- All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": About the only two scenes that people tend to remember about this movie (assuming they remember anything about it) are Kristen and Taryn kissing on top of Taryn's bed and Remy crouched on the roof of a campus building clutching a sniper rifle (because the scene was parodied in Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood).
- Anvilicious: During the "Take Back the Night" rally, a woman in the crowd holds a sign that reads "Rape is A Crime".
- Cry for the Devil: "I wanted to build things! I wanted to be an engineer!"
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The one character that isn't a jackass fed up with everything bad going on or looking for solutions in the absolute worst places is the Wide-Eyed Idealist girl that gets shot by Remy at the climax. And Malik, The Hero, runs away and drops out of college. So, yeah.
- Ethnic Scrappy: Dr. Phipps is treated this way in-story (when some of the students mock his accent).
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: When the going gets tough, what do you do? Run away and drop out of college like Malik does at the end of the film.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Remy's rampage can remind modern audiences of the Columbine shootings.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Laurence Fishburne's first line is "Welcome to the real world."
- Misaimed Fandom:
- Some white viewers tentatively identify with Remy, arguing that his homicidal rampage in the climax was only an accounting for what had been done to him. They forget that 1) Fudge and his goons, for all their negative traits, are not bloodthirsty zealots; and 2) the two people actually shot to death by Remy are innocents who never tormented him and barely even knew him.
- In an even more bizarre case, the actor who played the character has had to deal with black viewers telling him how much they identify and sympathize with the character.
"What is high? What is high-er? What is learn? What is learn-ing? What is higher learning?"
- The montage alternating between Kristen and Remy decorating their dorm rooms (to two radically different styles of music) is slightly wacky.
- That bizarre, pseudo-British accent the leader of the neo-Nazis uses.
- Remy's Mental Breakdown and attempts to escape from the campus police.
- The Higher Learning poem, delivered in full Beatnik fashion.
- Nightmare Fuel: Deja is shot in the stomach by Remy and suffers an agonizing death, vomiting up blood.
- Kristen's rape. Despite not being particularly violent or graphic, it's so realistic and identical to what has played out in countless college dormitories that probably triggered some horrible memories for a lot of people.
- Strawman Has a Point: John Singleton wants us to see Remy's behavior later on in the film as irrational and merely acting out. But when you take into consideration how Fudge's gang, including Malik, treat him, is there any wonder he went nuts?
- It happens to Scott, Remy's nazi friend who urges him to stay in school. Scott does it for the wrong reasons (he thinks college learning for whites would help them go on as the master race), but still there's no denying the value of education.
- Tough Act to Follow: Compare the high praise, reliability, and the reputation Boyz n the Hood or even Poetic Justice has to this film and it's stark. Compared to how both predecessors also handled the messages much more subtly compared to Higher Learning basically being more face on about it's messages (especially with the ending literally spelling out "UNLEARN"), it's hard to see why some remember the former two than High Learning.
- Truffaut Was Right: It's obvious that Singleton wants us to see the Nazi characters as evil and cruel, even to the point of having ominous music play whenever they appear. But he did a little too good a job of demonization, making every skinhead character so stupid, delusional, cowardly, or pathetic that many viewers wound up sympathizing with them anyway. This reached Epic Fail dimensions when the actor who played Remy reported hearing black moviegoers saying they identified with his character!
YMMV / Higher Learning