Study Break: The 5 Best Cult Movies to Watch in College
While many film majors may scoff at this list, the majority of you will find it’s a great jumping off point into the world of cult film. Coming from high school or your early college years, you may find that most of your friends’ favorite movies are usually the last movies they saw. So basically, The Hangover. When introduced to a more cultured environment, however, you’ll encounter people with more diverse interests and better tastes for media. And without trying to sound like a movie snob, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of the most popular cult films. Not just because you want to impress new friends, but because they’re simply damn good movies and you may find that you’ve been missing out. Now a grab a few friends and some good food because you’ll be discussing these late into the night.
The Big Lebowski
I like to think The Big Lebowski is the ultimate Friday night movie. It’s an absolute riot and tends to have a contagious effect on those who see it. Featuring Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski or simply “The Dude”, a lazy, carefree Los Angeles man who loves to bowl with his buddies. One night, The Dude is beaten up in his apartment by two men who claim his wife owes money. However, before realizing they have the wrong guy, one of them urinates on his rug. This doesn’t sit well with The Dude. He hunts down this other Jeff Lebowski in an attempt to receive compensation for his now soiled rug. From there, the adventure of a lifetime begins for The Dude.
Kevin Smith is the type of director you either love or hate. If you’re a fan of raunchy comedies, he’s right up your alley. If you’re not, you should probably steer clear of his movies, especially Clerks. The movie centers around two convenience store clerks, Dante and Randal, in a small town in New Jersey. Their day is spent dealing with customers and discussing various aspects of their jobs, lives, and at one point the personal politics of contractors working on the Death Star in Return of the Jedi.
Despite its exterior, however, it’s a nice examination on the customer-employee relationship in your typical retail job. Beyond that, the movie is actually quite deep, taking on the true emotions behind friendship and love. And for a movie made with no celebrities, in black-and-white in 1994, and on a budget less than $30,000, it’s both a cult and independent classic that no one should miss out on.
Attempting to summarize Donnie Darko is a task I would not wish upon my greatest enemy. In fact, summarizing it at all is doing the film a disservice to you, the potential audience. Just know this, whether the story makes sense or not, it’s a thrilling ride that will either leave you confused and angry or amazing and awakened. And if you feel the need to tell me your opinions on the story, do so in the comments below.
A Clockwork Orange
In Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel, a young sociopath named Alex is arrested and convicted of crimes he did not commit. In prison, he is accepted into an experimental therapy program that will attempt to cure him of his violent ways.
The film was extremely controversial upon it’s original release, receiving an X rating (later overturned when Kubrick replaced some of the the sexually explicit footage). It’s depiction of violence and the psychology of behavior are still two of the hot topics that I’m sure you will find interesting to discuss with friends after viewing this incredible film.
In between his mega roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford somehow managed to squeeze in a sci-fi thriller in the form of Blade Runner. Ford plays a cop named Deckard who hunts down illegal humanoids in a futuristic Los Angeles. He was ready to leave the force, but is pulled back in when a group of humanoids, known as replicants, escape an offworld colony and make their way to Earth.
The dark tone of the future and the morality surrounding the increasing technology truly drive this film. You’ll find yourself questioning many things about today’s world and even wondering about your own morality and humanity. You may need to grab a few open-minded, sci-fi fan friends in order to get the most out of Blade Runner though.