Yeah college. We’re gonna change the world and discover ourselves at the same time. We’re gonna party till the cops come and break it up and also chain ourselves to a building/tree/monument/other and fight for its existence until cops come and break it up. Let’s see, what else do we do in college. Oh, we’re all gonna become neo-Nazis and threaten our fellow colligates at gun point. What, you guys never did that? Well I guess I had a bit of a different college experience than you. Or I could just be remembering that last part from Higher Learning. Either way college is pretty wild huh?
So this is the story about some college freshmen and how their lives change. We have the jock played by Omar Epps (The Program), the well-to-do white girl played by Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the small town guy that tries to fit in played by Michael Rapaport (Deep Blue Sea) and the super senior played by Ice Cube (Ghosts of Mars). Now these are all cookie cutter characters but probably the most stereotypical person in this is the college professor played by Laurence Fishburne. He’s got the beard, the pipe, the glasses, the accent, the bowtie and everything. He teaches a political science class and he tries to get the students to think outside the box. He doesn’t want his students to waste his time. He tries to get them to come up with something of their own opinion.
The professor is just one of the many reasons that made this such an enjoyable film. It’s like they made College: The Movie. Just about anything that you can think of that happens in college they put in this thing. All of the freshmen are excited at first but soon feel lost and aren’t sure who they are or what they want. Their lives get thrown into a blender and what comes out is a mix of ideas and personalities.
I guess you could call Omar Epps the main character and he’s at Columbus University (not an actual college located in California by the way) on a partial scholarship because he runs for the track team. He’s a hotshot high school superstar runner so he thinks he’s the coolest motherfucker you’ve ever seen. Don’t worry though he gets his slice of humble pie soon enough and by the end it’s force fed to him with a gun. He wants to get along with everyone but Michael Rapaport becomes a neo-Nazi and now Epps only wants to associate with his own race.
Kristy Swanson’s shtick is that she’s confused about her sexuality. She’s not sure if she’s in love with Jennifer Connelly and after being raped by some scumbag she’s become a little turned off on men. She also has a problem thinking for herself and is instructed by professor Fishburne to come up with her own idea for a term paper. Swanson needs to come to her own conclusions not only for this essay that she has to write but also if she wants to reject what she’s been told all her life about men and women being together.
Ice Cube is the wise old sage in all of this and is by far the best character. He does whatever he wants to like play music as loud as he wants and throw a party as late as he wants. Cube is also a philosopher and looks at everything as a plot or device used against black people. He also has a problem with authority and when campus security asks to see his ID Cube refuses and asks for their ID instead. Even though he may appear to be a thug and not care about his education we find out that he really has a heart of gold and takes it upon himself to learn what he thinks is important. For instance he’s read Frederick Douglass’ autobiography and when Epps wants to borrow it for a class Cube scolds him saying that he should read the book because he wants to read it, not because he has to for some course.
This is John Singleton’s (Boyz n the Hood) third film and the perfect setup for his usual commentary on race. It’s great to see all of these characters (as typical and somewhat bland as they may be) interact with each other. Everyone’s college experience is different so it’s funny to see them all happen at the same time. What’s even better is that with all of the changes and emotions that these characters go through it feels like the movie should span at least the first year of college but it all happens during the first semester.
I really liked this one and think it might be the best “college experience” film that I’ve seen so far. This is mostly due to Busta Rhymes being in this though.
And I have to say that this trailer is amazing. I mean the movie's cool 'n all but whoever put this thing together is a genius.