Honor Roll: 6 Films About College That Everyone Should See
This summer has been ... unusual ... to say the least, but we hope you've managed to make the most of it, because school is officially back in session (or some virtual version of it, anyway).
Grab a seat and some college-ruled paper, you’ll want to take notes for this. Welcome to Caavo's Film Studies 101 where you’ll learn about the most essential films about college.
The students featured in these movies certainly weren't all academic all-stars, but we give them all an “A” for their creativity and school spirit! Whether you're a current student or haven't stepped foot inside a classroom for decades, these movies about college have a little something for everyone.
In this early 2000s film, college is truly defined by what you make it - literally. Justin Long, plays a high school senior who has been rejected to every college that he applied to, so to save face, he starts his own college! Things ramp up very quickly for this new, illegitimate university when a gaggle of people are admitted to the school simply because they also had nowhere else to go. Despite the silly premise, Long’s character does showcase a creative and entrepreneurial mindset that he could probably write about on his future applications to real schools!
Determined to get her Harvard law boyfriend back after he dumped her for being “too blonde” for his future political image, Elle Woods goes from Barbie pink to Barbie chic. Using her charm to get into Harvard’s prestigious law school to prove her ex wrong, she actually realizes that she can be more than just a trophy wife - she can use her beauty and brains in the courtroom! Elle is the perfect example of finding your true passion at school, even if it’s not what you originally intended to study (oh, and a reminder to stay true yourself)!
Good Will Hunting
Sometimes we get sidetracked in life, and it takes positive encouragement and mentors, to help propel us to where we should be. In this classic film, Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon), is working as a janitor at MIT while he’s on probation, but he catches the attention of the college professors after solving an extremely complex math equation that puzzles even the students. To get him back on the right track, the professor hires a therapist (Robin Williams) to help him work through his issues and hopefully free him of his self-sabotaging mentality.
Mona Lisa Smile
Full of young stars like Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles, and even Kirsten Dunst, Mona Lisa Smile takes us back to the 50s at the prestigious all-girls college Wellesley, where women’s main aspiration was to be married before senior year. Coming in as a free-spirited, progressive art professor is Roberts, who is shocked to learn that these bright girls are more focused on weddings than on expanding their minds with academia and earning their degrees. By breaking the strict, orthodox rules of the school, she hopes to truly teach the girls about their options in the world- but the students end up teaching her a thing or two as well.
One of director Spike Lee’s best films, School Daze is an offbeat comedy-musical that highlights college culture at a historically Black university. With the polarized Greek houses constantly feuding (by way of very pop dance numbers, in very 80s outfits) about who rules the school, and activist just hoping to rally the students to come together as one on issues that really matter, this is a quite accurate big-screen portrayal of life on a college campus.
Another on-screen look at the comedic musings of college Greek houses, Animal House is justly titled as we follow the boys of the Delta Tau Chi fraternity as they party their semester way and run into trouble with the school’s dean. Oddball freshman who were hoping to pledge to the pretentious Omega Theta Pi house, get turned away and only have the rowdy group of Delta’s to fall back on, which make their freshman year one to remember, to say the least.