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Top 10 Hot Girl – Nerdy Guy Movies

by Eric Melin on March 16, 2010

in Top 10s

With the release of the unimaginatively but appropriately titled “She’s Out of My League” last weekend—which despite the participation of “Undeclared” star Jay Baruchel doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Judd Apatow—yet another movie where the schlub gets the hot girl has entered the history books. It’s a trend that seems to be gaining steam lately, but it certainly isn’t anything new. It got me thinking, though, so I made this list of Top 10 Hot Girl – Nerdy Guy Movies. They aren’t necessarily ranked by quality, but more so how closely the plot adheres to or revolves around the girl being way too hot for the guy. If you have a Top 10 of your own to contribute, email me at eric@scene-stealers.com.

broadcast news brooks hunter10. Broadcast News (1987) Jane Craig and Aaron Altman

This James L. Brooks film squeaks in at number 10 because even though the nerd doesn’t actually end up with the hot girl, he tries like hell and it drives the entire movie. Albert Brooks is a talented reporter who, despite his not-so-hot looks and massive sweating problem, yearns to be on camera. He is secretly in love with his best friend and successful female producer and hot girl Holly Hunter, who doesn’t want to admit how attracted she is to the shallow but handsome anchorman played by William Hurt. This movie is unique because it really gets under the skin of a character (Brooks) who has everything else going for him except his looks, and that one thing becomes a hugely limiting factor not just in his love life, but also his career. After awhile, his self-righteousness becomes kind of annoying, though, just as you’re experiencing similar emotions with the other two. This is a complicated, honest, and underrated movie not afraid to portray everyone’s vulnerability.

lady and the tramp 1955 spaghetti9. The Lady and the Tramp (1955) Lady and Tramp

Even though this classic Disney animated film is more about class prejudice than it is about hot girls and nerds, the title itself showcases the big chasm between the main characters. Lady is a well-groomed cocker spaniel who lives with an upper-class family. A ne’r-do-well dirty mutt named Tramp saves Lady from a group of street dogs and the two start an unlikely romance together. Tramp, who scrounges day by day for food on the street, shows Lady the ropes of living footloose and collar-free and romances her with a dinner by candlelight that contains the film’s most iconic moment: The two each eat one end of a spaghetti noodle and eventually meet in the middle. Awwww…

stacy rat fast times 19828. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) Stacy Hamilton and Mark ‘Rat’ Ratner

After getting tons of advice from popular hot girl and mentor Linda (played by Phoebe Cates), budding babe-in-training Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) goes the opposite way and starts falling for the usher at the mall movie theater, a mousy little nerd nicknamed ‘Rat’ (Brian Backer). Of course, she takes a minor detour into creep territory during one fateful afternoon in the pool-house with the school’s slick ticket broker Mike Damone (Robert Romanus), but that just serves to bring her closer to the thoughtful and sensitive Rat—even if he did put on Led Zeppelin in the car to try to ‘seduce’ her. After all, that was Damone’s idea in the first place! This is the first of two appearances on this list written by Cameron Crowe, a nerd who lives the dream. He’s married to Nancy Wilson from Heart. How cool is that?

there's something about mary 19987. There’s Something About Mary (1998) Mary and Ted, Healy, Tucker, and Woogie

All of these movies—and romantic comedies in general, really—are about wish fulfillment. At least “There’s Something About Mary” was honest and played like a fantasy, with Jonathan Richman and his acoustic guitar narrating the movie. At first it seems that there is just one schlub who’s got something for hot chick Mary (Cameron Diaz) in this Farrelly brothers comedy, but it turns out there are four guys (Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon, Chris Elliott, and Lee Evans) pursuing the impossibly hot, cool, and sports-loving Mary, who it turns out was once engaged to Brett Favre. She’s the first (but not the last) perfect fantasy girl on this list—the kind that was common on sitcoms like “The King of Queens” and “According to Jim,” and seen in every Budweiser ad since who knows when. In this case, the nerdy guy who had a crush on Mary since his pimply brace-faced high school days (Stiller) prevails.

say anything 1989 dobler court6. Say Anything (1989) Diane Court and Lloyd Dobler

