on February 22, 2003
I just saw this movie about three hours ago, and I have to say it is the best movie I've seen in the theater in a long, long time. The starring cast is unbelievable, as Luke Wilson (from 'The Royal Tenenbaums' and 'Legally Blonde'), Will Ferrell (SNL funnyman/'A Night At The Roxbury' star), and Vince Vaughn (from both 'Made' and 'Swingers') star as three married buddies who begin a fraternity; or something like it. And along with the three stars, there's a great list of supporting roles and cameos. Including Sean William Scott (Stifler of 'American Pie'), Andy Dick, CBS Late Late Show's Craig Kilborn, and Jeremy Piven. And once you get past the long cast list, you have a very funny movie. As the movie starts, you get a glimpse of each of the three stars and their lives; as far as their marriages go. Then as it turns out, none of them are really happy.
And as Mitch (Luke Wilson) gets divorced and moves into a frathouse near a college, they decide to start a fraternity. But it's not like any old club on campus--for this one you don't even have to go to the college. Anyway, as the film roles on, you can imagine what (and if you saw the previews, you get the gist of it) they do. They drink, party, and slowly drift away from the lives they have with their wives. And I have to say, out of the three star performances, Vince Vaughn's was the best. Will Ferrell's certainly is the funniest, but Vince was great. He sort of carries in the same swagger-style he had in the riotous movie 'Made'; something that works very well for him. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that the previews don't even begin to prepare you. It's definitely not one of those movies that is only funny in the previews. The laughs portrayed there are multiplied by 100, at least.
For those of you who saw 'Road Trip' you'll not be let down with 'Old School'. And being that it's from the same director (Todd Phillips), that makes sense. But this one is better. Much better. This time around the director takes it to a whole new level. And the characters are more well-rounded here than they were in 'Road Trip'. The slogan of the movie says it all: "All the fun of college. None of the education." I think that speaks for itself.
So I could leave you here saying that if you liked 'Road Trip' you will like 'Old School'; and that's it. But that's not true. This is not just a "teen cult" movie--or whatever they're calling it these days--it's much much more than that. It's a hilarious movie with an astonishing/almost too hilarious cast that will keep you laughing even through the closing credits (courtesy of Ferrell and Vince). And it's not every day I put an exclamation point on my review titles, much less two. I gave the movie 5 stars because that's what it deserves. It's a 5 star movie, there's not getting around it. And again, if you saw the previews and you laughed (or even thought about laughing) then you need to see this movie. There's so many great lines and so many awesome scenes that I couldn't even begin to list them; I wouldn't know where to start. Go see this movie.
on June 11, 2003
This movie is hilarious, and I would give the movie itself 4 our of 5 stars. But there is hardly any difference between the unrated cut and the R rated cut of the movie. When you have topless women on the menu and on the back of the cover, one might be mislead to think there was tons more nudity, when in reality there are 2 brief scenes with any type of nudity (besides will ferrel's butt scene). This movie could have easily passed the R rating cut, as the unrated thing is nothign but a marketing ploy. I bought the movie for laughs and definately not for sex, but for someone who does, the "UNRATED AND OUT OF CONTROL" part is quite misleading.
"Old School" brings back the fun and irreverence of the days of "Animal House" that so few movies seem willing to revisit. Comedy these days seems built around 'paint-by-numbers' formulas or 'let's see how much we can gross people out' shock characteristics. Current releases like "Boat Trip" and "Bringing Down the House" fall in the former category while any movie involving Tom Green or the Farrelly Brothers falls into the latter category. In "Old School", it's refreshing to see a movie that takes a 'devil may care' attitude with its plot and characters while also have the common sense to push the envelope where appropriate without ever crossing the line (following "Animal House's" lead).
