11. Higher Learning(1995 | Columbia Pictures)
Genius: John Singleton’s college tale laid its foundation with familiar tropes (the naive girl, awkward loner, pompous athlete), but brilliantly flipped the script with characters that dealt with the pressures of race, class and sexuality. The film closed Singleton’s early 90's trilogy (Boyz N the Hood, Poetic Justice) and established the young filmmaker as a Tinseltown titan.
What We Learned: 8 a.m. calculus classes aren’t the only reason college is tough.