Cracks (2009)
Half of me bleeds Picnic at Hanging Rock and the other half Suspiria, therefore I love Cracks. We will forgive the title (not as bad as, say…Gigli), for that, dear reader, is the only flaw! This movie is BEAUTIFUL. The setting is an elite British boarding school for girls. What more can I say? Fairy-tale landscapes, love triangles, poetry, magic, semi-restrained histrionics, and bullying, all of which is puppeteered by the girls’ enigmatic diving instructor, Miss G. Everyone is stunning, and the costumes are splendid. You will have key pieces for your wardrobe figured out by the end credits (I especially loved the colorful silk head scarves tied in big side bows, flapper style). But aside from fashion, there’s plenty to mull over in Cracks. Existential things like: why do humans do the things we do? —Sonja

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Staying up all night to battle zombies is probably not very fun. However, staying up all night to watch other people battle zombies is most definitely awesome! And if you are planning a zombie movie marathon or simply trying to get your zombie fix while The Walking Dead is on midseason break, you must start with George A. Romero’s late-’60s classic, Night of the Living Dead. It’s shot in black-and-white (I do not recommend the colorized versions) and has all of those old-movie charms like the loud eerie music that totally clues you in that something scary and awful is about to happen. Though it’s not Shaun of the Dead funny, it’s more cheesy than 28 Days Later scary because it’s so dated. You’ll probably want to slap the protagonist Barbra, who escapes a zombie attack and spends the rest of the movie alternating between catatonia and hysteria. But you’ll still thoroughly enjoy the film if you embrace the cheese and revel in the old-school zombie awesomeness. They’re slow-moving but crafty! Radiation from outer space is to blame! And there’s organ eating! Even though they movie’s not in color, it’s still pretty gross, and caused a lot of controversy when it first came out because there was no rating system, so kids went to see it and were traumatized. I’m not sure what all the fuss was about since my dad showed me this movie when I was 10 and I turned out perfectly normal… —Stephanie

Party Monster (2003)
Everything about this movie screams bad influence: sex, drugs, murder, Marilyn Manson cameo, flagrant sexual ambiguity. The first time I watched it was at a sleepover, and two of the other girls ended up getting picked up by their parents because they were “uncomfortable.” Shock value aside, though, this is a good movie. It tells the story of the murder of a drug dealer in the late-’80s/early-’90s New York club scene. Party Monster creates a fantasy world so detailed and convincing that you’ll find yourself staying up all night on the internet researching the real case to find out what’s true and what’s not (spoiler: most of it is, horrifyingly, true). Macaulay Caulkin is spot-on as club kid Michael Alig; and Chloe Sevigny nails the part of his girlfriend, Gitsie, and looks so, so glamorous while doing it. What’s more, Party Monster’s costumes make Lady Gaga look like she shops at Talbots. The glitter budget for this movie must have been huge. —Jamie

Up All Night
Thursdays, 9:30 PM, NBC

The best thing about this awesome show, which stars Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as a couple adjusting to life with a new baby, is the fact that Reagan (Applegate) and Chris (Arnett) are both cool, intelligent, funny people that don’t make me want to kill myself or shoot the TV. You know how usually in TV sitcoms the mom stays at home and the dad is a total idiot who can barely tie his shoelaces and is all “I know you’re a liberated woman but WHERE’S MAH DINNER?”? Well, this show is totally not that. Reagan is a producer for her friend’s talk show, Ava, a kinda Oprah-esque situation hosted by the always magical Maya Rudolph, while Chris leaves his high-powered lawyer job to be a stay-at-home dad. That’s right. Stay-at-home DAD. And like, there’s no weird gay jokes about it or Who’s the Boss?-type situations either. It’s just normal. And normalcy being the salient trait of a couple whose first kiss was at a Tenacious D concert fills me with joy and restores my faith in humanity and in the future. After you’ve been laughing at this show for half an hour, you’re left with warm and fuzzy feelings inside that make you love the world. (And also butterflies in my stomach anytime Arnett is on TV). This show rules! You can even watch it with your parents without being embarrassed, and that counts for A LOT. —Laia

