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In times when gatherings among loved ones are hard to come by, I tend to rely on the movies to keep me entertained. However, if you are really in the mood to party, and rewatching the Marvel movies in order or marathoning all the best horror movies isn’t satisfying your urge, there are, luckily, plenty of films in which partying is the whole point.
Now, to be clear, I am not just talking about movies that contain scenes at a party, involve a climactic moment at a party, or even movies that are great for watching at parties. I am talking about movies in which the party itself is the central focus and the main setting of the entire plot. The following are nine movies set during a party (or parties, even) that will have you dancing and laughing the night away, starting with just about the most definitive title of the bunch.
House Party (HBO Max)
After a fight at school gets him a grounded, a teen (Christopher “Kid” Reid) sneaks out to a get-together hosted by his best friend (Christopher “Play” Martin) that turns out to be an unpredictable night for both of them.
Why it’s a fun party movie: Directed by Oscar nominee Reginald Hudlin and starring hip-hop duo Kid ’N Play, House Party is one of the most acclaimed comedies of the early 1990s, inspiring four sequels and an upcoming remake produced by LeBron James exclusively for HBO Max.
Stream House Party on HBO Max.
Rent House Party on Amazon.
Project X (Netflix, HBO Max)
When his parents leave on a trip, a teen (Thomas Mann) plans a get-together with his friends for his 17th birthday, which turns out to be a crazy night for all of them after one decides to spread word of the event a little wider than initially intended.
Why it’s a fun party movie: The 21st Century equivalent of House Party is, arguably, 2012’s Project X – an uproarious and beautifully chaotic celebration that invites you to feel as if you are a part of it with its immersive found footage style.
21 & Over (Starz)
On the eve of an important interview that will determine his medical school admission, a devoted student (Blue Bayou cast lead and director Justin Chon) is taken out by his two best friends for his 21st birthday, which turns out to be a wilder and more problematic night for all of them than expected.
Why it’s a fun party movie: Project X also features Miles Teller in a small supporting role a year before he and Skyler Astin became the life of the party in 21 & Over – a funny and surprisingly heartfelt celebration of entering the more mature stages of your life by letting go of all maturity.
Stream 21 & Over on Starz.
Rent 21 & Over on Amazon.
Superbad (Amazon Rental)
A meek high school senior (Michael Cera) and his sex-obsessed best friend (Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill) conspire to end their lifelong losing streak with ladies before graduating, by scoring booze for a local party.
Why it’s a fun party movie: It could be argued that the 21st Century equivalent of House Party is really 2007’s Superbad, which is also, inarguably, one of the most authentic (albeit shockingly filthy) depictions of modern youth for how Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s semi-autobiographical screenplay captures the desperation of debauchery and the pressures of growing up.
A shy high school senior (Kaitlyn Dever) and her grades-obsessed best friend (Beanie Feldstein) conspire to reverse their lifelong ignorance of the social scene on the night before their graduation by scoring admission to a huge party, which turns into a tour of every major party in town.
Why it’s a fun party movie: It could be argued that the female equivalent of Superbad is Booksmart – not just because it stars Jonah Hill’s younger sister, Beanie Feldstein, but for its refreshingly honest and non-discriminatory reflection of Gen Z sensibilities, which director Olivia Wilde chooses to depict in the dazzling style of an ‘80s action movie.
Stream Booksmart on Hulu.
Rent Booksmart on Amazon.
Can’t Hardly Wait (Starz)
A nerdy teen outcast (Ethan Embry), the recently dumped popular girl he is secretly in love with (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and several others conspire to change their fates on the night of their graduation at the biggest party in town.
Why it’s a fun party movie: One of the most endearing and refreshingly honest depictions of youth in the late 1990s was this epic teen movie, with the Can’t Hardly Wait cast featuring a stunning ensemble of future A-listers, including Hewitt, Seth Green, Twilight cast member Peter Facinelli, and Jason Segel, to name a few.
Stream Can’t Hardly Wait on Starz.
Rent Can’t Hardly Wait on Amazon.
Dazed And Confused (Amazon Rental)
A teen football star (Jason London), a newly minted freshman tormented by traditional hazing (Wiley Wiggins), and several others conspire to have a good time on the night of the last day of school in Austin, Texas, in 1976.
Why it’s a fun party movie: Although released in 1993, writer and director Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused is easily the most authentic, thoroughly entertaining, and endlessly quotable depiction of America’s youth in the 1970s, that also features a notable ensemble of future A-listers, including Ben Affleck, Mathew McConaughey, and Milla Jovovich, to name a few.
Sisters (Amazon Rental)
When their parents announce they are selling their childhood home, a recently divorced nurse (Amy Poehler) and her more irresponsible older sister (Tina Fey) conspire to host one last wild night at the house, which turns out to be exactly what the local adults need, until things start getting out of hand.
Why it’s a fun party movie: Most of the films on our list are about representing youth, yet Sisters is a comedy about rediscovering your youth and rekindling your relationship with a loved one, but is just as irresistibly insane and inspired as any teen movie.
Office Christmas Party (Amazon Rental)
When the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to close a tech company’s Chicago branch, the local manager (T.J. Miller), Chief Technology Officer (Jason Bateman), and a research and development head (Olivia Munn) conspire to make a deal with a sought-after client (Courtney B. Vance) by throwing an unusually extravagant (and extreme) holiday event with their employees that quickly gets out of hand.
Why it’s a fun party movie: While it is best enjoyed at one particular time of the year, 2016’s Office Christmas Party is, in any case, a charming, star-studded comedy about reminding yourself how to have fun when responsibilities seem to get in the way, and one of the raunchiest holiday movies in recent memory.
Whether you watch these movies to get in the mood to party or to satisfy your insatiable partying mood, either result is a guarantee.