Ah, September, when the weather grows cooler, the leaves start to change, and everyone goes back to school including everyone in higher education. In honor of this timeless rite of passage consider one of the following films set on campus.
Animal House (1978) No such list would be complete without the immortal classic about a dean’s quest to expel the Delta Tau Chi fraternity from his campus in 1962. With fabulous turns by Kevin Bacon and the late great John Belushi, Animal House is generally considered the definitive frat comedy. Besides being side splittingly hilarious, “Thank you sir may I have another?” it’s also almost scarily on point, as my father (a former fraternity president) and uncle (a former frat rabble rouser) can both attest.
Real Genius (1985) Mitch Taylor (Gabe Jarrett) is one of the youngest students ever accepted to Pacific Tech university (loosely based on CalTech). He and his science club legend roommate Chris Knight (Val Kilmer) partner up on a laser project together. But when their teacher and mentor steals their laser and plans to put it to use as a weapon, they scheme for payback. One of the great 80’s classics.
Drumline (2002) This musical/drama revolves around a fictional historical black college and university marching band and their plans to compete at the BET Big Southern Classic. Starring young rapper Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana, at the beginning of her career, and Orlando Jones, it has an over 80 percent fresh rating on the Tomatometer and was nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture by NAACP Image Awards as well as being nominated for three Teen Choice Awards including Best Drama, Best Actor, and Best Breakout Star.
Accepted (2006) In this surprisingly witty, insightful, and even heart-warming comedy a group of various high school students having all been rejected by the colleges of their choice, create their own fake college. Much to their surprise their fake college soon becomes a magnet for scores of other misfits who’ve also failed to find acceptance elsewhere AND starts to function as an actual educational center. Starring a young Justin Long and Jonah Hill not to mention Lewis Black at the top of his game.
Starter for 10 (2006) This comedy-drama is adapted from the novel of the same name and set in the 80’s. James MacAvoy is at his most charming here playing Brian Jackson a first year university student who’s lifelong dream is to appear on the televised quiz show University Challenge. He’s over the moon when he finally makes the team even if the captain Patrick (a hysterically funny turn by Benedict Cumberbatch) is a stuck-up pretentious prig. But complications ensue for Brian in the form of former mate Spencer who feels abandoned (Dominic Cooper) and two very different women aristocratic blond beauty Alice (Alive Eve) and political activist Rebecca (Rebecca Hall).
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