First of all, there is no “American Pie” on the list. Second of all, there are no just funny movies, all of them has something to show and tell you. And lastly, there are films for all tastes. Order pizza, wake up your friend lying on the floor after the Friday party, and let’s make this day hilarious!
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Directed by John Hughes
Starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson
A brain, an athlete, a basket-case, a princess, a criminal, authority figures and parents, stereotypes and clichés. It has been 30 years since its debut, and you still knew immediately what film we are referring to – Breakfast Club. Five students got stuck in a Saturday detention with a simple assignment: “You are going to write an essay “Who Am I”. No less than a thousand words”. Unfortunately, these students did not have “write my essay” option as you do.
From the very first moment the characters are on screen, their students’ personality is on full display, whether it be through behavior, clothing, or the interactions they have with the other characters. Each of them identifies with a particular high school clique and are extremely adamant in making sure everyone else knows about it. Because these characters stick so close to their archetypes, it does not take much time for them to start clashing with one another. This natural hostility only seems to stop when the principal is in the room. In fact, the principal is unwittingly the driving force behind the student’s newfound camaraderie.
While the students originally ignore his assignment, the authoritarian attitude is actually the major cause for the students eventually coming to terms with who they are. It leads to the group realizing their similarities and becoming more comfortable with each other. Thanks to this, the students can slowly let down their guard and begin bonding in the usual teenage way – talking about sex and doing drugs.
What you will love about cheesy 80s style is that it gets to act as a mark of that specific generation. The struggles the characters go through are timeless, but the style is something personal to their generation. They get to hand this movie down as a way of providing their own wisdom, and in turn, the next generation gets to inherit and improve on it in a new way. So, who knows, if you think you have nothing in common with some people at college, but the chances are you will end up with a friend for life.
17 Again (2009)
Directed by Burr Steers
Starring Matthew Perry (yeah, it is Chandler Bing), Zac Efron (yeah, it is Troy Bolton), and Leslie Mann.
The thing is that if you google “college comedies”, you will not find this film in any of the lists. We think it is a crime. “17 Again” is a perfect mix of comedy, drama, and fairy tale. The movie begins with the 17-year old start athlete Mike O’Donnell portrayed by a gratuitously shirtless Zac Efron, who is about to play a potentially career-launching scholarship earning basketball game. But at the very last moment, he decided to choose the pregnant girlfriend over future success.
Was it the right decision? It is not for us to judge. But in 20 years, Mike understands one thing – he has been living with regrets, and now he has a second chance of reliving his younger self. The protagonist met with a spiritual guide and went back to high school. Yes, he finds himself trapped inside his own 17-year-old body with the same wife, same kids, and same problems.
There are a lot of things to do: help his daughter to choose the right path in life and the right boyfriend; support his son, who is insecure enough to be beaten by classmates; get along with the wife. It is perfectly cast, it has so many strong comedic roles. It is such an accessible fantasy. Watch it now, so you will not find yourself wondering what would happen if you could zip back into the body of a younger self.
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
Directed and written by Richard Linklater
Starring Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman
They call this movie “the spiritual sequel to “Dazed and Confused.” And that is quite a good description of the movie.
Actually, all the events take place in August of 1980, and it is the three days that elapsed between a young freshman’s arrival at college and the first day of class. This movie makes the 80s look fun. The trailer sells this movie as a frat house, party, college lifestyle type of film whereas in reality, it is about a person falling in love with the new life, opportunities, responsibilities, and new world around him. Of course, we are talking about the protagonist, a freshman baseball player who just showed up on campus. He gets to know his roommates (and teammates). Moreover, he gets to know what campus life is like.
So, it is a competitive team of baseball players we are talking about. You would expect it to be an adrenalized type of movie but not with Richard Linklater directing. Even though we do witness the highly competitive nature of a lot of these guys, the adrenaline of it all never overpowers the narrative of the film. It does not splash across the screen, washing away the audience with it. We are always kept on a bit of a distance to watch how the events really unfold. These guys party a loooot, but none of them is portrayed as inherently hedonistic.
The movie does rely on a few cool archetypes: there is a dream girl, the stoner, and wise guys, and the best way to describe that movie is that it burns clean. As the final point, we should note: “You bring who you are, never who they want. And that is when it gets fun”.
A Little Bonus: Damsels in Distress (2012)
It is not a comedy at all, but this film is worth your time (and we know that students do not have much of that).
The group of young women who the rest of the campus fears, features one girl of color, one girl less intelligent than the others, and a ring leader who dominated the small society she has created. A new girl joins the group having no other friends. Our sympathy lies with her until we learn more about the other girls. This is not “Mean Girls”, this is “Damsels in Distress.”
Damsels concerns a group of girls at an East Coast university whose mission is to make everyone else better. In this film, we see the suicide prevention center that the girls run, we see the way in which the girls attempt to turn fraternity meatheads into their projects. The girls in this miniature society have spent the better part of their college career working on others and trying to make various schoolmates into better human beings. But maybe they are the ones in need of the most assistance?