It is that time of year again. For me, going back to school is one of the most bittersweet feelings in the world. You trade your freedom and pool days for notebooks and student debt. I think movies can cure all things, so if you are feeling anxious about getting back to class, here are my top five movies to watch for going back to school.
- “Toy Story 3”
I think this movie has a great message about moving on. Growing up, I felt attached at the hip to the “Toy Story” movies, and when the third installment came out, I was overjoyed to finally see it. Not only was my 11-year-old heart crushed into a million pieces, but my brain was terrified of growing up. Before I started college, the only thing that kept replaying in my head was the end of this movie. Letting things go so that you can start a new chapter of life is so important, and I think college is the focal point of that life lesson. Also, Pixar just knows how they want their message to be heard. The voice acting from Tom Hanks and company is perfect as always. The “Toy Story” franchise is one that has very little flaws, and “Toy Story 3” adds to that, while being the perfect back-to-school movie for college students.
- “Napoleon Dynamite”
Every so often, you want a movie that has no real story. You want a movie that you can just watch and not have to think about anything. “Napoleon Dynamite” is that exact movie. There is no direct correlation to going back to school in this movie, but that does not matter. Literally nothing matters in this movie. It’s the cinematic equivalent to winning $5 at a slot machine. You get a lot more out of it than you thought you would, and if you enjoy it, it is the highlight of your day. I am all for dry humor comedies, and this one is the king of the castle. If I could have dinner with three people in my life, John Heder would be on that list, just like how “Napoleon Dynamite” is on this one.
- “School of Rock”
I think this is the movie, on this list at least, that I have seen the most. I can’t say how many times I have seen Jack Black teach a group of kids how to learn through music. I was never musically inclined growing up, and I am definitely not now, but this movie made me want to learn to play guitar while also making me want to go to school and see if there was anyone I could start a band with. If I had Mr. Black as my teacher, for any class, I think I would be stoked. This movie is the peak of “feel good” comedy, while also circulating around going back to school and dealing with meeting new people and doing new things out of your comfort zone.
- “The Breakfast Club”
I feel like you can’t have the words “school” and “movie” together without including “The Breakfast Club.” It may not be my favorite movie ever, but the way it has held up this long and still has the same impact that it did in 1985 is insane. Such a simple concept with simple characters, and it took the world by storm. As one of the most universally known movies of all time, it has to be on this list, simply because of how it should be appreciated for what it did. Without this movie, there would be no “Superbad” or “Booksmart.” This movie defined what the “teens in school” genre was. Hopefully I am making my mom proud by putting this on the list.
Time for a curveball. “The Breakfast Club” and “Napoleon Dynamite” are on this list, and have nothing to do with actually going back to school, yet they have that school charm to them. Maybe it’s just me, but “Scream” fits in that category for me, too. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I will defend the horror genre with my last breath, and this movie is a big reason for that. A teen horror movie that is so self aware, yet so horrifying had never been done before, and Wes Craven spawned the next great milestone of horror. This movie has everything the other movies on this list have, except it also features a crazy murder mystery in the mix. I think “Scream” is a movie that is overlooked and not a lot of people have actually gotten to sit down and watch, so I will get on a soap box and praise it whenever I can.
Featured image: Courtesy Universal Pictures