Top 10 College Movies of All Time (Video Edition)
NEIGHBORS is the latest film to tackle the crazy life of college students across the country. But, there is a long history of films, both comedy and drama, that tackle what the university experience is like. Some focus on the sex, some on the sports, and most on the drinking, but every single one of them showcases a good feel for what everybody expects on that first day of their higher education. If your favorite didn't make the cut, feel free to add your picks in the talk backs below.
Pixar's most recent film may not have been quite as good as the original MONSTERS, INC but it was still a very fun movie. I never thought an animated college movie aimed at kids would have worked, but the Pixar guys managed to pay tribute to all the classic elements of the college experience in a single film without having to resort to anything sexual.
A personal favorite of mine, PCU wanted to be the ANIMAL HOUSE of the 1990s. Mocking the political correct nature of our culture during that decade, PCU gives everybody equal time being ripped to shreds. Jeremy Piven was in the beginning stages of developing his lovable douche personality that he would later revisit in another college film. Also watch for Jon Favreau looking like the lead singer of Counting Crows. PCU also remains the introduction for many to the music of the great George Clinton.
The ultimate tearjerker underdog sports movie has to make this list because of how integral Notre Dame is to the story. Sean Astin portrays Rudy Ruettiger as a kid with poor grades who wants nothing else in the world but to go to Notre Dame. The college experience serves as a highlight to Rudy's journey, but even though the football team and the emotional climax of the film are sports related, it is Rudy's trials through his education that serves as a highlight. Hey look, Jon Favreau again!
Despite being watered-down by several lackluster sequels, the original REVENGE OF THE NERDS is a hilarious college story that takes the ANIMAL HOUSE template and turns the losers into even bigger losers. The interplay between the frats at Adams College has produced some of the most lasting quotes and scenes of any comedy. Whether it be their laughs or pretty much anything Booger does, REVENGE OF THE NERDS is an instantly recognizable movie.
THE PROGRAM is less about college than college sports, but in this day and age can we really separate them? Whether it be James Caan's fiery coach or the controversial deleted scene featuring the characters laying on a busy road, THE PROGRAM is chock full of f*cked up moments that would give any parent pause when thinking about sending their child to a major university.
Rodney Dangerfield returning to college to prove a point to his son is one of the funniest movies of the 80s. Factor in supporting roles from Robert Downey Jr, cameos from Kurt Vonnegut, Oingo Boingo, and Sam Kinison, and Dangerfield's trademark comedy and you have a really funny college movie. I defy you to reference the Triple Lindy and find anyone who doesn't know what it is from.
Like BACK TO SCHOOL, Todd Phillips' OLD SCHOOL takes the adult trying to reclaim his youth story and combines it with the talents of Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, and Vince Vaughn. What should have been a throwaway comedy turned into a sensation that was pretty damn funny to boot. Jeremy Piven even gets a chance to shine in the complete opposite role that he played in PCU. Oh, how the times have changed. You're my boy, Blue!
Roger Avary's adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' novel is one of the more unsettling college movies ever made. James Van Der Beek plays against type as Sean Bateman, younger brother to AMERICAN PSYCHO's Patrick Bateman, as he deals drugs and gets involved with a cast of characters at his university. The resulting film is a chaotic mixture of subplots and scenes that will disturb many. But, how many movies give you Jessica Biel in a gangbang? Not many!
Take REVENGE OF THE NERDS and make the nerds the coolest kids in school and you get REAL GENIUS. Val Kilmer plays one of his most memorable characters as Chris Knight. Kilmer plays the role of the brilliant slacker to perfection in a movie that doesn't treat the story as a joke but as a realistic and genuine comedy. We don't get many movies made like this one where you can watch it and just find yourself smiling.
The story of Facebook is intrinsically linked to Mark Zuckerberg's time at Harvard which is portrayed in a very stark and realistic light in David Fincher's film. Unlike most colleges, Harvard is not a place many of us will ever attend and yet the movie makes it seem just like every university in the world, albeit one with secret societies and fraternities with a century of famous alumni.
The CITIZEN KANE of college movies, ANIMAL HOUSE features every character, plot element, and joke you would expect in a college movie as they have been used to a fault in every movie since. But, ANIMAL HOUSE still feels as fresh and timely now as it did almost 40 years ago. A masterpiece of comedy and a movie everyone has to watch at least once.