Love it or hate it, St. Patrick’s Day has become as closely associated with drinking and partying as it is with four-leaf clovers and the colour green. From low-key bar events to extravagant club bashes, there’s no shortage of things to do during any given St. Patrick’s Day weekend. But having all those options can be overwhelming. So if you’d rather stay in this year (or if you need some ideas for next year’s St. Paddy’s Day soirée), check out our list of the 10 most over-the-top, ridiculous, and awe-inspiring party movies of all time.
Girls Trip may have only come out last year, but if you ask us it’s already secured its place in the party-movie canon. After Dina (played by the incomparable Tiffany Haddish) spikes her friends’ drinks with absinthe, she and the other girls (played by Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith) go clubbing and partake in a dance-off. Because that’s what you do when you’re drunk out of your mind. Unfortunately for them, the dance-off goes off the rails. Fortunately for us, it’s hilarious.
Apart from a couple of short scenes, 1998’s Can’t Hardly Wait takes place entirely at a high school graduation party (partly because writer-directors Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont wanted to shoot a party movie and partly because they wanted to cut their budget down). It’s iconic as far as ‘90s teen comedy movies go. Plus it stars a pre-Ghost Whisperer Jennifer Love Hewitt, a pre-Austin Powers Seth Green and a pre-Twilight Peter Facinelli.
In 2008’s Baby Mama, Tina Fey played a responsible businesswoman while Amy Poehler got to let loose as wild child Angie. In Sisters, the roles are reversed as Fey’s carefree Kate convinces Poehler’s reserved Maura to throw one last party before their parents move out of their beloved childhood home. Sisters features what might be the very first music box injury immortalized on film and treats us to Fey-Poehler choreographed dance scene, for which we are immensely grateful.
Arguably the OG party flick, Animal House stars the dearly departed John Belushi, and even though it came out it the ‘70s it continues to inspire both revved-up college students and rowdy grads who want to keep the festivities going beyond school walls. If you’ve ever been to a toga party (or really any above-average frat party), you’ve probably got this movie to thank.
Rough Night is, premise-wise, somewhat similar to The Hangover. But unlike The Hangover, Rough Night lets its viewers witness the events that lead-up the protagonists’ very risky and very regrettable choices. Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Jillian Bell, and Ilana Glazer bachelorette party it up and publicly perform a pre-planned dance routine while Kate McKinnon cheers them on. A few hours later, they unintentionally kill a male stripper. Hopefully your St. Patrick’s Day parties go a little more smoothly.
In Neighbors, Zac Efron’s Teddy and Dave Franco’s Pete move into a quiet neighbourhood home with the intention of turning it into a college party house, much to the chagrin of their older neighbours Mac and Kelly (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne). Despite Mac and Kelly’s very justified frustration, we’d have loved to attend every single one of Teddy and Pete’s gatherings (especially the highly imaginative Robert De Niro party).
It’s not your traditional party movie, but there’s no denying that Jay Gatsby knew how to throw one hell of a bash. Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel (starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby) received a fair amount of backlash, but Luhrmann did manage to capture the extreme decadence of a signature Gatsby party, right down to the fountains, feathers, and giant bottles of champagne.
Proving that trying to relive your college days is never a good idea, Old School follows thirty-something lawyer Mitch (Luke Wilson) as he starts his own fraternity after going through a difficult breakup. Mitch’s friends Bernard and Frank (Vince Vaughan and Will Ferrell) get involved, and reckless hilarity ensues.
Written by Michael Bacall, 21 Jump Street stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill (who really can’t pass as 17-year-olds, but whatever) as two cops who go undercover as high school students to stop a new drug from spreading among teens. No high school movie would be complete without at least one wild party scene, and 21 Jump Street is no exception—Hill’s Schmidt throws a not-so-small get-together that eventually ends in a fistfight.
The plot of Project X literally revolves around three high school kids who throw a party that gets outrageously out of control, so how could we not put this on the list? Project X was also written by Michael Bacall, so the guy clearly has a knack for writing party movies. And while the film’s characters, premise, and plot are all unsettling and at times straight-up upsetting, that might be the point. Project X is over-the-top in every sense of the word (at one point the SWAT team makes an appearance) but provides a cathartic experience to those who want to party as if they’re invincible and know they probably shouldn’t.