Thursday, May 5, 2011

We don't need no education

The Faculty
 Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Clea Duvall, Jordana Brewster, Robert Patrick
Released: December 25, 1998
Viewed in theaters: January 6, 1999

This teen high school set movie is a little different from the five past teen movies I've reviewed because it's also a horror/sci-fi movie that just happens to be set in a high school with teens as main characters. Of course the title implies that the faculty of this high school in Ohio is also very relevant to the plot. An impressive array of well-known names make up the school's faculty: Robert Patrick is the football coach, Bebe Neuwirth is the principal, Famke Janssen is the English teacher, Piper Laurie is the drama teacher, Jon Stewart is the science teacher, and Salma Hayek is the school nurse.

The faculty of "The Faculty"
Something strange has happened to the teachers and most of the students at the school. They're acting unusual and the only students who haven't seemed to be affected by it are geeky newspaper writer Casey (Elijah Wood), gothic outcast Stokely (Clea Duvall), vain cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster), captain of the football team Stan (Shawn Hatosy), Marybeth, the new girl (Laura Harris), and Zeke (Josh Hartnett) the cool loner kid who sells drugs and other contraband from the trunk of his car. All these characters are important to the story in one way or another, but it's Wood and Hartnett who are the lead characters.

When Casey finds some unusual slug-like creature on the football field they discover that it can multiply it's somehow infesting itself in the bodies of the faculty and students that brainwashes them into infesting even more people until world domination by this species is inevitable. You know, just another typical day at high school!

They find out that the aliens are susceptible to Zeke's homemade scat so the only way one can prove they're not an alien is to snort the drug. I won't spoil anything, but let's just say they find out that one of them isn't exactly who they say they are.

They figure the only way to stop the whole thing is to kill the queen and once they get her, then everyone will turn back to normal. Their first thought is that it must be their principal, so they head back to the school where everybody in town is there for a Friday night football game.

Now I had no idea who the queen was when I first watched this, but after seeing it a few more times, it just seems so obvious because they do give you clues about who it is. I even caught a new clue when this person says something to another character that indicates that they are, in fact, really an alien and not a human.

This movie has its flaws, but it is a lot of fun. It's not supposed to be taken seriously and it knows that. The only thing I hate is the ending. It always irritates me that Zeke is now a football player (it just goes against his character) and while I'm glad Stokely scrubbed all that crap off her face, it's as though she went from shopping at Hot Topic to the Gap. She has a boyfriend now, and all of a sudden she has to wear pastel colors? WTF? But the change that irks me the most was Casey. He went from the endearing nerd to the smug douche bag that you want to punch in the face! He was the one who defeated the queen alien and became famous because of it and apparently got a big head. Ironically, the one character that would benefit from a change the most was the one who didn't change at all: Delilah. She started the movie as a conceited bitch and ended the movie as a conceited bitch. I love the movie, but the ending! URGH! Always pisses me off!

Is there a party scene? No...unless you count them getting high as a party scene...but I wouldn't. 
Is there a prom scene? No
Is there a football scene? Yes and they have fireworks! Fireworks! At a small Ohio town high school! 
Is there a make over scene? No, unless you count the makeover of Casey becoming a douche and Stokely's wardrobe 180.
Is there a scene where all the different high school cliques are being shown? Each character represents a different clique, so yes.
Was this movie spoofed in Not Another Teen Movie? IMDb says it is, but I can't remember which scene(s) is/are spoofed.

Do I own the soundtrack/favorite song - Yes, my favorite songs include the cover of "Another Brick in the Wall" (which I didn't know was a cover at the time because I'm an idiot), "The Kids Are Alright" by the Offspring, and "Stay Young" by Oasis. All the songs are pretty good, actually.

Darkest scene - Oh, where do I even begin? I could choose the the scene when the coach impales the principal's hand with a pencil or when she's stabbed with a pair of scissors multiple times by another teacher or when she's shot in the head by Zeke (man,  that principal sure got a lot of abuse!) Hmm, I'll have to go with her getting shot in the head only because when they kill her they're not sure if she was really an alien and may have just committed murder...but of course she was an alien. Whew! 

Favorite line - Kevin Williamson wrote the script so there's plenty of good one liners to choose from including Robert Patrick's campy "Please report to the principal's office" line, but I always laugh when Delilah says, "Casey, when did you become Sigourney Weaver?"

Favorite character - Zeke. Zeke is just the epitome of cool. Pre-ending Casey is a close second.

Favorite scene - Football scene is cool with the fireworks and "Not Another Brick in the Wall" playing. I also like the scene when they're in Zeke's basement and have to prove to one another they haven't turned into aliens.

Hey, it's the '90s! -  Tommy Hilfigure wardrobe, reference to Independence Day,  students shooting their teachers (well, there was a lot of that when I was in high school!), nobody has a cell phone.

Another reason why the class of '99 is the most awesome class of all time:

1. Many teen/high school movies came out in 1999.
2. The song  that told people to "party like it's 1999."
3.  Buffy Summers is an alum from the class of '99.
4. Bella Swan is not a graduate from the class of '99.
5. "You Get What You Give" by the New Radicals was released when the class of '99 were seniors.
6. The ultimate graduation song, the aptly-named "Graduation Song" by Vitamin C may have been released in time for the class of 2000, but it was recorded and probably written in 1999, so I like to think that she got inspiration from the class of '99 for that song :-) You know, because we are so, so, so awesome.

1 comment: