10 Netflix Movies That Break The American College Stereotype

There are many films that portray American college life as an ideal of wild parties and unlimited fun. For example, we all have in mind the mythical series ‘American Pie’, the ‘Porky’s Saga’ or even the classic ‘Desmadre a la Americana’. However, while college sprees are also present, the college experience for students in the United States is much moreas many of the movies that we recommend below show us, which you can find, for the most part, on the Netflix platform.

1. Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

Despite being barely nine years old, this film has already become a classic, following in the wake of ‘Dead Poets Club’, and deals with the struggles of women at the university during the decade of 1950 and how teachers impact students to the point of even being able to change their future.

Mike Newell (‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’) was in charge of directing the filming set at Wellesley’s private university, where, in the middle of the war, Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), an Art History professor with a mentality, moved. very liberal. Arriving there, she finds that the institution is steeped in old traditions and that, like many women of the time, most Wellesley girls have only one goal after graduation: marriage. However, the teacher recognizes in them a great potential and encourages them to see life from a new point of view, which will bring her problems with the University.

2. The Great Debate (2007)

Known by its original English title ‘The Great Debaters’, it is an inspiring film, based on true events, about an extraordinary African-American debate team who, during the 1930s, are talented and determined enough to stand out in an age in which racism still reigns.

Professor Melvin Tolson (played by Denzel Washington, who also directs the film) teaches at Wiley College, a university located in the small town of Marshall, Texas, a community that in the year 1935, during which the story takes place, is segregated.

At the start of the school year, Tolson selects four new members for the college debate team: Hamilton Burgess (Jermaine Williams), who was on the team before and dropped out before the main competition; James Farmer Jr. (Denzel Whitaker), a fourteen-year-old prodigy whose father pushes him to excel; Samantha Brooke (Jurnee Smollett), who has dreams of being the first woman to debate; and Henry Lowe (Nate Parker), an independent student whose passion for justice is fierce and unwavering. They are all highly intelligent and aggressive students, whose dreams of success are fueled by Tolson’s energy and idealism.

3. Homeless at Harvard (2003)

This film (‘Homeless to Harvard’) is a first-person account of the real life of Elizabeth Murray (American psychologist, writer and lecturer) who was the daughter of drug addict parents, grew up in poverty and survived alone on the streets, until that one day he decided to get his life back.

Thora Birch stars as young Liz Murray who, as a student at the New York Preparatory Academy for the Humanities and winner of a New York Times Fellowship to Harvard, reflects on her journey thus far. Having been raised in abject poverty by drug-addicted parents Peter (Michael Riley, Amistad) and Jean (Kelly Lynch, Charlie’s Angles), Liz was left to fend for herself. Conditions worsened further when her mother contracted AIDS and had to be hospitalized.

Desperate and scared at age 15, living on the streets with her best friend Chris (Makyla Smith), and deeply affected by the tragic passing of her mother, Liz is forced to look to her future. Encouraged by her father, she enters high school and sets out to get to Harvard. To do this, she uses her indomitable spirit and incredible will to survive against all odds.

It is about the personal struggle of a young woman that becomes an incredible portrait of survival and success.

4. The Water Carrier (1998)

Raised by his overprotective mother, Helen (Kathy Bates), Bobby Boucher Jr. (Adam Sandler) is the water boy for a successful college football team led by Red Beaulieu (Jerry Reed). When Beaulieu fires Bobby, he fills the same position for a losing rival team, led by desperate coach Klein (Henry Winkler). After witnessing Bobby beat up a player who made fun of him too much, Klein adds him to the roster at linebacker. Soon, the Klein players are championship contenders.

It is a film that deals with the search for self-confidence and team play and highlights the influence of parents on their children’s self-confidence.

5. The Social Network (2010)

This film, directed by David Fincher, tells the true story of the birth of the Facebook social network.

Under the original name of ‘The Social Network’, it tells the story of the young university student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), who, after an argument with his girlfriend, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara), hacks the university directories and collects photos of campus women which he then posts on a website called Facemash, inviting users to rank which of them is the “sexiest” woman. After the web receives significant traffic, the administration closes it.

However, Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra encourage Mark to build his dating website, TheHarvardConnection.com, which later evolved into thefacebook.com, into the social network we know and made that from its creator he became one of the richest men in the world.

6. Accepted (2006)

High school senior Bartleby “B” Gaines (Justin Long) is on his way to being rejected by all eight colleges he’s applied to, which he fears will upset his parents. Several of his crew of outcast friends are in the same situation as him, so they choose to start their own institution of higher learning, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, on a dilapidated property near his hometown. Thus, he will try to please his parents and be noticed by the girl of his dreams, Monica (Blake Lively).

This is one of the funniest college movies of all time, but it also teaches the vital lesson of never giving up.

7. Girls in Conflict (2021)

Originally titled Damsels in Distress, this movie is an exciting comedy about college, female intellect, unlimited male ego, and suicide prevention.

In the film, directed by Whit Stillman, Greta Gerwig leads the cast of protagonists with the role of Violet, a sophomore who, along with her friends Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke), and Heather (Carrie MacLemore), tries to change the Seven Oaks University campus to limit male dominance and to help students they consider less fortunate or depressed.

After the recent arrival of Lily (Analeigh Tipton), Violet becomes her new protégé, whom she tries to teach to dress and speak properly. However, when he begins to become a match for her in front of the boys, her friendship and her mental health falter.

8. Pitch Perfect (2012)

‘Giving the note’ or ‘Pitch Perfect’, is a series of three American musical comedy films whose first part was released in 2012.

In it, college student Beca (Anna Kendrick) is forced to join The Bellas, a singing group made up of bad girls, nice girls, and just plain weird girls, all of whom have in common only how well they sing together. So, once inside, she tries to take the women of the group out of their comfort zone of traditional acoustic singing and into a world of amazing harmonic combinations in a fight to reach the top of the university musical competitions.

9. Rookie Revenge (1984)

Although in this film the university parties do have a special role, they are approached from a new point of view, since the protagonists are the classic marginalized.

Translated from its original title ‘Revenge of the Nerds’, the film begins as two nerds, Gilbert and Lewis, start their freshman year at Adams College excited, not realizing what lies ahead. From the beginning, they are taunted by the jocks from the most popular Alpha Beta fraternity and are left without housing, as the varsity students get priority.

Thus, they are forced to sleep in the gym along with the rest of the outcasts, and decide to form their own fraternity to defend themselves. It’s time to turn the jocks around to rule the school and take revenge for all the humiliations perpetrated by Alpha-Beta members.

10. Documentary Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (2021)

Finally, Netflix has produced the documentary ‘Operation Varsity Blues’, in which Chris Smith (‘American Movie’) addresses the details of the admissions scandals at Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Northwestern and the University of Southern California. , with a unique approach to telling this non-fiction story, as it mixes the classic style with staged reinterpretations.

Matthew Modine plays Rick Singer, who during 2019 carried out a scam on wealthy families, charging between $300,000 and $500,000 to get their children admitted to prestigious universities, with the excuse of being ‘niche athletes’. ‘. This was protected by a university authority that accepted these new entrants.

In the documentary, Modine recreates Singer’s conversations with parents and academic faculty members, which were used in the trial against him. In this way, it is possible to glimpse as a result of the documentary how the American university system is deeply damaged.


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