22 Jump Street (2014): Back to School

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So, rarely are sequels as good as their predecessors. But, dammit, this movie is equally as funny. One thing I love about this film is that it’s aware it’s a sequel and aware of the fact that it’s capitalizing on the previous one’s success and uses it for comedy. Nothing about this movie feels tired or like a less funny rehash, it’s equally as entertaining as the first. This movie follows the same pair back to school, except this time they’re going to college to get to the center of a drug ring. Now I’m at an age that real college students are starting to look like children, but no one making this film thinks that these 30 year old men pass as college students. Again, it’s played for comedy. This movie is a really fun back to school movie if you’re heading back to college soon. It’s got classes, extracurriculars, and spraaang break. Definitely check it out.

Netflix available? No

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? Yes

Holiday rating: 7 backpacks

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21 Jump Street (2012): Back to School

21 Jump Street

Back to school isn’t just for high schoolers anymore, it’s also for grown ass men. This movie is hilarious, it follows two cops who are assigned to the Jump Street division. They go undercover as high school seniors to try and investigate the production and dealing of a new and fatal drug. Schmidt, played by Jonah Hill, was a loser in high school and is surprised to find that his personality and values are “cool” in present day high school, while Jenko, played by Channing Tatum, is shocked that what made him cool in high school doesn’t fly anymore. Their varying levels of popularity drive a wedge between them and starts to endanger the investigation. This movie is surprisingly funny, and has some great cameos from cast members of the original TV series. I’m not generally one for action comedies but this movie gets me laughing every time I watch it. It’s set at a high school and despite the leads not being high school age, it does contain lots of high school themes. Schmidt is in the school play, Jenko gets into AP Chemistry, they throw a raging party, there’s a prom. I’d say it’s a can’t miss back to school flick.

Netflix available? No

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? Yes, for a fee

Holiday rating: 7 backpacks

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Back to School

“Welcome to Hellmouth” Season 1, Episode 1

BTVS Welcome to Hellmouth

Now I want to start off my review by saying that I’m totally not biased or anything, but I am writing this while wearing my Sunnydale High School sweatshirt. This is one of the best shows of all time in my opinion, and what better way to get ready to head back to school than to head back with the slayer. In this episode, Buffy is starting at a new school (Sunnydale High School) due to being expelled from her last school. She’s worried about making new friends and doing well in her classes, while still slaying vampires. However, she now has the help of her appointed Watcher, the wonderful Giles, and her two new friends Willow and Xander. Honestly, this whole first season really sees Buffy juggling the struggles of high school… in addition to the whole slaying demons thing. I think this show is a great way to start off the school year and take you into fall, especially for Halloween as there are some creepy ass demons in this show (aka the Gentlemen).

Netflix available? No

Hulu available? Yes

Xfinity available? No

Holiday rating: 9 backpacks

Easy A (2010): Back to School

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I mean while I definitely hope no one actually has a school year quite like this, this movie is great for getting you in the mood for high school. This film came out during my senior year of high school so I think that’s why this movie feels so “back to school” themed for me. This movie follows Olive as she ruins her reputation and then tries to put it back together. When a rumor starts that she’s had sex, she begins getting a reputation as the school slut. She decides to steer into the skid and embrace her new title, however she soon realizes she may not be emotionally able to handle the isolation. This movie is one of Emma Stone’s best performances. The story is funny and heartwarming and I think it handled the subject of slut-shaming in high school and the emotional effects of bullying pretty well for a comedy. It’s primarily set at a high school so it’s definitely good to get you ready for a (hopefully less) eventful school year.

Netflix available? No

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? Yes

Holiday rating: 8 backpacks

Clueless (1995): Back to School

Clueless

Is there a better back to school movie than this? Ugh, as if! This movie is one of my favorite things of all time, a 90’s high school comedy. Cher Horowitz is popular, wealthy, and attractive. She means well but her privilege leads her efforts to be a little misguided at times. She often spars with her ex-stepbrother Josh who thinks Cher is superficial. She begins to attempt to prove that she is a good person and not shallow but helping a new girl become popular and by volunteering. She goes through some struggles with her friendships and is upset when she realizes she might have feelings for Josh and thinks he will never take her seriously. This movie is fluff, sure, but it’s fun, it’s funny and full of classic quotes, and is set in a high school. It’s a great film for getting ready to head back to high school, or if you’re old enough even college. I still love this movie and I’m a married adult with a job. I highly recommend this one for some brainless fun.

Netflix available? No

Hulu available? Yes

Xfinity available? No

Holiday rating: 8 backpacks

Legally Blonde (2001): Back to School

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This is a fantastic movie and Elle Woods is the ultimate role model. This movie is about a spoiled sorority girl, Elle Woods. She is so excited for her boyfriend Warner to propose to her, so she is stunned when instead he dumps her because he thinks she’s too dumb. Warner is going to Harvard Law School, so Elle decides she’s going to go as well and win him back. Once in law school everyone is expecting her to fail so Elle decides to buckle down and prove them wrong. This is one of the best back to school movies ever. It takes place at Harvard law and is all about Elle’s journey to educate herself and become a successful lawyer, while also learning about being true to herself and proving that her appearance doesn’t negate her intelligence. I highly recommend everyone who’s headed back to school, especially college, watch this one to get motivated.

Netflix available? No

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? No

Holiday rating: 10 backpacks

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001): Back to School

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So let’s go back to the most magical school on earth! This is an unconventional back to school movie but I definitely think it qualifies. I don’t think I really need to summarize this beloved classic, but just in case. This film follows Harry Potter, an 11 year old boy who discovers that he is a wizard and he has been accepted into the wizarding school, Hogwarts. His year is full of discovering his powers, learning about a magical world he never knew about, and making new friends. The classes they take are definitely different than the ones we would take but I still think it’s a fun watch. There’s classes, students, all with a magical flair! I’d say this is probably the best one for back to school, as the other films progress they get less and less academically focused but I would never judge anyone who wanted to have a back-to-school Harry Potter marathon!

Netflix available? No

Hulu available? No

Xfinity available? No

Holiday rating: 6 backpacks