10 Good College Movies

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 7:53 am

If you’re like me, you miss the days of sleeping late, drinking too much, and sexual experimentation. In short: you miss college. That’s why I’ve compiled this nifty list of 10 good college movies. Press play on any one of these flicks, and you’ll soon find yourself transported to the (often comedic) halls of higher learning.

Road Trip (2000) – When Josh (Breckin Meyer) accidentally mails his sweetheart a sex tape of him with another woman (Amy Smart), he must undertake an impromptu road trip to recover it. Luckily, he’s got some pals (DJ Qualls, Seann William Scott, Paul Costanzo) who are more than willing to make the journey. Meanwhile, Tom Green relates the story and gets bitten in the face by his pet snake.

The Freshman (1925) – Harold Lloyd stars as Harold “Speedy” Lamb, a college freshman who dreams of being popular. And while it all seems to be going well, it turns out that everyone is laughing at Harold behind his back. When he finally finds out, it’s time to lace up his cleats for the big football game and prove them wrong. The film was a huge hit in its day, and it spawned a nationwide craze for good college movies.

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Back to School (1986) – When his son considers dropping out of college, wealthy loudmouth Thornton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield) enrolls to show his support. Excellent supporting performances from Sam Kinison and Robert Downey Jr., and Oingo Boingo performs “Dead Man’s Party.” I always wanted to see Dangerfield cuss out author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., so now I can die happy.

Black Christmas (1974) – A sorority house is stalked by a killer who loves making disturbing prank calls before committing murders. While Halloween got credit for starting the slasher genre, this is actually the film responsible (including numerous shots from the killer‘s POV). Star Elizabeth Hussey looks breathtaking, and Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin and John Saxon round out the cast. Skip the awful remake and watch this one instead.

Old School (2003) – Bored with their average lives, three pals in their thirties (Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, and Will Farrell) start a college fraternity and live it up. But the head of the school, Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven) is dedicated to making their lives difficult as payback for being the butt of their jokes in college. Farrell sings “Dust in the Wind,” the elderly Blue (Patrick Cranshaw) mud wrestles, and Elisha Cuthbert is her usual fine self.

Good Will Hunting (1997) – While it’s not strictly set in a college, the film’s troubled-yet-brilliant lead character, Will Hunting (Matt Damon), does work as a janitor at MIT. After receiving a court order to visit a therapist, he eventually meets Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), and the two men begin to connect. As Will struggles to overcome the abuse from his past, he seeks a relationship with a beautiful Havard student named Skylar (Minnie Driver). Ben Affleck co-stars, and he and Damon received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Revenge of the Nerds (1984)- Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert Lowe (Anthony Edwards) are a couple of freshman nerds trying to join a fraternity. Along with their fellow outcasts, they must weather the ridicule from the jocks at Alpha Beta and eventually turn the tables via panty raids and the annual Greek Games competition. Donald Gibb is great as Ogre, a massive jock who absolutely hates nerds, and keep an eye out for James Cromwell as Lewis’ nerdy father. Three sequels would follow.

Horse Feathers (1932) – The Marx Brothers deliver this comedy classic about a madcap football game between Darwin and Huxley Colleges. Groucho plays the head of Huxley college, and he recruits professional players to boost his school’s chances in the big game. All hell breaks loose during the movie’s climatic game, with a garbage wagon pulled by horses playing a prominent role. If you’ve never experienced the magic of the Marx Brothers, you’ll be amazed at how well it holds up (especially the jokes about the shady nature of college athletics).

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) – At Faber College in the early ‘60s, the Delta Tau Chi House is filled with a lovable cast of drunks, morons, and other assorted misfits. While Dean Wormer (John Vernon) plots to get rid of them once and for all, the Deltas throw toga parties, pick up girls, and generally live it up in a drunken stupor. John Belushi stars in his most enduring movie role, and the cast of future stars includes Kevin Bacon, Karen Allen and Tom Hulce. If you want a movie that you can quote at work the following day, give this one a try (just don‘t quote it too loud).

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Higher Learning (1995) – Director John Singleton combines with an ensemble cast (including Laurence Fishburne, Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, and Ice Cube) to present this film about the ups (and mainly downs) of higher education. Filled with plenty of angst and racial strife, it’s the type of film that would make parents not want to send their kids to college. Still, it’s an entertaining way to kill 127 minutes.

All the good college movies listed above are available from Amazon. We do receive a small commission if you make a purchase, but it adds nothing to your final price. And if you’re more the rental type, there’s always Netflix to consider.

And when you’re not busy hazing pledges or trying to get back the deposit on the keg, be sure to check out these other fine posts from Only Good Movies:

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