Art is supposed to be a reflection of reality. One of the hardest times in any person’s life is college. Because of the power of film, we are able to see a reflection, and some truth, through movies about college. Here is our staff member’s top twelve movies about college.
12). 22 Jump Street
This is the first and only sequel on this list (sorry American Pie 2 and Pitch Perfect 2 fans). This reboot about two thirty year old cops who have to go back to college to solve a mystery surrounding drugs and murder. I do not know if I have laughed harder in a sequence of scenes than the scenes surrounding Ice Cube and Jonah Hill’s character who is dating Cube’s daughter.
11). Pitch Perfect
You will never be able to listen to “The Sign” without hearing The Barden Bellas singing it. While the movie steals from the Glee fan base, it is a fun journey through the competitive underbelly of college a cappella. It makes riff-offs cool. Plus, “Cups” was on the radio all of the time after the movie came out.
What happens when no college in America will accept you into their school? Well, you start your own university of course! This film will make you remember the time in history when Justin Long had a successful acting career. When in doubt, maybe South Harmon Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T.) will send you an acceptance letter.
9). Old School
Back when Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn actually made good movies. This comedy classic is about a man (Luke Wilson) who moves into a house near a college campus. His friends start throwing college keggers at his place to remind them of the joys of their youth. They even form their own fraternity. A must for anyone who is going back to school.
8). Sydney White
An age old tale with a modern twist. It is the Snow White story, but instead, White is an incoming freshman who is pledging a sorority. However, she spurns the sorority and their evil queen leader, and she joins a failing fraternity of twelve nerds who no one likes. It is a little bit Snow White and a little bit Revenge of the Nerds. Also, one of the final movies by now retired actress Amanda Bynes.
7). A Beautiful Mind
The movie that Russell Crowe should have won an Academy Award for (he won the year before for Gladiator). The first half of the movie focuses on Crowe during his time as at Princeton. Crowe bumbles around campus looking for his “original idea.” Another truth of college in the movie, Crowe’s character finds his wife while at Princeton. A Beautiful Mind is a complex, scary, and beautiful examination of schizophrenia specifically, and mental health as a whole.
6). Good Will Hunting
The movie that gave us Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. A janitor at MIT (Damon) is really the smartest student at the school. Will Hunting teaches us that people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on education, when they can get a better and more thorough education spending tens of dollars on late fees at the local library. Also, it is the most powerful performance by the late Robin Williams who plays a psychologist at the university.
5). Blue Chips
Shaq made all of his money in college…at least according to BASEketball. Blue Chips reveals the true nature of NCAA recruiting in the late 80s and early 90s. Nick Nolte needs to get three blue chip prospects to commit to the university in order to revive the basketball glories of his team. The college boosters will do whatever it will take to get them. In real life, the agents of Penny Hardaway pushed him to be in the movie so that he could play basketball with Shaq. Shaq was drafted by the Orlando Magic the year before, and Penny was hoping to get picked #1 overall by the Magic the year of the movie. It worked. Shaq pushed Orlando to draft Penny as a result of their working together in Blue Chips.
What happens when you send your child to tour a university? PCU happens. Port Chester University, also known as Politically Correct University, is a story of the contemporary college experience in the mid-90s. Students protesting and trying to be socially progressive on the campus mall, but they are trying too hard. Jeremy Piven (fresh off of appearances in Seinfeld) stars of the “hero” who is trying to bring fraternities, college parties, and joy to the quite, stagnant campus of PCU.
Let’s get this out of the way right now. RUDY WAS OFFSIDES! He was offsides and did not get flagged for it at the end of the film! Now that that is out of the way, Rudy (starring a young Sean Austin) wants to get into Notre Dame and play football for the Irish. Only problem is that he is not good enough academically to get accepted into Notre Dame, or physically gifted enough to play for the Fighting Irish. Through dedication, he works his way through community college to get good enough grades to get accepted into Notre Dame. Then, he makes the practice squad for the football team and sees the field in the last play on the last game of his senior season. A truly amazing sports movie to be sure. RUDY! RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!
2). The Social Network
What happens when your college girlfriend breaks-up with you? You steal a bunch of different ideas, merge them into one, create Facebook and become a billionaire. This movie is based on the book, The Accidental Billionaire, about Mark Zuckerberg, and his experiences at Harvard and the creation of The Facebook. The Social Network is adapted from this book by the great American playwright, Aaron Sorkin. Facebook has to be one of the most influential creations of the millennium. The idea behind Facebook was to create the exclusivity and social aspects of college while having them easily accessible through a social media based platform. It gave Zuckerberg his, “original idea.”
1). Van Wilder
The greatest movie about college is none other but Van Wilder. Admit it, we all wish that we could be as cool as Van Wilder. Played by a young Ryan Reynolds, Wilder dedicates his life to helping undergrads succeed while at college. However, he is a seven year senior. Through circumstances, he is forced to come to grips that he may need to graduate and move on with his life and FINALLY leave college.
Contributed by Shem Hanks, Education Coach at Northwest College Support