Graduation ceremonies are happening all across the country this time of year. It’s a time of celebration and a time of reflecting on one’s hard work. Hollywood has dedicated no small number of films to the subject of graduation and the final days of high school and college, but below we highlight three films about graduation involving unique and bizarre graduation requirements that, let’s be honest, would only happen in the movies.
3. Van Wilder
Near the end of his 7th year of college, “super senior” and extremely popular Van Wilder is nearly expelled after being set up by a jealous rival for hosting a party with underage drinking. To prevent expulsion, he makes a deal with the school board to do a semester’s worth of work in the remaining six days and finally graduate, leaving his college party life forever.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could slack off and party for 7 years and then only to have to really study and work for about a week to make it all turn out alright? Well, in Hollywood, not only is it possible, but it makes for a hit film as well.
2. Ernest Goes to School
Popular character, Ernest P. Worrell, returns as a school bus driver at a high school; however, a new rule requires all school staff members to be high school graduates, which Ernest isn’t. So he has to enroll as a student and pass all of his classes to keep his job. After a few weeks of doing this, Ernest is failing miserably, but with the help of a “brain accelerator” created by two of his science teacher friends, Ernest becomes a genius in all academic and artistic areas. Unfortunately, the effect wears off over time, often at inopportune times, and Ernest has to constantly “recharge” his brain.
Well, two bullies figure out Ernest’s brain enhancing secret right before his final exams, and destroy the machine. This forces him to pass his exams using his normal (and quite stunted) intellect. Needless to say, with the help of his true friends, Ernest passes the tests allowing him receive a diploma and keep his job, despite all the hijinks he has caused along the way.
1. Billy Madison
Right before titular character, Billy Madison, a hotel tycoon’s slacker son, is set to inherit his father’s company, it is discovered that he bribed all his teachers to help him pass each grade when he was going through school. With this information, his father decides to give the company to his arch nemesis unless Billy can graduate from every grade, 1-12, dedicating 2 weeks to each grade.
Despite initial challenges, Billy hits his stride and begins to pass each grade, but his nemesis sabotages his efforts forcing a man vs. man academic decathlon between the two. If Billy wins, he graduates high school and inherits the company, but if he loses, his rival takes the company and proves that Billy is nothing but a loser.