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5 Movies That Illustrate How Going Back To School Can Be Awesome

It never feels like the summer season has lasted long enough before Labor Day is just around the corner and the school season is once again about to begin. It’s the dreaded moment when teens, young adults, and teachers know that the freedom of summer is fading away and a regimented schedule is soon to follow.

The media does a good job reminding students that this time is approaching by tirelessly airing commercials that promote “Back to School” sales for items they couldn’t be less interested in purchasing. Even parents seem to prematurely kill off the last few weeks of summer by showing  their excitement towards finally being able to put their kids back on the bus or shuttle them out to college.

But despite the countless reminders that summer is about to conclude, going back to school can still be an exciting time. College parties, football games, extracurricular activities, and the occasional classroom prank will help outweigh the long days, boring lectures, and endless social drama. Sometimes it is up to the members of academia to create their own fun to fend off the post-summer time blues.

These are five examples that show the positive side to going back to school.

5. Old School

Old School
DreamWorks Pictures

College life for a majority of people is the first opportunity to experience total independence. It is the moment when young adults get the chance to make their own choices and live in a primarily unsupervised environment. This combination of freedom, experimentation, and blindness of consequences can create some of the wildest times in a person’s life. It is not surprising that some people would give anything to relive these moments.

Probably the best part about forming a fraternity after being established with a successful business or career is the availability of resources. It is easy to see how a group of middle-aged men can quickly ascend the collegiate social ladder when they can afford to throw house parties that are outfitted with top dollar audio equipment, an endless supply of booze, and Snoop Dog.

Having disposable funds to dump into the party scene takes college life to a new level, but some experiences can’t be bought. Streaking through the quads, kidnapping pledges in a high-performance utility van, and the occasional tranquilizer dart to the neck are some reasons to be excited about next semester.

4. Billy Madison

Billy Madison
Universal Pictures

Being able to eat a snack pack every day for lunch without anyone giving weird looks should be reason enough to go back to school. Having a hot teacher, playing dodge ball at recess, and having tubs of glue available for impromptu snack times makes grade school seem like a dream. However, writing anything in cursive sounds like torture.

It’s not until Billy Madison attends high school when things take a turn. But his bad experience with trying to fit in likely just has to do with the kids at the high school. If a tuned up Trans-Am, a denim jacket, and a REO Speed Wagon T-shirt don’t impress High School kids, it’s hard to imagine what will. Perhaps if he was blaring “Spoonman” over his car speakers instead of “The Stroke” he would’ve  received a better reception. The definition of “cool” is more complex in high school and unfortunately for Billy Madison it takes a little more than peeing your pants on a field trip to win over classmates.

However all wasn’t lost during Billy’s time in high school. Going back to school let Billy learn some lessons that ultimately saved his life. His apologetic phone call to a disturbed former classmate, Danny McGrath (Steve Buscemi), got him crossed off a personal vendetta list and helped him make a new friend. Danny’s unique set of skills proved to be very useful during the conclusion of a school debate; having friends in high places is always a good thing.

3. 21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street
Columbia Pictures

People in their mid-twenties are no longer the demographic that establishes what behavior dictates being popular. It’s a strange and typically earth shattering moment when they realize younger cultures left them behind and developed new representations of coolness. But there is still hope for the twenty-something’s that still want to relearn the latest trends, it just takes a little undercover work.

Schmidt and Jenko return to their local high school as undercover cops on an assignment with expectations for what will help them fit in. But when they actually arrive everything is opposite from what they remember. The popular kids like comic books, have adopted environmental awareness, are tolerant, and think that team sports are fascist. Once considered a nerd/loser at his high school, Schmidt quickly tuns into the coolest student on campus.

A high school campus is a great resource for figuring out who is considered popular. But the one thing Schmidt and Jenko did establish by throwing a house party is that there are still timeless things that will always be considered cool by teenagers: parties, drugs, alcohol, violence, and sex.  As over 21-year-old party hosts with access to a police evidence locker, they instantly become the popular kids once again.

2. School of Rock

School of Rock
Paramount Pictures

For musicians, being in a slump is always painful and sometimes requires reinvention. Having a new perspective can sometimes lead to great strides in creativity and produce exciting results. The problem with most accomplished rock artists is the lack of inspiration and laziness that follows. But with the right amount of pressure, some rock musicians find themselves making dramatic choices that can influence their art.

Falsely assuming someone’s identity to teach music class everyday in hopes of forming an original rock band featuring talented kids is surely one highly illegal solution. Returning to the classroom helped Dewey Finn (Jack Black) find his motivation. At first it was just an excuse to collect a paycheck for a job he could do hung over, but playing the role of a highly educated and well-adjusted teacher showed Dewey that he might be able to accomplish things other than just being a deadbeat band member.

Regardless of his personal breakthrough, jamming out every day and collecting a paycheck is a starving artists dream. It is hard not to jump back into academia if grades were meaningless and music class was the only thing on the schedule.

1. Kindergarten Cop

Kindergarten Cop
Universal Pictures

If it meant having a couple of days off from potentially being gunned down in the street or beat to death by gang members, most law enforcement officials would probably be thrilled with returning to school to teach Kindergarten. It is an opportunity to take off the itchy bullet proof vest, pass out some milk, and read some poetry. But for a detective who recklessly discharges firearms to get people to behave and uses violence as the first resort for getting answers, this is probably hell.

But despite how Detective John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) feels about it, this experience served as a great training scenario that allowed him to become a better cop. At first John uses a more aggressive teaching style than what is considered acceptable by current standards. Eventually he realizes a more gentle approach generates better results.

The old Detective from the streets still made an appearance in certain situations, like when he roughed up a parent outside the school for abusing a kid. But by the end of his time in the classroom, John Kimble developed a new level of self-discipline and grew tremendously because of the experience. Besides, his devotion to the cause also laid the groundwork for him to score with a hot teacher, which is always a great reason to spend some time in class.

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