All-American High

Director: Keva Rosenfeld

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


Gidget’s dream come true: a high school that gives surfing as a curriculum course. Filmed at Torrance High School in Southern California, and narrated by a Finnish exchange student, All-American High is a vision of teenagedom with the emphasis on dumb. Life is a series of beer-sodden parties, shopping trips to the local mall, school galas at which the crowning of the “most popular” girl or boy seems a weekly occurrence, and class courses with such titles as “The Young Decorator” (how to buy living room furniture) and “S.O.S.: Survival of singles.”

Are there no intelligent, thoughtful young people at Torrance High? One or two with a modicum of maturity who don’t sound as though they’ve stepped out to show a slice-of-teenage-life and he’s done so with a vengeance. But the evidence is so disturbing, so thoroughly convincing that this generation is peopled with brainless kids that one comes away convinced the world will end neither with a bang nor a whimper. More like a giggle.

— Karen Cooper

Screening Details

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