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US Universities in famous movies

January 11, 2012 by app2usadvisor  
Filed under Campus Life, Culture


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Watching American movies is arguably one of the best ways to prepare for the TOEFL! Following movies either depict or were filmed at US University campuses. Movies with ** are highly recommended.
 
1. Harvard University
 
**Legally Blonde (2001): Ell Woods (Reese Whitherspoon) applies to Harvard Law School to folllow and win back her boyfriend. The admission committee is impressed by her unique video based Statement of Purpose and she is accepted. After a bumpy ride at Harvard, Ell graduates with honors and at the graduation ceremony is the class-elected speaker. Harvard University did not permit filming on its grounds from 1970 until 2007, so Legally Blonfe was shot at two world famous universities – CalTech and UCLA. 
 
**The Social Network (2010): Based on a true story, Mark Zuckergerg (Jesse Eisenberg) approaches his friend Eduardo Saverin and tells him of his idea for what he calls “Thefacebook”, an online social networking website exclusive to Harvard University students. The rest, as we know, is history. 
**The Great Debaters (2007): Based on a true story, the plot revolves around the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) at historically black Wiley College to place his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s, when lynch mobs were a pervasive fear for blacks. In the movie, the Wiley team eventually succeeds to the point where they are able to debate Harvard University team at Harvard. The film depicts the Wiley Debate team beating Harvard College in the 1930s. In real life, they actually beat the team from University of Southern California. 
2. MIT 

21 (2008): Based on a true story, MIT senior math major Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is accepted into Harvard Medical School but cannot afford the $300,000 cost. Despite a 44 MCAT score and top grades, Ben faces a fierce competition for the prestigious Robinson Scholarship that would pay entirely for the medical school. He and five other MIT students get trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently take Vegas casinos for millions in winnings, under the guidance of a MIT professor! 

3. Princeton University 

**A Beautiful Mind (2001): Based on a true story of the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. He graduated from MIT and started to teach there. But his career gets derailed due to . Much later, the head of the Princeton mathematics department, who grants him permission to work out of the library and audit classes. Years pass and as Nash grows older he learns to ignore his hallucinations. Eventually he earns the privilege of teaching again. In 1994, he won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering analysis of equilibria in the theory of non-cooperative games, based on the work mostly done four decades ago.  

4. Carnegie Mellon University 

Wonder Boys (2000): It stars Michael Douglas as professor Grady Tripp, a novelist who teaches creative writing at an unnamed Pittsburgh university (not CMU). He has been unable to finish his second novel, his young wife has left him, and he is sleeping with the Chancellor of the university (Frances McDormand), who is the wife of the chairman of his department.Wonder Boys was filmed in Pittsburgh, including locations at Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, and Shady Side Academy. 

Smart People (2008 ): An unexpected romance with a charming former student (Sarah Jessica Parker) and a surprise visit from his wild adopted brother (Thomas Haden Church) conspire to turn the life of widowed professor Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) upside down. Smart People was filmed on location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, including several scenes at Carnegie Mellon University. 

5. University of Texas at Austin 

Man of the house (2005): The movie is a crime comedy starring Tommy Lee Jones. A group of cheerleaders from the University of Texas at Austin witness a murder. Lt. Roland Sharp (Jones), a lonesome Texas Ranger goes undercover as an assistant cheerleading coach of UT Austin to protect the cheerleaders 

6. UCLA 

Old School (2003): A comedy film starring Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell as three thirty-somethings who seek to re-live their college days by starting a fraternity, and the tribulations they encounter in doing so. The film is set in La Crescenta, California. Filming locations included UCLA and USC. 

7. UC Irvine 

Creator (1985): Harry Wolper (Peter O’Toole) is a Nobel laureate in biology, obsessed by the possibility to clone his beloved late wife, Lucy. Helped by a student and a egg-donor girl, Meli, Dr. Wolper finally succeeds in the cloning process, but the events leading to this achievement create strong bonds between hims and Meli. The Neuroscience labs and exteriors of UCI were featured in this science fiction-comedy film. 

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972): A science fiction film directed by J. Lee Thompson. It is the fourth of five films in the original Planet of the Apes series. Several of the (then) futurist buildings at UCI were involved in the filming. The School of Social Science was transformed into a violent training center for simian slaves, and its courtyard became an ape auction block. 

Ocean’s Eleven (2001): UCI continues to attract movie makers even in the 21st century. In the movie, the building where the crew steals the EMP device is actually the Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility located in the College of Medicine. 

8. Marshall University 

** We are Marshall (2006): Based on a true story of the aftermath of the 1970 plane crash that killed 37 football players on the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team. The team’s new coach and his surviving players try to keep the football program alive.It addresses the rebuilding of the program and the healing that the community undergoes. It stars Matthew McConaughey as head coach Jack Lengyel. Truly inspirational movie, a must watch. 

9. Naval Academy 

Annapolis (2006): The film revolves around Jake Huard, a young man who dreams of one day attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. This picture was made without the support of the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense, thus not allowed to be shot at the Naval Academy. 

10. USC 

Do to close proximity with Hollywood, the USC campus has been the location for many famous films. The Graduate, A League of their Own, Mighty Ducks II, Being John Malkovich, Forrest Gump, For Love of the Game, Legally Blonde, Krippendorf’s Tribe, Thirteen Days, What Women Want…the list goes on. 

Source: Lots of movie watching, Wikipedia and IMDB. 

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