Lloyd (John Cusack) may not be super nerdy, but he is an avid kickboxer and he does wear a trenchcoat—yikes. In fact, we know Lloyd is a nerd because he is the “guy friend” to all these other girls who won’t date him, but instead look out for him like he’s a little brother. When he decides to pursue the class valedictorian on the last day of high school, nobody thinks he stands a chance (even though the girls secretly know how adorable he is). Even though the movie starts out following the “hot girl nerdy guy” template, it ends up being more than that as revelations about school-focused hot chick Diane (Ione Skye) come out when she’s least expecting it, and no-future Lloyd turns out to be there for her. One of the best films on this list (and Cameron Crowe’s directorial debut), it only ranks this low because Cusack’s “nerd” is the coolest thing about the picture.

can-t-buy-me-love-caps-patrick-dempsey-7134087-720-528.jpg5. Can’t Buy Me Love (1987) Ronald Miller and Cindy Mancini

A popular cheerleader (Amanda Peterson) pretends to be the girlfriend of a nerd (Patrick Dempsey) for a month in exchange for the $1,000 she needs to replace an outfit of her mother’s that she damaged. They each agree not to reveal it’s all a ruse (Ronald thinks it will help him become popular too), but guess what happens after spending a month with the nerdy guy? You got it, baby! Along the way, however, everybody learns important lessons about not abandoning your friends and not judging people by their appearances. At the end, Cindy chooses not to go out with all her popular friends, and instead hops on Ronald’s—wait for it—lawnmower! This movie also made a brief hit out of its title song, a Beatles classic, again. Since titling your flick after popular songs is still all the rage these days, can a movie called “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” be too far behind?

jules seth evan becca superbad4. Superbad (2007) Seth and Jules, Evan and Becca

OK, back to hardcore nerds. Overweight Seth (Jonah Hill) and his twitchy best friend Evan (Michael Cera) talk big shit, but they couldn’t get a girl if they tried. Most of the movie (written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg) is spent talking themselves into and out of sticky situations that all stem from one thing: trying to get alcohol for a party to impress their high school crushes, who are way, way out of their league. Somehow, by the end of the film, all of their bravado turns out to be masking their own insecurities and they get a hot chick. After a drunken night where the pair tell each other “I love you” in a brotherly way (but with a tinge of homo-eroticism that’s so common in buddy comedies), they end up at the mall with the two hot girls they were pursuing the whole time!

6a00d83451b05569e20120a69266be970c-800wi.jpg3. Revenge of the Nerds (1984) Lewis Skolnick and Betty Childs

So—disguising yourself in the Darth Vader costume of the popular guy to have sex with his hot girlfriend under false pretenses is a sleazy, if not probably illegal move, but having seen the amount of crap heaped upon the nerds of Lambda Lambda Lambda by the jocks of Alpha Beta, you might forgive horn-rimmed nerd stereotype Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine). Hot chick Betty did. (If she likes it, is it not rape?) There’s a lot of hot girls and nerdy guys in this movie. The nerds get their revenge on the cruel popular kids by placing hidden cameras in the sorority and Liquid Heat in the jockstraps of the Betas, but it’s the inspiring rhetoric of Lewis that pushes the women of Pi Delta Pi to their side by the end of the film.

gary deb weird science2. Weird Science (1985) Gary and Deb, Wyatt and Hilly

It takes a whole lot of teenage sci-fi craziness to get to the improbable hookup at the end of “Weird Science,” but uber-nerds Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) end up stealing super-hot 80s girls Deb and Hilly away from their bullying boyfriends Ian (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Max (Robert Rusler) anyway. How do they get over their fear of talking and interacting with women? By creating one of course. If Cameron Diaz’s Mary was the ultimate fantasy girl, then hot chick Kelly Le Brock’s Lisa one-ups her only by the sheer will of her creators, who wore bras on their heads and imbued her with the body of a fashion model, the brains of Albert Einstein, and superpowers. It may sound terribly perverted, but this is a John Hughes movie, so instead of hooking up with Lisa, she instead gives them the confidence to dress like pimps, put Wyatt’s over-aggressive military brother Chet (Bill Paxton) in his place, and stop a gang of mutant bikers from destroying their party. Of course, Deb and Hilly saddle right up to those macho dudes. So that’s all it takes?

