Best Going Back To College Movies, Do you know who went to college? Screenwriters and filmmakers. When looking to write what they know, these Hollywood types will make a movie about what it’s like to pursue a degree in liberal arts while a character also learns a little bit about themselves along the way.
They will do that by drinking a lot and doing sex a bunch, and maybe making a friend or two, and developing a huge rivalry with the mean fraternity. Here, then, are the best college comedies ever made.
Best Going Back To College Movies
10. Damsels in Distress (2012)
The great Whit Stillman applies his weird eruditeness to college, where a small group of women (lead by a marvellous Greta Gerwig) attempt to make the lives of other students better — whether they think they need or want help or not.
The trio, who all have flower names (Violet, Heather, and Rose; they become a quartet when new student Analeigh Tipton’s Lily joins up) runs a suicide prevention center, and also do stuff like invent a dance sensation and date ugly guys so they’ll get more confident. It’s like Mean Girls on Opposite Day or an idealized look at what the grand social experiment that is college could be if people turned outward instead of inward.
9. 22 Jump Street (2014)
It’s kind of surprising that a sequel to a remake/comic version of a bad ‘80s TV show would explore one of the most squeamish and perhaps relatable elements of college life: when old friends from the same school drift apart as they meet new people. In 22 Jump Street, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill get promoted from playing cops going undercover at a high school to going undercover at a second-rate public university.
Tatum’s character embraces his inner bro and throws himself into the glories of college he never got to experience, like rushing a frat and joining the football team, while Hill’s guy clings to his old buddy in this strange, scary world. But also, the movie is ridiculous, giving way to dude-bro hijinks between Tatum and his new best friend (Wyatt Russell), who are enthusiastically and innocently into each other like a couple of kindergartners.
8. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
It’s a classic tale of good versus evil, or rather the two extremes of the student-life spectrum as ’80s pop culture would have it: jocks and nerds. And not even just your casual student-athletes and the academic-minded student mathletes these are broad, over-the-top stereotypes of both,
in that the jocks (Stan Gable and Ogre, the guy who shouts “NERRRRRRRRRRRDS!”) are smug assholes for no reason and who wear their letterman jackets around, and the nerds (Lewis, Gilbert, Dudley) are social misfits (although not really because they come together as a team) who wear pocket protectors and high-water pants.
7. Animal House (1978)
There have been a lot of frat movies since Animal House came out in 1978; some of them produced, like Animal House, under the “National Lampoon” banner, and all of which want to be Animal House. But none are Animal House,
because only Animal House captured the unbridled crudity of both campus Greek life and the National Lampoon periodical at its peak. Has the movie aged well? Not in the least. You could say that the movie’s hedonism and anarchy are a social comment on the past; the film takes place at a stand-in for Dartmouth in the early ‘60s, depicting debauchery that conventional wisdom states didn’t happen until the late ‘60s.
6. Real Genius (1985)
Remember fun Val Kilmer, an actor who was on his own weird wavelength long before Christopher Walken and Nicolas Cage became walking memes? He’s probably the best he ever was in this comedy. Kilmer plays Chris Knight, a chilled-out,
cool-guy super-genius finishing up his run at a prestigious scientific institution, but refusing to burn out on the tremendous pressure he’s under to help an evil professor. It also involves him making a really cool laser. It’s an absurd, sci-fi take on college,
5. Monsters University (2013)
Only Pixar has the confidence — and ability — to make a great college movie and then market it to children, who, by and large, cannot relate to the college experience. The studio could have picked any of their characters and sent them back in time and back to school (Lighting McQueen from Cars goes to racing school?) — but they picked the ones with the dynamic that would lend itself to some common college-movie themes.
It turns out that Mike and Sulley from Monsters, Inc. needed high-level training to be professional scarers, and so Monsters University puts them in college. The two meet and become friends, but the forces of college society and economic disparity conspire to tear them apart. Best Going Back To College Movies
4. Old School (2003)
The best college comedies deconstruct what college is all about, and this one surmises that college is really only great in retrospect, with the sunny tint of nostalgia obscuring the truth. When you’re in college, it’s stressful, expensive, and bewildering, but a lot of people only remember the beers and the bros and you can’t go back in time. That’s this movie’s secret,
subversive message. The plot: A guy (Luke Wilson) leaves his cheating wife and moves into a house adjacent to a college campus. His friends (Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell) throw him a wild party and Wilson’s character is ordered to move because the house is zoned for students-only housing.
3. Dear White People (2014)
In 2014, writer/director Justin Simien made a layered, masterful comedy about racial politics and identity issues on a college campus, that also presaged what would play out in various ugly and shocking ways in the real world post-2016.
Dear White People centers around the lead-up and response to a club’s astonishingly insensitive “blackface” party. And the college is already hypersensitive (if not combative) to such things because of a college radio show called “Dear White People” in which a host (played by the now-ubiquitous Tessa Thompson) deftly skewers white people for cultural appropriation.
2. Wonder Boys (2000)
t’s the rare college movie told from the point of view of a faculty member, not a student. In this extremely faithful adaptation of one of Michael Chabon’s best two or three novels, Michael Douglas plays Grady Tripp,
the be-scarfed picture of a Serious Writer resting on his laurels and his tenure by barely teaching creative writing at a tiny Northeastern liberal arts college. (Also, Pittsburgh has got to be the most beautiful college town in the world.) Of course, the follow-up to his Great American Novel is an out-of-control mess, and his brilliant students are outpacing him.
1. Legally Blonde (2001)
Reese Witherspoon had been a in a few big movies before the college-set Legally Blonde — like Election, probably the best high-school movie ever made — but it was here that the world fell in love with her because she nailed her brand of really funny mixed with really charming.
She plays the great Elle Woods, of course, a stereotypical sorority girl who gets dumped and follows the guy to Harvard Law. In doing that, Elle delivers both the best line and thesis of Legally Blonde: “What, like it’s hard?” It turns out she’s wicked smart, and so the film forever dispenses with the “dumb sorority girl” cliché, showing that a person can be a lot of things.