In "Old School", Mitch (played by Luke Wilson) is depressed after a breakup with his longtime girlfriend. He moves into a new house near the local college campus and his two best friends, Beanie (Vince Vaughn) and Frank 'the Tank' (Will Ferrell) decide to cheer him up by using his new house to throw a wild 'freedom' party. In a party complete with nubile co-eds, binge drinking, and a performance by Snoop Dogg, the party becomes legendary and draws the ire of the college dean, who just happens to be some nerd that Mitch, Beanie, and Frank tormented in high school. He attempts to take the house from Mitch by claiming it can only be used for campus-related events. This sparks Beanie's imagination to create the most unorthodox fraternity in existence to circumvent the dean's ruling. From there, "Old School" engages in the type of 'us against the administration' hi-jinx that made "Animal House" such a riot.
Will Ferrell gives a performance worthy of John Belushi with his Bluto-esque take as Frank the Tank, whose relapse back into his college days fractures his brand new marriage. Yet, it doesn't seem to affect Frank too too much. Ferrell, as witnessed by his years on Saturday Night Live, is one of the more gifted physical comedians performing today. He has the lunacy of a Jim Carrey without any of the pretentiousness or self-importance that seems to plague Carrey. Vince Vaughn gives another winning performance as a typical, sleazy salesman type who remains just enough on the side of respectability that you still like the guy. It's classic Vaughn. Luke Wilson's performance isn't quite as memorable, but his lovable-loser demeanor fits the role of Mitch perfectly. There are a number of other supporting characters that, while barely more than one-dimensional, make this film a winner (Blue, the 80-year fraternity pledge is a personal favorite).
With world events becoming more somber and depressing and with movies becoming increasingly disappointing, it's quite a relief a no-frills good time can be had at a theater. "Old School" lets the audience feel that kind of relief.
on February 23, 2003
I was expecting a good movie when I went to see "Old School," but I wasn't expecting something THIS good. This movie is, simply put, absolutely hilarious, and it's got lots of brains and heart to go with the goofball humor. I'm not really into lowbrow comedies, but "Old School" is a very intelligent take on the typical fratboy fare. The humor is goofy, but witty at the same time, and there are even some real emotions on display. The plot revolves around three thirtyish friends who start up a fraternity with some local college students, and it gets a nonstop stream of laughs out of the idea of guys trying to reclaim some of their lost youth. Will Ferrell is especially great as the loopy Frank, whether he's shooting himself with a tranquilizer dart at his friend's son's birthday party, setting himself on fire trying to jump through a hoop, or belting out an unforgettable rendition of Kansas's "Dust in the Wind" at the funeral of an elderly pledge. The underrated Luke Wilson makes a perfect straight man as Mitch, and Vince Vaughn is the picture of intensity as Beanie. It's really too bad this movie doesn't seem to be getting much attention. I don't go to the movies much anymore, but this one was more than worth the trip.
on March 22, 2004
I know, I know, the plot for this film has been rehashed from "Animal House" and countless other college debauchery flicks, but so what? OLD SCHOOL is a hilarious romp of scintillating and titillating proportions, a 90-minute mad dash of sight gags, crude one-liners, and tongue-in-cheek zaniness. If college fraternities were really like this I never would have left academia (well, I did have my own "eight-year-plan," but that's another story).
Three thirtysomething buddies (Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell) decide to revitalize their lives by cranking up a college fraternity whose members are not required to be students at the local university. Of course, such a blasphemous act draws the ire of the college's administrators (insert "Animal House" plot here), and accordingly, the fledgling frat must do battle with the corrupt, unscrupulous establishment. Sure, this ground's been covered before in countless other movies, but OLD SCHOOL adds its own loony spin of mayhem--from concrete blocks tied to fragile appendages, to eye-opening mud wrestling.
While OLD SCHOOL's cast, from top to bottom, is excellent, Will Ferrell dominates this film (much like Dangerfield in "Caddyshack," or Belushi in "Animal House"). As Frank "the Tank" Ricard, a newlywed with a party animal mentality, Ferrell's over-the-top antics are bust-a-gut, roll-on-the-floor funny. Ferrell, whether he's streaking or performing a gymnastics floor exercise, carries this film like a fullback with a football.
