I have always loved Fridays. It seems almost silly to say it, because who doesn’t? In college, I spent hours crafting the perfect schedule so that I could always have Fridays free. In my first “real-world” job, I rarely took vacations in a chunk, instead preferring to pepper my vacation days on random Fridays, as a little treat to myself. Even in my current state of semi-employment, I rarely choose to do anything on Fridays that is remotely productive.
In that spirit, I thought I would brighten everyone’s Friday with movie recommendations, courtesy of Paste Magazine, one of my favorite cultural publications. About a year ago, they ranked the top 8 movies featuring post-collegiate life. Here’s the list and my thoughts on each:
8. St. Elmo’s Fire
Being a child of the 1980s, I love this movie. I spent my first year of college life at a large private college in D.C. and my views of what it meant to be a young adult in the capital were largely informed by my preteen repeat viewings of this film.
7. The Motorcycle Diaries
Gael Garcia Bernal is so good-looking, it’s literally exhausting. The film takes a unique perspective on the life of Che Guevara but honestly, how many of us have ever wanted to drop out of school/quit our jobs/leave our lives behind and just hop on a motorcycle and go?
6. Reality Bites
First, how this is not the number one movie on the list is criminal. Secondly, growing up in Houston means that watching this film is like going home for me – it’s a great slice of a great city. I have a dear friend who told me that you knew you were a grown-up when you wanted Winona Ryder to choose Ben Stiller over Ethan Hawke. It makes me smile to know that Hawke’s Troy still gets me every time.
5. Into the Wild
Along the lines of The Motorcycle Diaries, this is a film that taps into the impulse we all have to break away and see the world. The allure of the American West still drives people into the wilderness and this film [along with its fantastic source material] is an excellent exploration of what can happen.
4. The Big Chill
A classic with an all-star cast and great music, this is a quintessential nostalgia piece that undoubtedly will make your parents tell you stories you wish you hadn’t heard. I, however, prefer The Lather Effect – a similar film that features a cast of 1980s favorites (Eric Stoltz! Ione Skye!) and one of my favorite actresses, Connie Britton!
3. Funny Ha Ha
The only film on the list I haven’t seen. In the last few years, there’s been a rise in mumblecore films such as this that I occasionally enjoy but oftentimes feel are more geared towards man-boys than myself.
2. Kicking and Screaming
More Eric Stoltz! Apparently Paste Magazine shares my love for that irresistible ginger. This is a movie that perfectly encapsulates what I wish my first post-collegiate year had been. It’s a great look at what it feels like to be over-educated yet under-prepared for life after college.
1. The Graduate
Obviously. If you haven’t seen it, drop whatever you’re doing and get your hands on a copy. Although it was released in 1967, the yearning Dustin Hoffman’s character feels for something meaningful and different in his life is timeless.
[Note: St. Elmo’s Fire, The Motorcyle Diaries, and Kicking and Screaming are all available via Netflix Instant. All others can be found on Netflix DVD.]