Most of you won't remember this, but there was a time when getting into college was more about taking the first step to a bright future and less about self-inflicted, crippling debt and lifelong lament that someone actually allowed you to major in French Literary Deconstructionism.
Hilariously, as Tina Fey's new comedy "Admission" attests to, higher education is still the goal for millions of teens whose optimism has yet to be obliterated by reality. But for all of you high schoolers out there who don't have "fancy connections" at top notch universities or "serviceable grade point averages," don't despair — today we're hooking you up with films that offer some less conventional methods for beating out your better and brighter peers.
9. 'Soul Man' (1986)
After reading a script about a privileged white kid taking tanning pills to get into Harvard with a scholarship meant for African Americans, producers could have either said "Wow, that's horrible, racist and was clearly written during some sort of mental breakdown," or "Wow, finally another chance to have a white actor in black face!" Apparently, the producers of "Soul Man" said the latter, and a hit was born. We don't recommend this plot as a method of getting into Harvard. We also don't recommend this as a plot for a movie.
8. 'Legally Blonde' (2001)
There are probably more practical reasons to apply to Harvard Law School, but none more laudable than love. And when ditzy sorority girl Elle Woods' (Reese Witherspoon) boyfriend leaves her for the elite institution and a cold coed (Selma Blair), Elle knows what she must do: get into Harvard too by producing the most fabulously sassy application video of all time! And it totally works. (Don't try this. It totally doesn't work.)
7. 'Good Will Hunting' (1997)
Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a mind made for M.I.T. and a name made for pithy movie title puns. But his gritty South Boston upbringing hasn't prepared him for the social niceties needed to succeed and he is continually belligerent with authority figures. So like a work-study Phantom of the Opera, Will toils as an M.I.T. janitor by night while gaining access to the school's curriculum in the process. Way to have your urinal cake and eat it too, Will.
6. 'Back to School' (1986)
Thornton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield), a self-made millionaire (and persistent requester of respect), never got to go to college — he was too busy making money. And he always regretted it (that, and the dearth of respect he receives). But when his son considers dropping out of school, the supportive Thornton buys enrollment for himself by donating a business school to the institution and hits the books by his son's side. And what kid wouldn't want his dad for a wingman at frat parties?
Spoiler Alert: Thornton gets respect.
5. 'Risky Business' (1983)
Business majors have sometimes been accused of being shallow, materialistic nihilists. And this dark comedy — about a preppy (Tom Cruise) whose senior business project involves turning his parent's house into a den of prostitution — doesn't help reverse this impression (turns out there's money in selling sex). But the Princeton University admissions interviewer sure likes what he sees when he pays Cruise a visit, and another business major is born!
4. 'The Blind Side' (2009)
Let's say you're a black teenager in Memphis with a drug-addicted mother, no father in sight and no place to sleep. Not much chance of you going to a good college, right? Did we mention you're a great football player? Ca-Ching! Enter Leigh Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her well-off husband, who suddenly can't wait to be your adoptive family, hire you a tutor and do everything in their power to assure that you go play football for their alma mater, Ole Miss. How's that for a lesson, class?
3. 'Yentl' (1983)
At the turn of the 20th century, even the brightest of Jewish girls could not gain entrance to the yeshivas (religious schools). But the precocious Yentl (Barbara Streisand) dares to go drag, infiltrating the dusty old boys club, despite the dangers. You see, so easily aroused were these Rabbinical students that even a clean-shaven young man of delicate features could detrimentally distract them as they read the Bible's fascinating thoughts on antiquated farming procedures.
2. 'Old School' (2003)
Do you have no good reason to return to school but long for the days when your future was in front of you and your body could recover from excessive alcohol and sleep deprivation with the tenacity of a honey badger? Then why not follow in Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn's lead and simply turn your house into a fraternity. If you can't go to college, bring the college to you.
Note: It will destroy your life.
1. 'The Perfect Score' (2004)
If all else fails and you're coming to the conclusion that you'll be asking "Did you want that latte hot or iced?" several hundred times a day, here's one last option provided by this ripoff of "The Breakfast Club" and "How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate": steal the SAT answers in a heist. Do we recommend this? No, stealing is never right and it's not worth the self loathing you'll feel afterwards. Do we recommend this movie? No, for the same reasons.