Ten Fun Back-To-School Movies to Watch

Hard to believe it’s already September! Summer went by way too fast and some of us might have a hard time letting go of the sweet sunshine and that “everlasting tan”. Even though Fall is my favorite season, I can definitely admit that saying goodbye to endless nights and no responsibilities can be really tough. One of the ways I get back into the school spirit is watching some of my favorite school centric films! Here’s my list of some of the best high school and college movies to get you back into the mood for the semester. It’ll have you ready to go to the pep rallies and college parties!

  1. 1. Bring It On (2000)

    This classic cheer movie that started the popular series is more than meets the eye. As Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) is crowned head cheerleader of her team, she soon realizes that her former leader has been lying to the whole team. Throughout the years, she has been stealing routines from the Compton Clovers. Now with no routines, Torrance has to figure out a new way to win the championships and also deal with the consequences of her past leader’s decisions.  Not only does it tackle female friendships and healthy competition, but also in its underlying and layered tones, discusses racial divides in an important and progressive manner. Also let’s not ignore those outfits, great 90’s style. Gabrielle Union is iconic.

  2. 2. Animal House (1978)

    Animal House is the quintessential college party movie! It’s the story of two socially inept freshman trying to pledge to the pretentious Omega Theta Pi House only to get rejected. After dealing with this rejection, they try Delta Tau Chi House, which was known for causing trouble. Unfortunately for them, the Dean is out to shut the Delta’s down and hires the head Omega to do it. This film is also known as the originator of the “Toga Party” which inspired fraternities all across the country! 

  3. 3. Dazed and Confused (1993)/Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

    Based on his own high school and college experiences, Richard Linklater’s double series is a laidback and easy to watch. Dazed and Confused--arguably a cult classic--is the story of a bunch of Juniors in Austin, Texas celebrating their last day of high school in 1976. Be prepared for a very young-looking Matthew McConaughey and his famous words, “Alright, Alright, Alright”. Linklater decided to do a followup to Dazed and Confused with a film about his college experience, thus came, Everybody Wants Some!!. This movie takes place in 1980s Texas and follows Blake, a college freshman as he meets his new roommates who also happens to be his rowdy and troublesome baseball teammates. Expect disco, lots of disco. 


  4. 4. Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

    As one of the more sentimental movies on this list, Mona Lisa Smile is an instant favorite. It follows Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), a recent UCLA graduate who takes on a job as an art history teach at a prestigious all-girls college. Much to her surprise, she learns that a majority of the student's dropout of college or simply stop attending after they get engaged. Katherine challenges her students and administration’s conservative values and changes the lives of the girls around her. I love the characters in this movie and the great female friendships. Julia Roberts and Maggie Gyllenhaal are my personal favorites. It challenges very traditional conventions of the era and is a great feminist piece!

  5. 5. The House Bunny (2008)

    This was always one of my go-to movies when I needed a good laugh. Ex-Playmate Shelley is kicked out of the mansion and needs a new place to live. While homeless, she stumbles upon a failing sorority full of “geeks” and offers to be their housemother and get them pledges. She gives them the ultimate makeover and makes them the hottest girls on campus. Emma Stone and Anna Faris are so hilarious in this movie.

  6. 6. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

    This is one of my top ten (pun intended) favorite movies of all time. Adapted from Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, it is the story of Kat and Bianca Stratford. Two sisters who are complete opposites. Kat is an unapproachable, intelligent, feminist and Bianca is basically the girl next door. Unfortunately for Bianca, she can’t date until her sister does so with the help of the nerd (a super cute Joseph Gordon-Levitt) crushing on her, they pull some strings. Eventually, Kat ends up on a date with bonafide-bad-boy Patrick Verona (the gorgeous Heath Ledger). With some super cute 90s looks and a kickass soundtrack, this is definitely a fun watch!

  7. 7. Legally Blonde (2001)

    Talk about empowering! This is the story of Elle Woods, an LA sorority girl turned Harvard Law student. Although she originally enrolls to chase after her “soulmate”, she finds her own voice along the way and proves herself to be a great lawyer. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Reese Witherspoon shines as Elle Woods (who is actually based on Amanda Brown, who wrote the book, Legally Blonde). This is a great girls-night watch!

  8. 8. The Rules of Attraction (2002)

    A good friend of mine recommended this movie to me awhile back and I watched it for the first time last week. Overall I really enjoyed it, it was definitely not like any other college-esque movie I had seen previously (well, maybe except Prozac Nation but that’s a different story). This movie follows a love triangle between a drug dealer, a virgin, and a bisexual classmate; it packs in a ton of drama full of hormones and really makes a spectacle of itself. It may not be realistic to my life but it definitely hones it on the drama of love and sex in a college atmosphere. Also, it features a very charismatic Ian Somerholder! Any Damon girls in the room?

  9. 9. The Social Network (2010)

    This may not be everyone’s go-to college movie given its realistic tendencies and pessimistic undertones. However, David Fincher’s depictions of fraternity life and college hierarchy is highlighted perfectly. The story of Facebook’s naive beginnings encapsulates college life in the most dark and nefarious ways, and let’s be real: we all want to go to a Harvard frat party. Oh, and let’s not forget: two Armie Hammer’s! 

  10. 10. Booksmart (2019)

    Now, this may be the last movie on my list but it sure isn’t the least. I saw this film twice in theatres purely because of how funny and relatable it is. This movie follows two very booksmart best friends, Molly and Amy who are both off to very prestigious universities after spending all four years of high school working. However, on the last day of class, they realize that all the popular cool kids who partied ALSO got into the same schools. Upon coming to this understanding, they make an oath to go the end-of-school party and prove to their classmates that they are fun. The dynamic between Amy and Molly is hilarious, they practically bounce off each other, their chemistry shines through and makes this movie such a fun time.