This week marks the release of Disney's 'Prom,' just in time for –- you guessed it –- prom season. It's hard to resist a solid high school movie, and this one appears to have all of the classic elements: a brooding bad boy (Thomas McDonell), a pretty blonde overachiever (Aimee Teegarden), a beautiful prom queen (Kylie Bunbury), a popular jock (De'Vaughn Nixon) and, of course, a nerdy nice guy (Nicholas Braun).
No high school movie would be complete without a nerdy nice guy (not to be confused with abrasive geeks, like Napoleon Dynamite or 'Rushmore''s Max Fischer). After all, lovable dorks have become some of the most memorable characters in high school movie history.
It's hard to pinpoint why nerdy nice guys have become such an enduring high school movie fixture. Maybe it's because they're so relatable. Maybe it's because the screenplay writers are dorks themselves. It could also be attributed to the underdog factor. Everyone wants to see the nerd rise from obscurity to get the girl!
Or it could be that lovable dorks may be a necessary device to teach us all a lesson. Y'know, a lesson about not being distracted by the dazzling good looks of popular jocks or brooding bad boys who turn out to be jerks. Besides, if high school movies have taught us anything, it's that sometimes nerdy nice guys grow up to be hunks like Joseph Gordon-Levitt or McDreamy.
In honor of 'Prom''s latest nerdy nice guy, here's a list of my top 10 all-time favorite lovable high school movie dorks. Did I miss yours? Let us know in the comments box!
1. Duckie (Jon Cryer) in 'Pretty in Pink'
Duckie saves the day! No girl wants to walk into the prom solo, and Duckie makes sure his BFF Andie (Molly Ringwald) doesn't have to. His good deed doesn't go unnoticed, and this nice guy finishes with a dance from pre-'Buffy' hottie Kristy Swanson.
2. Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) in 'Say Anything'
Wooing a girl by setting up a boombox outside of her window is a pretty dorky move, but Lloyd Dobler manages to pull it off.
3. McLovin' (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) in 'Superbad'
McLovin' is the best kind of high school nerd: cocky, a la Napoleon Dynamite. His smooth moves land him in bed with the feisty redhead who saunters around school sportin' a mean whale tail.
4. Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High'
Remember when Brad followed his sis (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the family planning clinic and gave her a ride home? Awww. Brad's girlfriend was a fool to dump this super nice guy!
5. Ronald Miller (Patrick Dempsey) in 'Can't Buy Me Love'
Hard to believe there was ever a time when Dr. McDreamy had to pay a girl to go out with him, huh?
6. Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) in 'American Pie'
Sure, next to Stifler any schmuck looks like a saint. But sweet Jim really does have heart. Foreign hottie Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) knows that the nerds are where it's at.
7. Preston Myers (Ethan Embry) in 'Can't Hardly Wait'
Awww. Cute little Preston has had a secret crush on the prom queen (Jennifer Love Hewitt) for four years! His plan to finally swoop in is well-timed: she's just been dumped by her jerky jock boyfriend.
8. Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) in 'Scream'
Sidney (Neve Campbell) would have been wise to go out with lovable dork Randy instead of psycho hottie Billy. Looks aren't everything!
9. Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in '10 Things I Hate About You'
Popular blonde Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) could have saved herself a lot of time and heartache if she noticed how cute and sweet nerdy Cameron was before falling for cocky d-bag Joey (Andrew Keegan).
10. The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall) in 'Sixteen Candles'
Yes, he's annoying. And kind of a stalker. But The Geek is a sensitive sweetheart at his core.