February 27, 2013 Slideshows

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The 20 Most Tolerable Party Movies 

In honor of 21 and Over, the latest party movie to hit screens, here are our 20 party movies worth watching. Some on this list are Party Movies, others are movies with a party in them. (We've arranged from least tolerable to the most tolerable.) We've thrown in the ones you know as well as a few unorthodox choices, and strangely Tom Cruise ended up here a few times, too. Ranked by Alan Scherstuhl, blurbs by Nick Lucchesi.
20. Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

Starring Topher Grace (That '70s Show) and a pre-Warm Bodies Teresa Palmer, this throwback, coming-of-age comedy memorably features a Ziploc bag full of cocaine and a scene on a trampoline that just sags.
19. PCU (1994)

Before he was Ari on Entourage, Jeremy Piven played "Droz", a 30-something college student-alpha-male in the movie that spawned a zillion frat catch-phrases ("Chips! Chips! Chips!"). PCU also features P-Funk playing Prince's "Erotic City," and a bunch of mid-90s frat-libertarian frustrated "white-dudes-rule!"-isms. You have likely seen shown this on Comedy Central at some point in your life.
18. Losin' It (1983)

Another retro movie -- this time it's the '50s -- Losin' It stars Tom Cruise and Shelley Long (just after she began her run on Cheers) as teenagers getting into trouble in Tijuana. Thinking about watching it? Take the 22 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes into mind.
17. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

A movie with a party in it but not a Party Movie -- unless your definition party includes infidelity and a lot of orgies, which, OK. Eyes Wide Shut was Kubrick's final film, and  during production, conjecture and rumors swirled around what its plot may include. It turned out to be a lot of sex, and a tiny Tom Cruise being roughed-up by some kids on the street in Manhattan. 
16. Donnie Darko (2001)

Another retro movie: Fans of the cult favorite have determined this fantasy-drama took place around 1988. It includes a jet engine falling from the sky, a vortex over Donnie's house, a Halloween party and frequent use of "Mad World" by Tears for Fears as underscoring.
© Copyright 1999 - Universal Pictures
15. American Pie (1999)

This 1999 raunch-com launched a franchise of four films that ended -- maybe? -- just last year with American Reunion. The original's gross-out scene included Jim (Jason Biggs) fucking a pie, because it was gross, and gross-out comedies were a cornerstone of '90s cinema, of course. 
14. Bachelor Party (1984)

Before The Hangover, there was this 1984 movie, starring Tom Hanks as Rick Gassko, a man-child who decides to married. The plot goes like this:
1. Marriage proposal
2. ???
3. Honeymoon
13. Can't Hardly Wait (1998)

100 percent of people under thirty immediately cite this as the best party movie ever. Can't Hardly Wait has Jennifer Love Hewitt getting dumped, then falling for the unorthodox nerd, which is awesome for the rest of us as viewers. It should be noted that the film has one of the most memorable epilogue scenes -- a staple of any good party or coming-of-age movie. 
© 1983 Warner Bros. Ent.
12. Risky Business (1983)

The third Tom Cruise party movie on this countdown has Cruise -- just four months after Losin' It hit theaters -- as an upper-class high school student in Chicago, getting into trouble and of course, throwing an epic party while his parents are out of town. The only downside to the party? Watch it again if you can't remember. It's on YouTube. It's worth it.
11. Weird Science (1985)

The story of Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Lisa (Kelly LeBrock), who encourages and prods these nerds to have a party, in order to boost their confidence and popularity. After a rocky start, both boys get girlfriends, Lisa vanishes and later turns up as a gym teacher. And if you've forgotten, Lisa was created in a plot stolen from Frankenstein. If made today, the plot might involve a 3D printer instead of a Memotech MTX computer.
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
10. Teen Wolf (1985)

Michael J. Fox plays Scott Howard, aged seventeen, and stuck with a family curse that makes him a werewolf-like creature, but not only during full moons. In fact, Scott's seen throughout the film as the wolf, playing basketball and partying at the school dance. Things are going well, until they're not again, but it all ends in a massive celebration in the high school gym, making for a well-worn wrap-up whose familiarity is by 1985 a comforting close to the Party Movie story arc.
© 2003 - DreamWorks
9. Old School (2003)

As Will Ferrell's breakout film, Old School is actually in a group of films where grown-ups act like teenagers (see: Wedding Crashers, Step Brothers, The Hangover), but its college scenery and undergrad-aged supporting cast, plus its binge-drinking, round out an updated take on the Party Movie. This movie also provides a good 20 percent of Ferrell-isms (he plays "Hank the Tank" here) you will hear blurted at any bar.
8. Mean Girls (2004)

Probably a movie that will forever remind us of Lindsay Lohan's wrecked life, Mean Girls shows that Lohan can (or could) fill a memorable and endearing role. Like Bridesmaids, released the better part of a decade later, Mean Girls shows the Party Movie through a female lens, which you know, has its lady characters as more than just vulnerable sex objects. It is also a very funny movie and makes us wish Tina Fey would do more of them. Now that 30 Rock's done, we can hope.
7. Project X (2012)

If you had to sum up what the Project X is like in one scene, describe the image above: A teenager doing what every teenager who's set foot on a skateboard has dreamed about, a sick ollie off the roof of someone's house. That photo is this film in a sentence. You half-expect one of them to buy a van with a fantasy scene painted on the side and one of those port-holes on the back, and drive literally anywhere they want, on acid.
6. House Party (1990)

Starring Queens-born Kid 'n Play (Christopher "Kid" Reid and Christopher "Play" Martin), this 1990 movie has one of the largest production-to-profit ratios on the list: $2.5 million to $26.3 million. And for good reason: There's battle dancing, attractive girls, flirting, and rap music; all ingredients for a good party. It spawned two sequels (and a third that didn't have any of the original cast.) It's also seriously funny: "Public enema?! What the hell is a public enema anyway?"
5. Superbad (2007)

Superbad, the Judd Apatow-produced Party Movie that helped launch the career and Jonah Hill and keep Michael Cera's post-Arrested Development one going, is most quickly remember for "McLovin", the Long Duk Dong-like nerd named Fogell who is actually the film's hero, despite the smaller amount of screen time. "McLovin" gets the alcohol, goes all the way with his love interest and is fake-arrested by two cops (Bill Hader and Seth Rogen) in front of his classmates, which of course makes him the coolest teenager in school.
4. Sixteen Candles (1984)

One of the few party movies where the teenage protagonist is actually a teenager, sixteen-year-old Molly Ringwald (as Samatha Baker) deals with a birthday that's forgotten by her family, invasive grandparents, a school dance and, naturally, a party scene at Jake's house, which gets trashed during the film's partying high point.
© 1978 - Universal Pictures
3. Animal House (1978)

The 1978 grandfather of frat-party movies, the double-secret super awesome Animal House provided the framework and reference point for all party movies that came after. Also the boobs. 
2. American Graffiti (1973)

George Lucas' American Graffiti was filmed in 1972, but set in 1962 in California. Boasting a 97 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was also nominated for Best Picture in '73, which it deserved: Never before had the aimless horniness of American teens been so sharply captured. Too bad it inspired dumb ol' Happy Days.
1. Dazed and Confused (1993)

It's not about the party, but about the anticipation of the party. And really, that's the best part of a party, anyway. That's why Dazed and Confused, and Matthew McConaughey as David Wooderson, land at the top of this list.
1/20
20. Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

Starring Topher Grace (That '70s Show) and a pre-Warm Bodies Teresa Palmer, this throwback, coming-of-age comedy memorably features a Ziploc bag full of cocaine and a scene on a trampoline that just sags.
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