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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Oct 8: The Faculty


Oct 8: The Faculty

"Students suspect that their teachers are aliens after bizarre occurrences."
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez, Rated: R, 104 minutes

Robert Rodriquez is one of my favorite directors working today. The stuff he churns out continues to be awesome (amid the Spy Kids and Shark Boys). However, he's one of those guys whose career you can look back upon and really love the hell out of it. From Desperado, to From Dusk Til Dawn, he started off with a bang. The Faculty, his follow-up to Dawn, is just as impressive, bringing the gore and guts we're familiar with as well as his usual humor and style. And while he didn't write the script, like most of his movies, The Faculty still feels like a genuine Rodriguez movie. And it is glorious.

Joss Whedon gets all the credit for making movies FOR fanboys, but Mr. Rodriguez here deserves the same amount of recognition. 

The Faculty tells the story about a bunch of kids who believe their high school teachers are aliens hiding in the bodies of school's staff. Elijah Wood plays Casey, a nerdy photographer who's the first to discover that something is wrong. As all horror movies go, no one believes him. So, he recruits the help of his fellow classmates (most of whom look down on him) to discover the secret behind what's happening. Throw in a massive cast that includes the likes of Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, Salma Hayek, Famke Jensen, Bebe Neuwirth, Robert Patrick, and even Usher AND Jon Stewart, and The Faculty is simply too much fun to pass up. 

The Daily Show clearly saved Stewart from a career of this. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it was for the better or worse. 

While the film has its weaknesses (it falls prey to a script riddled with cliches) it still manages to poke fun at the fact, being more aware of its problem than anything else. It's a really genius idea, as the target demographic of the film (teenagers) would end up going back to school questioning their teachers and the setting is something we can all relate to. The dialogue shared between the characters is also rather realistic, but still suffers from the fact that nearly everyone playing a high school kid is played by a twenty something. The script also is full of references to tons of film favorites, from The Terminator franchise to Alien. But, it's in the suspense and effects that The Faculty shines. There are moments that pull you to the edge of your seat, making you worried about the characters, even if you don't care about them as much as you should. And of course, the acting is just good enough to get by, with each actor or actress having a blast with the film, knowing full well how campy and glorious it all really is. 

I'd pay a lot of money to see The Flying Spaghetti Monster emerging from the mouth of a T-1000. 

The Faculty is a great movie for Halloween, or even any occasion  It's part invasion flick, part zombie movie and it blends in a bit of the self-aware narration that made the horror movies of the 90s so good. It's not a classic by any means, but the idea is great, the execution is fun, and seeing all of the people in the movie together, well before their stardom, makes you appreciate it even more. The film also has an underlying sexuality to it that tailors to the hormones of horror fans, teasing you just enough to stay even more interested. It's also worth mentioning that the film is rated R, which elevates ANY horror movie into something great, even if it's terrible. The Faculty is on Netflix. Go and watch it. Or you can be lame and actually do your homework... but alien faculty sounds so much more fun. 

The Good:
clever script that has a lot of humor, a good amount of suspense, and a dash of sexy
The Better:
pretty good special effects for the small kind of movie it is and seeing what Rodriguez can make out of something that could have easily been dismissed
The Best:
the cast is so full of people you'll recognize and the bringing together of all these faces is just so cool

Overall: 7.7/10


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At October 8, 2012 at 11:29 PM , Blogger Mavi@filmscope said...

I am surprised that this holds up.. enjoyed it as a teenager in the 90's but would be reluctant to visit it again.

At October 9, 2012 at 12:34 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I'd rewatch it and give it a chance again. It's really, really fun.

At October 9, 2012 at 6:13 PM , Blogger Sati. said...

I really liked the movie - it wasn't as awesome as From Dusk Till Dawn but it was pretty entertaining. Loved the stunning blonde girl, especially near the end in the scene in the pool ( ;) ) - too bad she didn't have bigger career.

At October 9, 2012 at 6:58 PM , Blogger Nick said...

She's popped up in a lot. Dead Like Me and 24 had her starring in pretty substantial roles. But yes, I agree.

At October 17, 2012 at 10:41 AM , Blogger Jess said...

Yes! I forgive your Candyman review for this! We found a drinking game to do with this movie and it was pretty awesome. Such a fun movie and great cast.

At October 17, 2012 at 10:44 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Woo! I'm redeemed! And yes, the movie is so much fun. Don't understand how it doesn't have a bigger love-fest-following.

At October 19, 2012 at 4:40 PM , Anonymous Daniel Prinn said...

I remember my first time watching it, it really is a fun experience. I'd like to give it another watch.

At October 19, 2012 at 5:55 PM , Blogger Nick said...

It's definitely worth re-visiting.


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