Back in the early ’90s, there was a unique two-year period when Brendan Fraser starred as a college student in two different school-themed movies. The latter of the two films, 1994’s “With Honors,” sees Fraser play Monty Kessler, an ambitious government major at Harvard, who writes a thesis that criticizes people who are on public assistance in the hopes it will impress his uptight professor and allow him to graduate “with honors.”
Ironically, his only copy of the thesis paper inadvertently lands in the hands of a witty homeless man, Simon (Joe Pesci), who offers to give Monty one page back per day if he helps house him. The two eventually bond as Simon helps teach Monty a thing or two about empathy, the failures of the system, and how to be less of a bozo.
Consider “With Honors” a lesser-known pre-cursor to “Good Will Hunting.” Fraser is good as usual in it, and, as a bonus, ’90s mainstays Patrick Dempsey and Moira Kelly star as Monty’s roommates. However, Pesci’s performance as the witty and world-wise self-proclaimed “bum” is worth tuning in for alone.