Movies, though great sources of entertainment, have the ability to transcend shallow expositions of mindless action or superficial romance and take on new meaning, especially when it comes to relating itself to one’s personal narrative. Whether a film deals with the overcoming of obstacles or the struggle to find oneself, they all can benefit college-aged viewers in a more meaningful capacity than simply giving somebody a ninety-minute piece of diluted schlock; a capacity that can help young people grow as students, as intelligible creatures, and as emotional human beings. So, without any more rambling and in no particular order, here are the four movies every Bryant student should watch:
#1: The Big Short
Of course this movie would be on the list. It is always important to learn from mistakes of the past, and this movie exemplifies that in spades. 2015’s The Big Short follows a slew of skeptical businessmen as they investigate the potential of a mortgage bubble on Wall Street in 2007 and 2008. Starring Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, and featuring Brad Pitt, this movie speaks to the business-savvy students among us, while also teaching young people who watch the important details and nuances of the stock market; lessons that will serve one well when making their own investments and managing their own risks and liabilities. Plus, Margot Robbie makes an outstanding cameo, and who doesn’t love Margot Robbie?
#2: Dead Poets Society
I would be remiss if I did not include my all-time favorite movie, and possibly the greatest coming-of-age tale to ever be put to film. Starring Robin Williams and featuring the debut performance of Ethan Hawke, 1989’s Dead Poets Society follows a group of rambunctious teenaged boys at a prestigious boarding school who have their minds remolded and their worlds reimagined by their new English professor, Mr. John Keating. They all struggle with their own identities and futures as their day-to-day experiences are transformed by a new way of looking at their lives. This movie reinforces the importance of learning new things and being open to new possibilities; something that every student could benefit from, especially in the stuffy academic environment of a business school.
#3: The Social Network
Knowing people’s roots is important, and seeing what a single person is capable of accomplishing reinforces many students’ drives to set, meet, and even exceed goals. 2011’s The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, follows the story of the rise and trials of Mark Zuckerberg as he develops the social networking site, Facebook, and deals with the legal backlash of the actions he took to make the most lucrative social medium of all time. Learning about the rise of our favorite social media platform is entertaining, but what speaks to the millennial generation the most in the film is the brevity by which people can set their goals, even if they’re only a broke college student.
#4: Good Will Hunting
Everyone has potential in this world to do things they never thought were possible. The visual anthem to such a postulation has to be 1997’s Good Will Hunting. Starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, and featuring Ben Affleck, the film follows a young, unfocused MIT janitor and untapped math genius who is discovered by a professor and brought to a therapist in order to turn his genius potential and violent roots into mathematical reality. This film shows young people the importance of finding oneself before it’s too late; a theme that will continue to inspire and activate young minds to not only pave the way for a successful future, but also make sure that the future they pave is one that they will be happy with.
So there you have it; four films that every Bryant student should watch. Movies that are both entertaining and teach significant lessons are not always that easy to come by, but these four films are exactly that. They tell stories of the human condition that serve not only as staples of great cinema, but also as engaging narratives that will live on in valuable perpetuity. Happy watching!