New Orleans is a beautiful city, and as far as college campuses go, Tulane is pretty amazing as well. From the older and rustic buildings on the A-quad to the modern buildings like the new B-school, the LBC, and The Commons, we all found ourselves here because we fell in love with something about this place. Accordingly, so many shows and movies have been filmed in New Orleans, with some filmed right here on campus. I find it super exciting when I start watching something and suddenly I’m back on campus, though it’s being called a different name. I’m sure many of us have been walking through campus one morning and become confused to find all our usual “Tulane” flags and signs replaced by those of another, made-up university. I think it’s a lot of fun to see our campus or school name pop up here and there within the cinematic world, but that just leaves one question: are these films any good? From serious to funny, and good to bad, I’ll look at and rank from worst to best, four of the biggest movies with scenes filmed right here.
4. The Perfect Date
Netflix’s The Perfect Date is definitely my least favorite of the movies filmed at Tulane. Starring Noah Centineo and Laura Marano, Ally from Austin & Ally, the premise of the movie involves Noah’s character, Brooks, needing money to follow his dreams and resorting to filling in for girls’ dates in exchange for cash. He’s essentially a male escort and even creates an app to maximize his profits, though of course, things get complicated when feelings get in the way. While the characters are in high school, they visit a college campus in the movie, and this part enfolds right here at Tulane. What is hilarious to me about this part is that the campus they are supposed to be on is Brooks’ dream school: Yale. However, it is very clear to anyone who goes to Tulane that it’s actually within and right outside of Gibson where these scenes transpire. Additionally, there are some other New Orleans locations you may recognize such as Academy of the Sacred Heart on St. Charles and one of my personal favorite restaurants, Bearcat.
3. So Undercover
Starring Miley Cyrus, So Undercover is a hilarious movie from 2012 in which her character Molly, a private investigator, goes undercover for the FBI as a sorority girl in college. The scenes at said college are filmed at none other than Tulane, with many moments in the beautiful A-quad including some shots of our much-missed bead tree. This movie is not exactly quality, but I find it fun and entertaining for when you just need a laugh. It definitely pokes fun of the college and partying scene along the way, which Tulane is well known for. While the acting is admittedly not the best, I sometimes enjoy watching movies with Cyrus because they throw me back to my childhood where she took a center stage in the Disney entertainment world.
2. The Pelican Brief
The Pelican Brief is based on John Grisham’s mystery novel by the same name. It stars two actors whom I personally love: Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. The movie kicks off with the murder of two Supreme Court justices, a crime the young and eager law student played by Roberts manages to solve when even the FBI cannot. The movie continues with tons of action and murders as those behind the plot attempt to bury the truth and in turn, the woman who found it. The movie gets kind of repetitive after a while, but it’s definitely fun for mystery lovers who like to slowly put the pieces together. What I love about this movie is that Robert’s character actually attends Tulane Law School, whereas the other movies on this list use the names of other or fictional universities. Though not much is filmed on campus besides in the classroom pictured above, our school’s name is repeatedly featured, which only makes me like the movie more. Additionally, there are some great scenes downtown in the French Quarter of lively celebrations (which make me nostalgic for pre-COVID times) and high stakes chase scenes through the crowds on Bourbon where Roberts narrowly escapes with her life.
1. 22 Jump Street
My favorite movie filmed at Tulane is 22 Jump Street. While I find this movie, along with the first movie in the series, extremely hilarious, I have to admit that much of my love for it comes from the sheer amount filmed on Tulane. While the other movies on this list have maybe a handful of scenes on campus, the majority of this movie is filmed at Tulane. Similar to Miley’s undercover status in So Undercover, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play cops chasing down drug dealers through their undercover roles as college students. From scenes within actual Tulane dorms to car chases across McCalister, Tulane sees a lot of screen time in this iconic movie. It’s also (somewhat) the most accurate portrayal of Tulane, despite going by a different name, including the dorm life, academics, and partying, all of which (usually) thrive on our campus.
Upcoming: All My Life
If you were on campus last semester, you probably noticed the filming happening on the A-quad. With extras standing frozen in place and camera crews scattered under Stern, I was eager to find out what our campus would be featured in this time. Here’s the answer: a 2020 film called All My Life. The romantic film stars Jessica Rothe, who was also in Happy Death Day coincidentally shot at neighboring Loyola, and Harry Shum Jr. whom you might remember from his role as Mike Chang in Glee. The movie features a young couple falling in love and an unfortunate battle with cancer getting in the way. While I have no idea if the ending will be optimistic or heartbreaking, I will admit the overall film is a bit too cheesy for my taste. However, I will probably watch it just to catch a peak of Tulane or maybe even a glimpse of someone I know accidentally in the background!
Feature Image Credit: Nola.com