Dazed and Confused (1993)
Watching this movie will cause you to make an epic ’70s rock playlist and hit up your local thrift store in search of bellbottoms and puka shell necklaces. I rewatch it regularly because it’s one of those comedies that work like comfort food when you’re sick. I saw it for the first time my freshman year of high school and actually sort of wished that I’d been hazed by the seniors. Sure, that would mean that an evil young Parker Posey would be covering me with condiments and yelling at me to fry like bacon on the asphalt—or, if I was a guy, I’d be chased down by a young Ben Affleck, whose character, according to rumor, had flunked just so he could paddle incoming freshman again—but after the humiliation was over, one of the cooler seniors like Jason London (who plays the only football player I’ve ever sort of related to, Randall “Pink” Floyd) might invite me to the ultimate kegger in the woods, where I might get out to make out with the adorable stoner Slater, who provided the blueprint for all of my early high school crushes. Oh, and thank you, Matthew McConaughey, for your performance of the line “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man—I get older, they stay the same age” taught me to avoid the creepy older dude at the party. —Stephanie

American Graffiti (1973)
Drag racing and drive-ins frame this classic coming-of-age story about teenagers cruising the main strip of their Northern California town. Released in 1973 but set in 1962, director George Lucas (pre-Star Wars) beautifully captures the look (the cars are, indeed, “bitchin’”), the sound (songs by artists like Frankie Lymon, the Platters, Fats Domino, and the Beach Boys are used throughout) and the innocence of the era (young girls hop into cars with guys they don’t even know!), as well as the magic that seems to hover in the air when you’re in high school, aimlessly driving around with your crew at night. Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard—both staggeringly young—play best friends, preparing to leave for college. Dreyfuss’s character, Curt, spends his last night in town searching for a blonde goddess in a T-Bird, while Howard’s character, Steve, tries to patch things up with his girlfriend after telling her that they should see other people while he’s away. American Graffiti is just one of those movies that everyone needs to watch—if not for its historical significance or low-key awesomeness then definitely to witness the adorably naïf performance of a young Harrison Ford as a cowboy-hat-wearing drag racer. —Amber

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
I am pretty sure I saw this on a plane. I would be surprised if I rented it. I saw so many movies with Michael Cera in them, they all began to run together, as if 2008 was just a long montage of his nervous virgin hands fluttering in the air like puppet birds and the affections of too-hot girls that he loved/hated/had impregnated passed him like a teenage ship in the mixtape night. I remember I was surprised that I liked it, and that the chaos of being in a band was fairly well-represented. There may also be a scene with funny puking where I may have LOL’d. I would watch it again if it was on TV or if I was at someone’s house. Kat Dennings is always good at what she is doing. —Jessica
I thought it would be like a two-hour Converse ad, and sometimes it is, but it’s also amazingly romantic and fun and has Kat Dennings and Michael Cera at their very cutest and most charming. Plus there are some of the funniest drunk/puking scenes in movie history. Nick & Norah mimics perfectly that wandery, hopeful feeling of a really really long night spent searching for something—you don’t know what’s going to happen, and it gets boring sometimes, but then it gets fun again, and because it’s a movie, the thing you secretly hoped would happen, does. Is that too much of a spoiler? This is a romantic comedy, so you knew they’d get together, right? But what they bond over is the music they love, and that’s pretty great. If you’ve ever lived in NYC, it’s fun to spot all the places you’ve hung out with your friends. Pretend that the embarrassing subplot about how Kat Dennings has never had an orgasm didn’t happen. —Anaheed

Go (1999)
Ronna, facing eviction, is willing to do whatever it takes to pay her rent; Simon is headed to Las Vegas with the credit card he swiped from a drug dealer; and Adam and Zack, two fidgety soap opera stars, are looking to buy some ecstasy. Go takes place over the course of one wild 24-hour period, and its three interconnected stories unfold at a thrilling pace. This movie is darkly hilarious, and the way it plays with time is genuinely cool. There’s also a young, Dawson’s Creek-era Katie Holmes and a cat with the ability to read minds (sort of), and if you pay close attention you might just see Cindy Sanders from Freaks and Geeks. —Amber

