The Flix List: 10 movie scenes to celebrate back-to-school season

Hi folks, welcome to September! Well, to some of you, the Fall season means ‘back to school’ season. It’s been a while since my college graduation (I’m not gonna tell you how many years it’s been, ahah), sometimes I miss those fun college days. So, whether it’s you or your kids who are heading back to school/college, I thought I’d pick ten memorable scenes that get me all nostalgic about academic life. Please keep in mind this is not a ‘best of’ list as I’m sure I haven’t seen a whole bunch of movies that deserve to be on this list, the idea is to hopefully prompt you to think of other scenes that make you nostalgic about ‘back to school.’ As you can see, I have lots of 80s movies on my list 😀

Ten Things I Hate About You (1999)

I heart this movie! It’s perhaps my favorite high-school movie ever and it’s because of the chemistry between Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. I’ve dedicated a post for this movie before, and I included a scene of Heath singing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ which is one of my fave scenes from the movie. But I also love this one when Julia’s character is reading a poem (which is actually a really good one) out loud in front of her class. It’s such a genuine scene and Heath’s expression in the end is just priceless. I so miss this guy!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Yes, it’s utterly predictable of me to include a scene of HP with Alan Rickman in it, ahah. But I actually was trying to find a good classroom scene and find this one quite whimsical. Man, what I would give to have a teacher like Snape (ok, preferably without all the wizardry), but just to listen to him lecture for a full hour… I’d either end up being extremely good on the subject or utterly useless at it as I won’t be paying attention to what he’s saying at all. Anyway, I like this scene as it’s the first time we see the HP kids growing up and fussing over the homecoming dance. There is also that first hint of ‘spark’ between Hermione and Ron.

Dead Poets Society (1989)

I saw this movie ages ago, but it’s perhaps one of the most memorable movies I’ve seen back in high school. I remember being so affected by it and if you’ve seen this movie, you probably know why. This is one of my favorite work from the great Peter Weir and perhaps one of my fave Robin Williams roles who’s perfect as Prof. John Keating. I spent parts of my early years in a boarding school (not, not at all as posh as this one in New England, not even close), but I can relate to the camaraderie and being really affected by a caring and charismatic teacher. I wonder whatever happened to Robert Sean Leonard as he was really memorable here (as well as in Swing Kids), I’d think he’d have as decent a career as Ethan Hawke.

Class (1983)

Ok so it’s not as rowdy or raunchy as Old School, but Class paints a pretty fun and rambunctious picture of college life in an expensive prep school. The teen-heartthrobs of their day, Andrew McCarthy and Rob Lowe played roommates Jonathan and Skip, one a country boy and the other a rich and suave playboy. Things get um, complicated (and funny!) when Jonathan somehow ends up sleeping with Skip’s mother, played by the alluring Jacqueline Bisset. Yes, it’s silly at times, but what 80s movies aren’t? 😀

[I can’t find an exact scene I want to feature, so here’s the trailer instead]

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Ok, who hasn’t had a crush on a teacher before, right? I mean, especially if the teacher looks like Indiana Jones! I love this rare scene of Dr. Jones teaching in class, and definitely one of the most memorable. Jones’ expression as he tried to read what’s written on the female student’s eyelid is a hoot. Man, no wonder Indy is everyone’s favorite Harrison Ford role, he just captures the archaeology-geekiness down pat!

With Honors (1994)

Brendan Fraser starred in quite a few school-related movies in the 90s (he was also in School Ties and Glory Daze). I remember quite liking this one where he played a straitlaced Harvard student whose thesis paper is somehow being held hostage by a homeless man and of course, it ends up being the best thing that ever happened to him. Joe Pesci played the homeless guy and y’know it’s perhaps one of the more um, sympathetic roles he’s played. The classroom speech scene here is one of the highlights of the movie. Yes, it’s a bit over-idealistic and syrupy, but overall it’s got a moving and uplifting message.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

As someone growing up in the 80s, a back-to-school movie list just won’t be complete without a John Hughes movie. I didn’t go to high school in the US so I’m always fascinated by it. American high schoolers just look soooo much cooler, but there also seems to be a whole lot more pressure to fit in. The story about five very different students bonding and baring their souls to each other in detention is brilliantly directed by Hughes, starring members of the Brat Pack. This whistling scene is pretty funny, just one of the many memorable scenes from this John Hughes classic. If detention were this much fun, who wants to be in class??

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Yet another crush-worthy college professor scene… starting to see a theme here? He..he.. actually, it’s not intentional, trust me. I just happen to think this ‘heat vs. noise’ scene is quite memorable for the palpable chemistry between Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe, even without as much as touching or even being near each other. Connelly uses not only her logic but also her feminine wiles to solve the problem at hand… “As you’ll find in a multi-variable Calculus there’s often a… number of solutions to any given problem,” he quipped … and boy, Crowe really should smile more often 🙂

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

I have a real soft spot for this Howard Deutch movie, which is also written by John Hughes. I’ve featured this in this post to commemorate Hughes’ passing back in 2009. It focuses on the quintessential teen angst and dealing with that big first crush and suffering from unrequited love… the best stuff about high school right? We’ve all been there before and I can certainly relate to what Watts is going through, though unfortunately I never became good friends with any of my crushes in high school, so Watts certainly is luckier than she thinks 🙂 This is by far my favorite scene from the movie… Eric Stoltz wasn’t really my type but I couldn’t help having a major crush on him on this movie!

Spider-Man (2002)

Well, as a self-professed superhero geek, I can’t possibly not have a movie from that genre on the list. I think the first of Sam Raimi’s Spider-man has a lot of great high school scenes and capture the whole teen angst perfectly. Puberty is tough enough without having some weird, um condition like Peter Parker does and this scene in the cafeteria is funny and cool at the same time, going from pure euphoria to utter humiliation to total awesomeness seeing the nerdy kid give the cocky jock what deserved! Tobey Maguire with his melancholy puppy dog eyes was perfectly cast as the awkward teen with a heart of gold.

Well, that’s my list. Now your turn, please share your own favorite back-to-school movies and/or scenes in the comments!