knocked up ben alison1. Knocked Up (2007) Ben Stone and Alison Scott

As Dean Wormer once said in “Animal House”: “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Well, it didn’t stop this guy. Seth Rogen is the ultimate nerdy guy schlub in Judd Apatow’s surprisingly perceptive comedy about what happens to two people after one night of ill-advised drunken sex leads to an unwanted pregnancy. Rogen, a dope-smoker living off money from an injury while trying to start a celebrity nude website with his roomies, hooks up with Katherine Heigl, a beautiful career-minded woman who has just been given a job as an on-air personality for E! Network. The setup alone is rife with commentary about what Hollywood considers beautiful and the story unfolds with surprising care and precision, as Ben learns to grow up and Alison tries valiantly to force love into the equation. Apatow’s film is widely credited with starting today’s modern fascination with the nerdy guy-hot girl movie, but it’s better than that. A subplot between married couple Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann shows Ben and Alison that building a life together is not always roses, and after the requisite romantic comedy break-up, the two get back together to try it again. “Knocked Up” is number one because of its influence—good or bad—and because it follows the exact premise of the Top 10 to a “T” and follows it through, achieving something that’s more than just surface value.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Reed March 16, 2010 at 11:14 am

Great list, Eric, but I think you are really stretching the boundaries of “nerdy” guys. This really is more “loser” guys as many of them are not smart or quirky enough to be nerds. I must say that I think Weird Science should be #1. It’s almost like Hughes made the movie so it could one day be included in this list.

Some others that come to mind:
Star Trek (the new one)
The 40 Year Old Virgin (I realize you were holding it to one Apatow)
Spider-Man 2
Sixteen Candles (ok, so that’s another Hughes movie, but still hard to beat Farmer Ted’s hazy conquest)
Little Shop of Horrors

Also, I assume that the list will have to be revamped upon the creation of a Salmon Rushdie bio-pic (should such a thing ever happen).

Movies named after songs? Stay away…..!


2 Dana March 16, 2010 at 11:18 am

I just realized I’m a closet romantic comedy fan. I own (and love) most of these movies!


3 Stig March 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm

What about the Ed Helms/Heather Graham combo in The Hangover?


4 emawkc March 16, 2010 at 4:01 pm

How is Better Off Dead not on this list? You’re suspect, Melin!


5 dbmurray March 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm

No one from _American Pie_ qualified?


6 norm March 17, 2010 at 10:29 am

Reed makes a fantastic point. Could be the ultimate hot girl nerdy guy pairing. But to be fair, Salman Rushdie has got that charming accent. And I bet the death sentence can give a certain frisson to thrill-seeking girls. And then there’s the Booker Prize. Maybe *Padma*’s the nerd.


7 Meg March 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Llyod Dobler Keeper of the Keys was my nickname in college a few years ago! Plus, this list gave me warm fuzzies because I loved it so much. Well done, Mr. Melin. Though I agree Better Off Dead would have been a nice addition to your list.

What makes me sad though is no mention of Jason Schwartzman’s beautiful nerd Max Fisher from Rushmore…or Bill Murray for that matter. That movie gave you two nerds fishing for a hot chick way out of their league for the price of one! How can you say no?!


8 Eric Melin March 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Reed- Little Shop of Horrors would have been perfect! You’re right, though, trying to keep it to one Apatow/one Hughes movie! Rushdie! Nice one.

Stig- The Hangover will never make my top anything list, sorry.

db – American Pie would have made a good one too…

norm- Rushdie: “I’ve got the death sentence in twelve systems!”

Meg and emawkc- Yeah, one Cusack only! I thought long and hard about Rushmore, but its structure was just a bit too strange to consider Max and his teach as a couple. Plus, it’s on a couple other lists, I think….

Glad you all dug it–perhaps “nerdy” wasn’t quite the word for the list–too specific. Suggestions? Loser? Schlub?


9 eric c April 3, 2010 at 12:14 am

The Sure Thing- John Cusack


10 Jason April 15, 2010 at 6:04 am

Why is nobody from American Pie on this list, they are all nerds and they got the hot girls.


11 Shelly March 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm

What about ‘She’s out of my League’ and ‘Drive Me Crazy’? Those are both good too.


12 Phillip January 18, 2016 at 1:11 am

Can’t Buy Me Love should Be #1 and for me personally She’s out of my League would be #2 (it was one of the best nerd and hottie movies to me. I would include Paul Blart (even though the second one ruined it for me). Also, The New Guy, Take Me Home Tonight, Back To The Future, and Can’t Hardly Wait. My Top 10 would be:
1) Can’t Buy Me Love (The one to live up to)
2) She’s Out of My League
3) Can’t Hardly Wait
4) Revenge of the Nerds
5) Back To The Future (Marty’s Parents)
6) Take Me Home Tonight
7) Pretty in Pink
8) The Faculty
9) Weird Science
10) Paul Blart Mall Cop (#1)


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