By Alejandro Montalvo
For the week of finals, we compiled a list of movies about college that are sure to cheer you up or inspire you as you go through the end of the semester. Regardless of time or genre, movies about college provide a glimpse into our lives as we move into the “real” world. Enjoy these selections in between studying or as a celebration for when you finish your last exams.
Animal House (1978)
“Animal House” is often hailed as the quintessential “college film” and nearly 40 years later, it’s still hilarious. Disreputable Delta Tau Chi and its rowdy members are on the verge of being kicked out of school for their outrageous antics. As the ax comes down on their frat house, they make sure to go out with a bang. John Belushi is pitch-perfect as the “lovable oaf.” “Animal House’s” influence on college life cannot be understated. Were toga parties a thing before this movie? They most certainly are now. How about that blue sweater with the word “college” emblazoned on the front? Iconic.
Monsters University (2013)
While it may pale in comparison with “Monsters, Inc.,” “Monsters University” is a wonderfully entertaining Pixar film. The film trails characters Mike and Sully as they work through the scare program at university. Fraternities, sororities and all of college life are presented and satirized in a way that’s entertaining for adults and kids. Underneath the comedy, however, lies a heartwarming message about friendship and positive self-esteem. Keep an eye out for the Pizza Planet truck from “Toy Story;” it’s in there!
Kicking and Screaming (1995)
No, not the soccer-coaching film with Will Ferrell. “Kicking and Screaming” is the directorial debut of writer/director Noah Baumbach. The film follows a group of recently graduated college students who aren’t sure what to do in the real world. It perfectly encapsulates the dread many graduate-students feel as their launch into the real world approaches. “Kicking and Screaming” features great supporting performances by Eric Stoltz and Parker Posey. The comedy is very dry and feels a bit dated, but nonetheless still resonates 20 years later.
Back to School (1986)
Rodney Dangerfield, master of the one-line zinger, enrolls in college alongside his son to try and motivate him. Typical college hijinks ensue, peppered with great jokes nonetheless. Dangerfield’s wry wit satirizes the absurdities of college life. All the college-flick cliches can be found here, but Dangerfield’s presence turns what could have been trite into hilarity. The film also features a fun cameo of author Kurt Vonnegut as himself.
Old School (2003)
Often called the “Animal House” for the next generation, “Old School” is a wild comedy about three friends who “return” to college in middle age by opening up a fraternity near their alma mater. Hilarious and memorable performances by Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson turn what could have been a run-of-the-mill movie into an essential college comedy. It’s raucous, unapologetic, definitely politically incorrect and funny as hell.
Alejandro Montalvo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheSagebrush.