Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Glynn Turman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Garrett Morris, Cynthia Davis
Lesson Learned: You won't fulfill those lofty goals if babes and peer pressure get in the way.

Without Cooley High, we might not have Boyz N The Hood or any of its ilk. The black answer to 1973's all-honkey affair American Graffiti, director Michael Schultz's dramedy, set in the inner city of Chicago, in 1964, adopted a much lighter tone than the future hood movie it'd eventually influence, but the themes are the same.

Preach (Glynn E. Turman) is a fan of poetry who dreams of making it as a Hollywood screenwriter, while his main man Cochise (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) is Cooley Vocational High School's resident ladies' man/basketball star. Cooley High starts off like many other teen comedies, with situational comedy, girl troubles, and parental conflicts. But the film takes a left turn once Preach and Cochise get caught up in a stolen car fiasco. Subsequent inner-city-youth-gone-bad flicks have delivered more visceral drama, but Cooley High's seminal nature shouldn't be overlooked.