It’s not every day that a high school prank hits the newswire. A high school senior in Shaker Heights, Ohio, made headlines by designing a yearbook cover that hid an a F-bomb of a farewell salute. He was forced to apologize and the school quickly recalled the yearbooks, but most seniors are holding onto their obscene copies in salute to their artistic prankster. At Shaker’s graduation ceremony last week, he was hailed as a hero of the senior class, receiving loudest applause and the most cheers of any student as he accepted his diploma.
So, to salute the hero of Shaker Heights and every other senior prankster, I’ve compiled five of the best high school movie pranks. It’s hard to narrow it down to just five because they’re a staple of comedies, drama and horror alike. Keep that genre-spanning in mind if you’re dreaming of pranking your school because for every Jeff Spicoli, there’s a Carrie White.
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982)
Every discussion of Hollywood's high school pranks has to kick off with Jeff Spicoli. It’s hard to believe Spicoli grew up to become the stony-faced Sean Penn. Or maybe not, considering that he went so method to play the cheerful stoner that he wouldn’t answer to any name other than Spicoli. Perhaps there’s something to be said for his going so deep, since Spicoli has become revered by many a high school prankster for his pizza ordering, car destroying ways.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)
Spicoli’s onscreen successor was Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), who put us all to shame with his day off. While most high school pranks are obscene or destructive, Ferris is a man of class. He borrows a Ferrari in order to enjoy the fine sights and sounds of Chicago while the psychotic Principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) hunts for Ferris in pizza joints and his own backyard. Best of all? Ferris’ friends and fans raise money for his imaginary illness, meaning he’ll have the funds to do it all over again if he wants to. When he wants to.
"Mean Girls" (2004)
High school pranks are often motivated by revenge, and “Mean Girls” explores the fine line between comedy and horror as Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) decides to infiltrate “the Plastics” to seek justice for her misfit friends. But Cady ends up becoming that which she hates most, and the resulting “Girl War” sees her rival get hit by a bus and a teacher suspended on charges of drug dealing. Yeah, sometimes pranks aren’t so funny.
“Billy Madison” (1995)
Billy Madison (Adam Sandler) is what Spicoli might have become after graduating, since he spends his days drinking, partying and destroying his father’s property and wealth. He is forced to atone for his past by going back to school. Elementary school. Madison grows up and abandons his dog-poop-on-fire ways, but he still can’t answer a question pertaining to the Industrial Revolution.
Here’s the ultimate warning to all of you high school bullies and pranksters – be nice to the quiet and awkward kids, and never dump pig’s blood on anyone. Not only is that gross and cruel to animals, but your victim might just possess telekinetic powers and destroy you all in a fiery inferno. Which pretty much sucks.