6 Must Watch College Movies

Date: 2014-04-09

College is a popular setting for movies. It's a seminal point in many young people's lives, and the unprecedented freedom and exposure to new viewpoints make it a time of tremendous personal growth, both socially and intellectually. Hundreds of hours of film have been dedicated to expressing that growth, some are compelling, some are profane, and many are terrible. If you want to avoid the terrible, simply read on.

The Good: The Graduate & Good Will Hunting

While many college movies opt to focus on parties, both of these films explore far more consequential themes. What makes each of these movies great is not merely the weight of their subject matter, but the skillful execution of it as well. Though The Graduate was adapted for cinema over 55 years ago, it remains the most frank and captivating portrayal of post-graduation ennui to grace the silver screen. Good Will Hunting is far more recent, but no less distinguished. It launched the careers of two of Hollywood's biggest stars on the strength of a script that probed the nature of identity while also exploring the world of academia.

The Bad: Legally Blonde & Pitch Perfect

Bad may be a misnomer, as these films are both highly recommended. They may never top an AFI list, but you'll never feel like you wasted an afternoon watching them, even if it’s for the 12th time. Legally Blonde and Pitch Perfect may lack the substance of the previous films, but they make up for it by being well rounded and engaging. Both films lean on tropes, but they are clever and well acted, making it easy to get swept up in the plot.

The Ugly: Animal House & Van Wilder

Animal House is likely the most iconic college movie of all time; it encapsulates every stereotype of raucous campus life, and it is howlingly funny throughout. Touching on themes of both camaraderie and individuality between toga parties is no easy task, but director John Landis delivers. While Van Wilder lacks some of the heart that Animal House has, it makes up for it by doubling down on the excess and crudeness. You'll never feel smarter after you finish watching it, but even the dumbest jokes stand the test of time.

If you have any other college movies to watch, share them in the comments below!

 

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