Rock ’n’ Roll High School (1979)
At this high school (where the students RULE), they love rock ’n’ roll so much that the teachers keep having nervous breakdowns and quitting…that is, till the iron lady Miss Togar shows up! It’s fun and silly and begs for audience participation like, say, a food-fight-dance-a-thon-while-pulling-an-all-nighter? And it’s got P.J. Soles from Carrie! And then there’s the soundtrack! It starts off with a rare Paul McCartney/Wings song and proceeds with Todd Rundgren, Fleetwood Mac, and beeeeeeeyond. Oh, and of course, the Ramones (who, by the way, aren’t even brothers). —Sonja

200 Cigarettes (1999)
I used to watch movie one over and over again when I was in high school. I mean, I’d finish it and then immediately rewatch it. And that was in the VCR days, so I’d actually have to rewind the cassette—how’s that for dedication? Set on New Year’s Eve, 1981, 200 Cigarettes follows several young revelers as they roam the streets of Manhattan’s East Village, looking for romance. These young hopefuls include Paul Rudd, Courtney Love, Janeane Garofalo, Kate Hudson, Dave Chappelle, Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffmann, the brothers Affleck, and ELVIS COSTELLO. When I was younger, I was attracted to this comedy because of the amazing cast, but now I have a much greater appreciation for the dialogue—the back and forth between Love and Rudd is particularly smart—as well as how perfectly, and often hilariously, it captures the disparity between our expectations for a given evening and how things actually play out. —Amber

Skins (UK)
E4 (2007–now)

Last month, a friend of mine came to visit and brought the first four seasons of Skins (the British version) with her. We went through all of them in two weeks. The show follows various groups of teenagers through their last two years of college (like junior and senior year of American high school). There’s a lot of sex, drugs, and drinking, but whether or not you’ve led a hard-partying lifestyle, the characters will suck you in, and many of the issues that they deal with—from understanding your own sexuality and coming out to struggles with anorexia and mental health—are rarely portrayed with such honesty and emotion. I found characters like Cassie and Effy immediately fascinating because in all my book-reading and TV-viewing, I’ve never met anyone like them (especially the kooky, adorable Cassie). Then there were kids like Sid and Chris, who despite some poor decision-making clearly have good hearts and I couldn’t help rooting for and weeping over during some incredible storylines about family and grief. But the true sign that Skins is a well-crafted show is that I also came to care about characters I didn’t like at first—and to a degree still don’t—such as Tony and Cook. The one thing I will warn you about is almost the entire cast are replaced every two seasons, which I found jarring, as I got really invested in the first group and haven’t been quite so into subsequent casts. But once you are hooked on Skins, you’re hooked, so even though it means meeting another new group of people, I’ll definitely be watching season five ASAP, in preparation for the upcoming sixth season of this awesome show. —Stephanie

After Hours (1985)
Back in the mid-’80s, when I was in high school, I went on a bad date to see this weird Martin Scorsese comedy experiment at the local art-house theater. I didn’t like the boy and said yes only because I was flattered (I don’t think anyone had asked me on a proper date before) and because the boy in question was one of two dudes in my high school with a New Wave haircut. I spent the whole time blocking him from groping my boob (he actually did that whole pretend-he’s-yawning-to-reach-his-arm-over-my-shoulder move in real life), so since that repulsive eve this film has had bad associations for me. But when I rewatched it last night without an aspiring boob-toucher at my side, I found it endearingly goofy and pretentious as only an art-house film about “downtown New York” from 1985 can be. The casually corrupt main character, Paul, is as much of a cad as my high school date, but Rosanna Arquette is great as an early example of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and is Catherine O’Hara (the mom from Beetlejuice) ever not glorious? The story takes place over the course of one night that becomes a swirling nightmare where EVERYTHING goes wrong in a way that makes you go AAAAAAAAAAH! and NOOOOOOOOO! and bite your nails clean off. Soundtrack has Joni Mitchell and Bad Brains and Peggy Lee. —Anaheed