Whether it’s high school, university, or those karate lessons at your neighbourhood dojo, this is the time of year many students are flying away from the ol’ educational nest. And needless to say, there’s no dearth of film comedies to commemorate the occasion. Here are five of the better ones…

‘American Pie’

We all have our favourites in this move: there’s Stifler, Oz, the flute girl, or the dude who gets it on with that pastry. The premise: a bunch of high school chums vow to lose their virginity before the last day of high school. No easy feat of course, because it’s high school. American Pie is obnoxious, puerile, stupid, and, most of all, completely hilarious. Bonus: Eugene Levy as the goofy dad!

‘PCU’

Full disclosure: 1994’s PCU isn’t an awesome film, but since I was an extra in the thing, I figure it deserves an honourable mention on this list.  The setting: Port Chester University, a school where rampant political correctness has led to parties, fraternities, and fun in general being outlawed. Having just finished school myself, my four days of ‘acting’ work in the blistering sun became an educational rite of passage. Bonus: I shared a graduation-style scene with Jessica Walter (Arrested Development), David Spade, Jeremy Piven, and future Iron Man director Jon Favreau (who sported dreadlocks, naturally). I reckon they earned slightly more than the $200 I was given.

‘Superbad’

Only one thing can effectively mark the end of senior year: a big ol’ party. Seth, Evan, and Fogell are on the guest list, tasked with the burden (or is it ‘burdened with the task’?) of bringing the beer. This leads to Fogell’s newly-minted fake ID, which simply lists his name as ‘McLovin.’ Hey, it’s happened to the best of us. In my last year of high school, I painstakingly doctored my driver’s licence to suggest I was 19 year old. A perfect plan, were I not vacationing in Florida, where the drinking age is 21. Smooth, buddy.

‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

Perhaps the granddaddy of near-graduation comedies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is actually a helluva lot funnier — and edgier — thank you might remember. Sweet-yet-conniving young Ferris (Matthew Broderick) wants to give his neurotic pal Cameron a day to remember, replete with art galleries, ball games, spontaneous parades, and sports car joyrides. And it just can’t wait until the weekend. Mind you, villainous principal Ed Rooney is hot on their trail. His mission: catch Ferris in the act and expel his arse back to the stone age, thereby thwarting any shot at graduation. Bonus: a young Charlie Sheen stretching his acting chops as a smartass drug addict!

‘Dazed and Confused’

Never has one movie launched the career of so many: Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, and one Mr. Matthew McConaughey. The year is 1976, and it’s the final day of classes at Lee High School in the suburbs of Austin, Texas. Keg parties? Check. Hazing? Check. Making out? Check. Existential ‘coming of age’ philosophizing? Check. Badass period-era rock soundtrack? Triple check. Instant classic.