocking about eight years later, his mate Pedro runs for class president – he gets our vote – and there’s also the usual girl trouble and dysfunctional family obligatory in any self-respecting indie teen comedy.