Eight Movies to Love or Hate Before Freshman Year

Whether you champion these iconic films or think that they belong in the garbage, this collection will be great for not only awkward Welcome Week bonding and small talk but also personal character growth and development. The following films are staples to youth pop culture, trashy movies our generation came to love/hate, and something different altogether. So grab some friends, popcorn, and spend a few hours either reminiscing on your childhood, grimacing at what you once found entertaining, or become enlightened/scarred by these films for the first time.

  1.  High School Musical

It does not matter what year this movie came out, or whether you loved them when Troy Bolton was all the rage––Disney’s High School Musical is an iconic film and will remain a key part of the comedic culture on campus. You’ll have the opportunity to scream the lyrics while driving around with friends at night, or trash talk it with fellow sappy musical haters. Plus, what a better way to celebrate no longer being in high school with your new hall mates?

  1. The Breakfast Club

It’s likely that half of your freshman year will resemble The Breakfast Club; hanging out with people you’d likely never speak to in high school, realizing that everyone has a story, and awkwardly dancing like a crazy person are all parts of a healthy first few months of college.

  1. The Princess Bride

Another film that if you have not already seen, you need to. Bordering on a parody of every fairytale movie ever made, the film has become the origin of more cultural references than you can count. For this reason and more, The Princess Bride makes for a great watch with a few decent fellows during Welcome Week.

  1. Dead Poets Society

Full of nostalgia and intellectual musings, this movie is a coming-of-age tale filled with philosophical lessons and common cultural references. As you get wrapped into the narrative of an eccentric but caring teacher, played by the late Robin Williams, and his desire to truly educate his students, you’ll soon be saying “O Captain, My Captain” once again. And if you don’t know the reference, this is a must watch.

  1.  Lincoln

This movie is not famous for being a coming–of–age drama/comedy like many other films on this list because it is not. It is a gritty tale of one of the darkest times ever faced by this nation and provides a beautiful narrative to Abe Lincoln’s fight to save the Union and abolish slavery. While there are subtle moments of comedy, it’s pretty dark––because the actual times it depicts were even darker. While it is at times horrifying and also devastatingly sad, this movie is motivation incarnate as the story of this leader permanently changes the future of our nation. There’s nothing as great as understanding history and sacrifice before diving into your undergraduate education, right?

  1.  Mean Girls

If you don’t know what “On Wednesdays, we wear pink” means, you need to watch Mean Girls. Perhaps you love it and can quote it like the back of your hand, or maybe the thought of watching that horrible movie again makes you want to gag. Regardless, this is a movie you need to see––it provides great references and reminds you of how fantastic it is to no longer be in high school.

  1. The Pursuit of Happiness

This film, starring Will Smith, will take you on a roller coaster of emotions as you watch a father struggle to forge a better life for his young son. As college students, it can be easy to forget the harsh reality some people live every day, and this film reminds us. A great group-tear jerker, it ultimately ends with a powerful motivational message about hard work and perseverance. A message that states, “Your future is important and you have control over it.” There is not a better message for new freshman.


  1. Pitch Perfect

As you finish wiping away your tears from the last film, it’s time to cry for a totally different reason. You will either laugh into hysteria or want to weep at the comedic atrocity that is Pitch Perfect. In an attempt to capture the college lifestyle while also making the protagonists superstar talented, this film is a great source of humor and false expectations. While no movie could perfectly prepare you for life at CNU, this one will certainly either make you uber excited for or fill you with dread for CNU’s own a capella culture. Auditions take place very close to classes starting and “Glow in the Dark-Apella” is one of the most hyped events on campus, so get your love of music on and enjoy an uplifting story before classes start!