Seeing as this is my fourth year of what I call academic enslavement at an urban university I hear quite a few random movie references and love when I can laugh along. What I really hate is being the person standing there like a dear in the headlights waiting for someone to explain.
- Office Space (1999)
Comedy (R )
Director Mike Judge
I won’t lie; I’m guilty of not seeing this film in its entirety so we shall rely on IMDb.com’s synopsis instead of my own quirky one.
“Three company workers who hate their jobs and decide to rebel against their greedy boss.”
My dentist once made a reference to this film and I just stared at him with narrowed eyes and an open mouth (granted, he was checking my teeth) until he explained. He and the nurse laughed while I stared at the ceiling. Never again.
- The Breakfast Club (1985)
Comedy/Drama (R )
Director John Hughes
This is one of those need-to-see movies before you’ve even left high school. A while ago, a good friend of mine told me he had just seen it and he was only a week away from graduating high school! I wasn’t sure whether I should feel betrayed or sorry for the poor boy.
Set on a sunny Saturday at Shermer High School, a brain, a beauty, a jock, a basket case and a criminal all sit in the library for detention while the vice principal is across the hall in his office. The catch? The library doors must stay open so he can keep an eye on them. That is until he leaves his office for a few minutes and the criminal takes a screw out of the door and thus the doors stay closed allowing the motley crew of students to do as they please until detention is over.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Comedy/Musical (R )
Director Jim Sharman
A classic indeed! This cult-classic starring Tim Curry as a cross-dressing alien doctor that creates a man has inspired many to attend live performances of the show and participate during their favorite songs. At times cheesy and borderline ridiculous, this musical will have you tapping along with songs like “Time Warp”, “Sweet Transvestite” and “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me”. Best send any younger siblings to bed beforehand. Enter at your own risk!
- The Star Wars Saga (Episodes I-VI) (1977-20005)
Action/Adventure (Episode I, II, IV, V, VI (PG). Episode III (PG-13)
Director George Lucas
Too many times have I heard people make Yoda-esque references, even professors (I had one professor go by Yoda)! The iconic saga which had six episodes spanning over nearly three decades has become a household name. Not only does this saga give the viewer a total trip through space but also through the evolution of film special effects. Sometimes I still shake my head at the laser guns. May the Force be with you all!
- The Godfather (1972)
Crime/Drama (R )
Director Francis Ford Coppola
Perhaps crime and the mafia are not your forte but ever heard someone say, “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” or something along those lines? Or “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli” which is a personal favorite.
The Godfather gave us some of the more iconic film phrases though many don’t understand the underlining violence behind them because they’ve never seen Francis Ford Coppala’s masterpiece. Have a sit-down with your Netflix or AMC’s Mob Week and prepare for gun fire.
- Citizen Kane (1941)
Director Orson Welles
Any film student probably has this film committed to memory. Spanning the life of Orson Welles’ character, the film shows the rise and fall and personal struggles of one man’s empire all while using innovative cinematography techniques. Good luck trying to find a list of greatest movies ever made that does not include Citizen Kane.
- American Pie (1999)
Comedy/Romance (R )
Director(s) Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz
If you enter college without knowing the significance of “This one time, at band camp…” then consider yourself cinematically far behind.
Jason Biggs’ incredibly awkward character ends up doing a strip tease while his webcam is rolling, getting caught by his parents having some personal time with himself and getting caught by his dad violating a pie. Needless to say, Biggs’ character always ends up in the worst situations and none of his friends can offer any help. You could call this film the pioneer of obscene humor.
- Animal House (1978)
Comedy (R )
Director John Landis
If you ever see someone walking around campus in a toga I think it’s safe to blame Animal House, National Lampoon’s film of a college fraternity and the debauchery they got up to during the 1960s. The party loving frat faces getting shut down by the “good boy” fraternity that are good friends of Faber College’s Dean.
- Fight Club (1999)
Drama (R )
Director David Fincher
“The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club” was the line made famous by David Fincher’s film. Maybe it’s the violence that people loved or maybe it was the mystery behind Brad Pitt’s character that had you hooked until the end. To sum it up in simple terms: One guy meets another guy, they fight for fun, other join in on the fun, they all move in together, start Project Mayhem, destroy parts of the city and then a big ending most don’t see coming.
- The Harry Potter Saga (2001-2011)
Adventure/Fantasy/Mystery (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Half-Blood Prince (PG). Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Deathly Hallows Part 1 & Part 2 (PG-13).)
Director(s) Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, David Yates
Many colleges and universities have seen an increase in Quidditch clubs and Harry Potter themed movie nights at the library. The current generation of college students likely grew up watching Harry be the hero in the eight film saga and quote it constantly, myself included, and if you have missed out then make sure to catch yourself up on what goes on in the wizarding world. Mischief managed.
There are many to be seen but I feel these are the most important. Some honorable mentions include:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
St. Elmo’s Fire
Back to School
Whether you’re about to enter your college career or you’re about to exit it, these film are some of the most important and iconic to our age group. In between studying for your final and writing your 15 page essay, take a break and pick one of the above to help you reset your mind.