Graduation is a major rite of passage whether it be from high school or college. These films capture the momentous occasion and the sometimes confusing, anticlimatic aftermath of such life transitions.
Dazed and Confused (1993): Richard Linklater’s cult classic film follows a group of high school students on the last day of school as they navigate parties and find themselves confronted with life’s many other confusing, clarifying initiations. It’s worth revisiting for some of the brilliant cameos from the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Renee Zellweger and more.
Say Anything (1989): Cameron Crowe’s penultimate Seattle film begins with a graduation ceremony, a party featuring Eric Stoltz as a chicken and Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) giving a drunk party-goer a circuitous ride home to a drunk partier. There are so many great, real scenes in this classic film: the broken cassette deck in Dobler’s car, Cusack hoisting boom box aloft playing Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and Lili Taylor’s endless medley’s about her ex-boyfriend Joe. And it ends with one of the best metaphors for life on the cusp: DING!
Kicking and Screaming (1995): Not to be confused with the Will Ferrell film by the same name, Noah Baumbach captures this disaffected group of recent college grads with brilliant vignettes and fantastic one-liners that should be on bumper stickers and t-shirts. Yes, there is a Criterion collection edition, but this film deserves even wider viewship. It also features a stellar cast from Chris Eigeman to Josh Hamilton to Parker Posey to Eric Stolz (wait, aren’t some of those same names up above?).