Back to School Movies to Build the Academic Atmosphere


“High School Musical 3: Senior Year” came out to theaters in 2008.

Back to school means homework, classes and rigorous schedules. However, that does not mean the new semester should be hard work only, with the TV switched off, and the music turned down every night. Multi-tasking can be the key to making homework easier to endure. Try watching school-themed movies in combination with working on school assignments. Here are some suggestions of films that could help build an academic atmosphere most conducive for a good college experience and possibly inspire the best decisions regarding the future.

The 2006 movie “Accepted” follows Bartleby Gaines, played by Justin Long, a high school senior rejected from every college he has applied to. He and some friends invent their own fake college in order to avoid disappointing his parents. However, in attempting to avoid suspicion, Gaines creates a college so good that it attracts many other students also struggling to make the college dream come true. The message of the movie is clear: all students deserve a chance to thrive and have someone believe in them. While the movie is by no means the best film in cinematic history, it definitely is a good one to throw on in the background during an assignment.

The “High School Musical” trilogy started in 2006, with a Disney Channel original movie and  ended in 2008 with the theatrical release of the third movie. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens star in all three films. The trilogy, loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, follows two high school students, Troy and Gabriella, from rival worlds as they get leads in the school musical. Through sports, music and academics, they navigate the final years of high school and the leap into college. Widely popular for the light song and dance numbers, the “High School Musical” movies are perfect visual and sound stimulus for a long weekend project.

“10 Things I Hate About You” is another classic teen movie and another loose adaptation of a Shakespearean classic, this time, the “Taming of the Shrew.” The 1999 movie follows a new student Cameron, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, who falls instantly in love with Bianca, the most popular girl in school. Bianca’s overprotective father and “shrewish” older sister  make it impossible for her to date. Thanks to some tricks and planning, Cameron gets the school’s bad boy Patrick, played by the late Heath Ledger, to date the older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) in order for Cameron to date Bianca. This movie was a breakout role for many of the starring actors, and with a compelling plot, a good love story, and great acting it stands the test of time. Put in on while working on easier assignments, but don’t let the hijinks distract you from the homework.

“Mean Girls”, written by Saturday Night Live alumni Tina Fey, came out in 2004 and made a cultural impact with its sassy quips and characterizations. The film is partially based on information from Rosalind Wiseman’s non-fiction self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes. “Mean Girls” follows a girls social clique and its damaging effects. Exposing the chatty, fickle world of girl cliques hit home for many, reminding viewers of their own high school experiences, and how those times shaped their choices today. This movie is fast-moving and fascinating, perfect to come in and out of when working on a project, and easy to immediately start over when there is no brain power left and you want to totally zone out.

Let us know your preferred movies while doing work by using hashtag #UNOmoviemarathons on twitter!