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.
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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.