Old School (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Todd Phillips|
|Produced by||Daniel Goldberg
|Screenplay by||Todd Phillips
|Story by||Court Crandall
|Music by||Theodore Shapiro|
|Editing by||Michael Jablow|
|Studio||The Montecito Picture Company|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures|
|Running time||91 minutes
92 minutes (Unrated)
Old School is a 2003 American comedy film released by DreamWorks Pictures and The Montecito Picture Company and directed by Todd Phillips. The story was written by Court Crandall, and the film was written by Phillips and Scot Armstrong. The film stars Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell as three depressed thirty-somethings who seek to re-live their college days by starting a fraternity, and the tribulations they encounter in doing so.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (December 2012)|
Attorney Mitch Martin (Luke Wilson) comes back from a business trip early and is shocked to find out that Heidi (Juliette Lewis), his girlfriend, takes part in orgies. Mitch breaks up with her. He encounters his high school crush, Nicole (Ellen Pompeo), at his friend Frank’s (Will Ferrell) wedding party. He is drunk and does not make a good impression, accidentally spilling hot coffee on her and then trying to clean it up off of her dress. After breaking up with his girlfriend, Mitch goes house-hunting. He finds a house located near the campus of the fictional Harrison University in New York State.
Mitch’s other friend Bernard (Vince Vaughn), who owns a chain of electronic stores named "Speaker City", throws a party at Mitch's house and hires Snoop Dogg to play so Mitch can get his mind off his ex-girlfriend. The party, dubbed "Mitch-A-Palooza," is a huge success and puts Mitch and his friends at the top of the college social circuit, causing the former college friends to revert to their frat-boy days. Frank, who had a reputation as the heavy drinking, hard partying "Frank the Tank" back in college, has his wife under the impression that he's matured and left that part of his life behind. However, he gets drunk at the party and goes streaking through the neighborhood and is found by his new wife and her friends, putting a strain on their marriage.
The next morning, Mitch wakes up with Darcie (Elisha Cuthbert), a young woman whom Mitch met the previous night, and at first he is a bit concerned but she assures him it was simply casual sex. In the aftermath of the party, the trio meet Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven). The Dean is a childhood acquaintance of the three men, but since he was the butt of most of their pranks, his actions throughout the film are rooted in vindictiveness. Pritchard happily informs them that the house is specifically designated for social services and community housing. Therefore, Mitch, Frank, and Bernard must either move out or meet the Dean's criteria in order to keep Mitch's house. For this reason, it is Bernard's idea to start a fraternity that is open to anyone. Although Mitch is initially reluctant to accept the notion of turning his house into a fraternity, he is essentially obliged to agree with the idea. Mitch gets dubbed "the Godfather". He still tries to keep his work life and fraternity life apart. Regardless, he is approached by countless people even at work who want to become members of his fraternity. The fraternity is an outlet for the stress and boredom that is associated with the monotonous nine-to-five lifestyle for many members. Mitch, while in a meeting with his boss, Mr. Goldberg, is visited by Darcie and awkwardly discovers she is his boss' daughter, who happens to be graduating from high school. This stuns Mitch, who awkwardly shakes her hand. To make matters more humiliating, word has already leaked out around the office about Mitch hooking up with Darcie at the party, which he denies ever happened in order to protect his reputation.
All does not go well, one of the fraternity members, an elderly man known only as "Blue" has a heart attack and collapses during his birthday celebration after seeing two ladies flashing their breasts. At Blue's funeral, Frank's wife declares that she wants a divorce, thereby forcing a heartbroken Frank to live with Mitch at the fraternity house. Mitch invites Nicole and her daughter to a birthday party for Bernard's son. However, she shows up with a date, Mark (Craig Kilborn). Mitch later accidentally catches Mark making out with one of the birthday hostesses in the bathroom but does not tell Nicole. Mark lies to Nicole by saying that he caught Mitch doing the deed. This, along with Mitch's secretiveness regarding the fraternity, strains his relationship with Nicole, especially after asking her out for coffee and having the chef refuse his money and puts his meal on the house in order to show his support for the fraternity. Nicole becomes even more suspicious when the cook calls him "The Godfather" and to make things even more worse for Mitch, Darcie and her friend walk by and say hello to him, making Nicole think that Mark was right and that Mitch is a pervert after they reveal they have to go to a prom committee meeting for their high school, leaving Nicole to walk away disgusted. The main obstacle is still Dean Pritchard, and when he claims the group violated an assortment of university policies, the fraternity house is boarded up. He also claims that the students who participated in the non-sanctioned fraternity are subject to expulsion. Nonetheless, Mitch finds out that the group has the right to bypass this legality by completing a series of activities that range from academics and athletics to community service, debate and school spirit. The men are able to complete all of the activities successfully but since the deceased member of the fraternity (Blue) was still on their roster, the group’s averages were brought down from 84% to 58%. Consequently, Dean Pritchard tells them the university’s decision stands.
The Student Council President, Megan Huang, was earlier bribed by the Dean to revoke the fraternity's charter. Frank chases the Dean and after a violent altercation, is able to obtain a tape that Megan secretly recorded and it reveals the Dean bribing her with admission to Columbia Law School (a promise the Dean happily broke when she confronted him after the school rejected her) since she is head of the student board that approved of the fraternity's campus status. Accordingly, the Dean’s credibility is destroyed. The front of the newspaper the next day claims that the Dean was fired after a bribery scandal. The fraternity’s charter is reinstated and the fraternity moves out of their old house and into Dean Pritchard’s (much bigger) house. Nicole visits Mitch at the old fraternity house to mend their relationship after she discovered Mark cheating, and it is implied that they get together. Despite Bernard and Mitch withdrawing from the fraternity, Frank maintains his ties and persists with his leadership in the organization.
Over the closing credits, Mark accidentally drives his car off of a bridge and, by coincidence, onto ex-Dean Pritchard who was fishing below, prompting the car to explode and killing them both. As the smoke from the wreckage rises into the air, Blue is in heaven playing a piano and singing "Dust in the Wind". Next, Frank is shown at the college radio station 88.6 playing a song and dedicating it to the "Godfather" (Mitch) by thanking him for saving his life. Later at the supermarket, Frank is approached by Heidi, inviting him to join her and some other friends the next night. Frank becomes euphoric and punches several boxes of supermarket cereal before kicking a random stranger's cart. Bernard now coaches his son's soccer team.
- Luke Wilson as Mitch "The Godfather" Martin
- Will Ferrell as Frank "The Tank" Ricard
- Vince Vaughn as Bernard "Beanie" Campbell
- Jeremy Piven as Dean Gordon "Cheese" Pritchard
- Ellen Pompeo as Nicole
- Juliette Lewis as Heidi
- Leah Remini as Lara Campbell
- Perrey Reeves as Marissa Jones
- Craig Kilborn as Mark
- Sara Tanaka as Megan Huang
- Simon Helberg as Jerry
- Seann William Scott as Peppers
- Elisha Cuthbert as Darcie Goldberg
- Patrick Cranshaw as Joseph "Blue" Pulasky
- Rick Gonzalez as Spanish
- Jerod Mixon as Weensie
- Matt Walsh as Walsh
- Artie Lange as Booker
- Robert Corddry as Warren
- Todd Phillips as Gang Bang Member
- Bryan Callen as Avi, the Waiter
- Harve Presnell as Mr. Springbrook
- Snoop Dogg as himself
- James Carville as himself
- Warren G as himself
- Abdul Goznobi as Abdul
- Terry O'Quinn (uncredited) as Goldberg
- Andy Dick (uncredited) as Barry, Oral Sex Instructor
|This section requires expansion. (September 2008)|
The film is set in La Crescenta, California. Filming locations included Palisades High School, UCLA, USC and Harvard University. The film is considered a forerunner to the Frat Pack since three of its stars are core members of that group.
The film received mixed to positive reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 60% of critics gave the film a positive review based on a sample of 160 reviews, with an average score of 5.6/10; the consensus stated "While not consistently funny, the movie does have its moments." At the website Metacritic, which utilizes a normalized rating system, the film earned a rating of 54/100 based on 32 reviews by mainstream critics.
The film grossed $17,453,216 in 2,689 theaters in its first opening weekend at the U.S. Box office, opening at #2 behind Daredevil which was on its second week at the top spot. Old School has had gross receipts of $75,585,093 in the U.S. and Canada and $11,470,256 in international markets for a total of $87,055,349 worldwide.
- In 2003, Artios Awards nominated Old School for best casting for feature film.
- In 2003, The MTV Movie Award Nominated Old School for Best Comedic Performance (for Will Ferrell, losing to Jack Black for School of Rock) and Best On-Screen Team.
- In 2004, Taurus Award nominated Old School for Best Fire Stunt.
- in 2012, Spike Guys' Choice Awards Guy Movie Hall of Fame: Old School
|This section requires expansion. (August 2009)|
At the Mitch-a-palooza party, Snoop Dogg and Kokane perform "Paper'd Up", sampling Eric B & Rakim's track "Paid in Full". The soundtrack also included "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas, "Hungry Like the Wolf", "Farmer in the Dell", "Gonna Make You Sweat", "Louie Louie", "Chariots of Fire", "Good Lovin' Gone Bad", "Master of Puppets" by Metallica, "Playground in My Mind" by Clint Holmes and "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel. The main song in this movie is "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake, which is played when Will Ferrell's character is fixing his car and in the closing credits. Also, The Dan Band sings one of the famous songs of Bonnie Tyler, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (with some interesting improvisational departures as to the cover's lyrics), and Styx's "Lady". During the introductory sequence Ryan Adams' "To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)", co-written with David Rawlings, can be heard. Most memorably during the metal detector scene.
In 2006, a sequel to Old School was written by Scot Armstrong but was turned down by original stars, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn. The story concerned the aging fraternity going to Spring Break. While promoting Semi-Pro in 2008, Ferrell had this to say about the defunct project: “I read [the script]. Some super funny set pieces, but I don’t know. I think Vince [Vaughn] had the same reaction. We’re just kind of doing the same thing again. It was like us going to Spring Break, but we’ve got to find this guy who’s the head of a fraternity. Once again, funny things but it’s just us once again back in a fraternity setting. It just felt like it was repeating. But watch, I’m over-thinking it.”
- Travers, Peter. "Old School (film)". Rolling Stone 6/26/2003: 92-92
- "Old School (2003) - Filming locations". IMDb. Retrieved June 1, 2009.[dead link]
- "Old School (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
- "Old School". MetaCritic. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
- "Old School". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
- Old School, The  Soundtrack Splat.TV
- Will Ferrell Talks Land of the Lost, Old School 2, Elf 2 and A Confederacy of Dunces
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- Old School at the Internet Movie Database
- Old School at Box Office Mojo
- Old School at Rotten Tomatoes
- Old School at Metacritic