Films relive school experience
By Andrew Outwater
How many times have you heard your parents, or anyone older than you, say to you when you were growing up that, “School is going to be the greatest time of your life.” I know I’ve heard it quite a few times, yet I never really believed them. I still don’t believe that school was really the greatest time of their lives either, but I do understand why some would say that it was.
During school, we grow up. We mature — some faster or slower than others — over the course of our high school and college careers. While in school, we are in the stages of becoming who we may possibly be for the rest of our lives. Of course there are changes throughout life, but I do believe we’re set on our own paths during school.
We experience many things during school. We build friendships, and most of all, we live in moments which we will look back on for years to come.
I think that’s why most people say that school was the best time of their lives. They look back at all their memories growing up and found that most of things that made them who they are occurred during their school years. The good, the bad, the traumatic, the hysterical, the pleasant and the drama, many good stories happen during that time and they wish they could relive those moments.
This is true for many people. While I hated high school, I still have fond memories during that four-year popularity contest that everybody loses. My mother occasionally talks about some of her fond school memories. Filmmakers have often done what most people could only wish of doing: relive those school moments. There are many films that take place in or around school that many people love. I’d like to pay tribute to those finishing up your school days, and welcome those just joining us, with five of my favorite school films.
This film tells the story of a group of students who just graduated high school but failed to get into the colleges they each applied for. Without anything else to do, they decide to create their own college to trick their parents and take an easy ride until they figure out something better. Other kids end up finding the school and the once pretend college becomes a reality. While it’s not the greatest movie on this list, it’s the ultimate “what if?” college film. What if you could take classes that were really specific to your interest and do what you want, when you want. It does go through some of the motions a film like this is expected to, but it does with grace, charm and humor. It’s an underrated gem that’s been tossed out of people’s sights, but it really deserves a look.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Some call this John Hughes’ masterpiece. Well, maybe that phrase is a bit much, but if you mention the 1980’s in regards to school films, this is the first one that comes to people’s minds. A movie that takes place in not only one day, but one location, where five students are in detention, who each make up all of the classic cliques in high school: the jock, the nerd, the outcast, the princess and the criminal. The film is a great comedy, but it really touches on the person underneath each of their placement in the school’s cliques, and really examines who these characters are beyond their clichés. Anyone who has ever been in school can find something in any one of the characters to relate to. It defined a generation, yet, even to this day, holds true to what students go through.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Not so much a school film but it is a movie that takes place in and around a school. “Good Will Hunting: is more of a character piece of a very intelligent man, played by Matt Damon (who also co-wrote the script), who works as a janitor for MIT. He is smarter than most of the kids, and even some professors, yet he doesn’t want to pursue anything more than to live day-by-day with his best friends working labor jobs. The film presents the question “are you really OK with wasting all your potential when you could be doing something great?” While it is a predictable film, there’s a whole lot of heart and genuine acting. Robin Williams’ performance in the film sets it apart from everything else.
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
This classic college film is legendary among those who have seen it. Hailed as one of the greatest college films of all time (THE greatest if you ask some), it’s a landmark in raunchy comedy classics that has been parodied, referenced and ripped off countless times. John Belushi’s Bluto is iconic. Absolutely everything that guy does is hysterical. All the other characters are fun to be around, and the overall manic tone to the movie creates one of the most entertaining films ever made. Now 33 years old, it’s aged very well. Depending on how you watch it, the video quality may be a little lower than you’re comfortable with. But the movie is so good that you’ll forget about that once you get your first laugh. If you haven’t seen “Animal House,” go buy it. Now. This movie belongs in any self-respecting moviegoer’s library.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
It’s the last day of school and it’s back in a time where things where a lot less strict. “Dazed and Confused” is probably the best kickback movie out there. It’s chronicling the final day of high school and the ensuing night of school in 1976. The movie goes through a lot of silly high school traditions that have been done for so long that even the people who participate are going “this is ridiculous.” Seniors put the incoming freshman through ridiculous initiations, such as beating them with paddles and other degrading humiliations. But after that’s all done, most of the seniors take the freshman out for drinks. The rest of the movie is just the kids having fun, living it up while they can, and doing what they want. And as they say in the movie “I just wanna look back and say that I did it the best I could when I was stuck in this place. Had as much fun as I could as I was stuck in this place.” That sums the entire movie up right there.