Features

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To put it lightly, the first few weeks of post-secondary life can be a real gut-churning roller coaster ride.

Being given an unprecedented range of freedom and responsibility can be simultaneously thrilling and terrifying, with many first-year students not knowing how to navigate between the two extremes.

So, if you need a break between all the overwhelming mental gymnastics of first year university, feel free check out any of the following freshman-centred films. They should provide some measure of calm and guidance during these trying times.

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

On the surface, Richard Linklater’s latest film about the exploits of sex-obsessed college freshmen is a shallow frat comedy and a simple retread of Dazed and Confused. And, in all honesty, it pretty much is. But when the soundtrack is this good and the chemistry between the cast is this infectious, who cares? Plus, Linklater’s unique brand of aimless storytelling really captures the whole freshman experience, where you live in the moment and it seems like life’s possibilities are endless.

DVD available at Morisset Library.

Pitch Perfect (2012)

During your first year of university, you should never be afraid to take part in some wacky club or activity that’s generally thought of as being “lame.” No movie illustrates that better than Pitch Perfect. Not only does Anna Kendrick’s cynical freshman make friends and discover her true passion through competitive a cappella singing, but, in the real world, the movie’s enormous success helped propel this obscure pastime into the mainstream. So, if you take anything away from this musical comedy, it’s the fact that what’s considered “cool” is really arbitrary—and petty labels like that shouldn’t stop you from indulging in the the activities you love.

DVD available at Morisset Library.

The Paper Chase (1973)

While it’s not strictly a freshman story, The Paper Chase highlights a very common obstacle that newbie university students have to overcome—maintaining your grades without going crazy. In his first year at Harvard, Timothy Bottoms’ law student becomes obsessed with passing his exams, something that really begins to whittle away at his love life and his sanity. It also doesn’t hurt that the embodiment of this academic doom is portrayed by John Houseman, who won an Oscar for playing the terrifying law professor who pushes Bottoms to his limit. For a modern comparison, think Whiplash, but with less physical abuse.

DVD available at the Brian Dickson Law Library.

The Freshman (1925)

It’s no secret that today’s youth generally look down on older movies, particularly if they’re black and white or silent. While Harold Lloyd’s 1925 comedy definitely fits that criteria, it’s still worth a look. Outside of being a blueprint for all the college-themed films that would follow, The Freshman presents themes and ideas that are universal even to this day. Thanks to Lloyd’s expressive face and slapstick comedy stylings, his hapless protagonist really hammers home the idea that you can get through the first confusing year of post-secondary education with the right attitude and sense of humour.

DVD available at Morisset Library under the Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection.