Building the Perfect High School/College Movie Party Scene

SuperbadColumbia Pictures via Everett Collection

Every spring, people graduating from high school or college celebrate the occasion by having a nice dinner with family and friends as they look towards the future. And, then after that, they go have a party. Strike that — they have a PARTAAAY! WHOO!

The high school/college party is a such mainstay in films about the age group that we’ve seen it done just about every way that you can imagine. There are some lessons that we’ve learned, however, on what all future movie characters should know about making the most of the party… which we will gladly share.

Everyone Is Going to Arrive at the Same Time

At real parties, people trickle in sometime after the designated start time. Not so in a movie party. On the big screen, everyone arrives all at the same time, as illustrated most effectively in 10 Things I Hate About You. Since chances are that the guests aren’t going to be overly considerate of the house, you might want to hide the fine china before the mob gets there.

It’s Good to Have Someone Keep His/Her Senses

When the party gets going, it’s easy to lose sight of things. Just like Anna Kendrick’s Beca in Pitch Perfect, it’s nice to have someone remind the partiers to “make good choices.”

Dance the Night Away

What’s a party without music, right? If possible, try to invite some people that can really dance… like, say, Kid ‘n’ Play and their House Party crew. Just don’t let anyone get hurt trying any of their moves.

If You’re Hiring a Band, Though, Make Sure They’re Good

Bad live entertainment can kill a party pretty quickly (see: Pitch Perfect), so it’s important to bring in the right people. Animal House’s Otis Day and the Knights showed the proper way to synch the band with the party.

Don’t Forget to Invite the Geeks

Whether it’s Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles, Robert Carradine in Revenge of the Nerds, Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Superbad or Charlie Corsmo in Can’t Hardly Wait, movies have proved over and over that the geek shall inherit the party.  

If Someone Wants You to Play a Game, the Reward Probably Isn’t Worth It

Personally, we learned this the hard way, but whether it’s beer pong or quarters, the reward for any party games is probably going to be tempered by bad after effects. Or, as Skylar Astin found out in 21 and Over, the reward might only be a dude in his underwear.

If You Do Over-Indulge, Try to Find Someone Sober to Help

Don’t do what Caroline did in Sixteen Candles and ask for assistance from some inebriated friends. The cost to get your hair fixed will be considerable.

When You See Your Chance, Take It

Not even Cher in Clueless could make people hook up at a party, but if the perfect opportunity to express your true feelings to a crush presents itself don’t be afraid to take decisive action like Emile Hirsch in The Girl Next Door.

Have a Plan If the Cops Show Up

The traditional way to handle it is to run… and if the cops are like the ones played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader in Superbad, they’ll just tell you to do that. (Watch the NSFW clip here.) Of course, if your name is McLovin’ you can just relax.

Don’t Invite Prostitutes

Unless your name is Tom Cruise.