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5 back to school movies and how they apply to our lives

College is stressful. We all need release. And, there’s no better release than movies. It’s an opportunity to retreat into worlds where conflicts are ultimate

Movies (Photo courtesy of

ly resolved and people learn about themselves in the oddest ways. The following are some movies that can help us with stress and teach us lessons through humor, frustration and love. While most of these are not traditional high school/college movies, there are lessons that can resonate for us in them.



1. “Horrible Bosses”

The college campus can seem like a cold place. We may be vying for recognition, only to feel like cogs in a machine. This is not unlike the hilarious “Horrible Bosses,” the tale of three weary friends (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day) who plot to murder their bosses (Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell). Obviously, this isn’t an endorsement of their tactics. There is, however, a lesson to be learned, as espoused by Kevin Spacey’s character: “Life is a marathon, and you cannot win a marathon without putting a few band aids on your nipples.” Put on those band aids, people.

2. “The Big Lebowski”

“The Dude abides.” That’s a mantra to repeat, to get us through our ups-and-downs, strikes and gutters and what-have-you. The movie’s lovable protagonist, The Dude (Jeff Bridges) exists in a kind of hazy calm, in spite of constant setbacks. The Dude is propelled into a surreal hero’s journey after two thugs urinate (or micturate in Lebowski parlance) upon his rug. A laid back, former 60s activist, who has sought solace in pot and White Russians, all the Dude wants is his rug. Yet, he is drawn into an absurd kidnapping plot, witnesses the degradation of his car, has run-ins with nihilists and sees his home repeatedly vandalized. And yet, the Dude still abides.

3. “Office Space”

We can’t go around skipping class and wrecking destruction on printers, but the tale of a disgruntled employee (Ron Livingston) at a late 90s tech firm can teach us how to rise up and assert ourselves, preferably without money laundering schemes involved. To quote a Geto Boys song that plays in one of the film’s upbeat moments: “Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.”

4. “Step Brothers”

College can be overwhelming with all its obligations and rules. If you feel a need to embrace your inner child, I recommend this 2008 classic. Two live-at-home 40-year old stepbrothers (Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly) go from enemies to best friends, fighting the tides of life and responsibility. Lesson: We can embrace our inner child and find like minded friends in unlikely places. And, hopefully have time to do karate in the garage.


5. “Dazed and Confused”

Yes, it’s a coming of age tale. It’s also about struggles to find love, acceptance and belonging. The story centers around high school students in 1976, but the message is relevant in our era of walls and division. If nothing else, it’s worth watching for Matthew McConnaughey’s creepy and comic line: “That’s what I like about these high school girls, man. I get older. They stay the same age.”

Collegian reporter Yash Seyedbagheri can be reached at or on Twitter @dudesosad.

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