If in fact we equate entertainment with escapism (which I do), OLD SCHOOL delightfully fits the bill. You'll forget the problems of the day with this puppy, and you'll have fun in the process.
on February 25, 2003
Walking into the theater, I honestly wasnt expecting much though I was looking forward to it. I thought I was about to see a predictable, episodic movie of stupid jokes and gross out gags. By the movie's end, I was thrilled I spent money on it. Not only were the jokes and situations funny but it was also acted well. Luke Wilson did a good job in a role that doesn't call for much, which is fine. It was easy for me to assume, even though I have aspirations for him, that Will Ferrell would recreate some whacky SNL character he has played before. However, he was not only hysterical but he played his character with sincerity and proved he can do much more than a random SNL character. Fast talking Vince Vaughn was terrific as usual, his lines delivered with sharp and accurate timing and all deadpan. His character, as well, was humanized and not a caricature or redundant character that a film of this kind could too easily churn out. Jeremy Piven gleefully waltzed through all his scenes as the antagonist dean with ease while making the audience hate him but be able to laugh at the same time as opposed to way too many comedic "villians." Ellen Pompeo adds just the right femininity to an otherwise mostly male oriented film to not oversaturate it and make her love interest into an obligation by the end of the film.
Very funny, very worth it. Not a masterpiece but much better than many of the other comedies that would seem to be similar but are only so on the surface.
on May 30, 2015
Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn are hilarious in this comedy thaf has turned into somewhat of a classic amongst some of the not so great movies that tried to copy it's formula . It's still a kick to watch even though I've sen it at least a dozen times. At less than $5.00 on Blu Ray I'd recommend picking this one up and adding it to your HD collection. Five stars for a great movie at a super value.
on August 8, 2009
"We're going streaking!" Will Ferrell's frantic yelling, Luke Wilson's quiet acceptance of his life, and Vince Vaughn's adamant holding-on to being a partying bachelor made Old School a comedy classic when it came out just a few short years a go. In the vein of Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds, the story focused on an unlikely group of guys on a college campus: grown up men who aren't even going to the school.
The story begins when Mitch (Wilson) loses his cheating girlfriend. His friends, Frank (Ferrell) and Beanie (Vaughn) hatch a plan to get career-oriented Mitch back into the social world; they rent him a house on-campus, and turn it into the most high-profile fraternity (complete with Snoop Dogg concert) around.
Compared to every other college-oriented comedy since the 80s, Old School was a breath of fresh air. The film finally seemed to realize that there's more to humor than gross-out jokes and physical humor, combining drama, likable characters, and memorable scenes all with the type of humor people have come to expect from a movie starring Will Ferrell. Putting the emphasis on a man in his 30s who's not even in college also is a fresh move, as it allows for exploring more than just getting good grades, or fitting in with peers. Thanks to Mitch's age and current status, Old School is not only a movie about the college frat life, but also about mid-life in general. What would a real 30-year-old man do if he found himself in Mitch's shoes, homeless with a new frat house, girl-less with dozens of sorority sisters throwing themselves at him, and friends trying their hardest to live like they were still young and not married? Most likely, they'd do exactly what Mitch does.
Old School may not be as funny as other films by its stars, but it's still a fantastic movie full of humor, memorable moments, quotable lines, and lovable characters. The trio of Vaughn, Ferrell, and Wilson offer some of their best performances here, and it's a treat to watch again and again.
Old School is one of those movies filmed for high-def transfer before it became a standard, so while the transfer is high-def, it's not quite at a level as other films since then. The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode looks, to my eye, almost identical to the HD DVD release Old School originally saw. Compared to the DVD, there's a better clarity to textures and more noticeable details, but nothing that will blow you away going, "Wow, this is the power of Blu-ray!"
For a comedy movie like Old School that has no huge catalog of action scenes or graphically impressive feats, the transfer is a solid one. It's much better looking than the DVD, but once again, nothing you'd want to show off your home theater set-up with.
Unlike the video, the audio in the Blu-ray release is an improvement over the HD DVD version as it offers TrueHD 5.1 surround. Unfortunately, the surround is very rarely noticed given it's a dialog-heavy movie that is, once again, light on the effects. Only during a few scenes (the first party; the competition at the end; the classic fight between Mitch, Frank and the Dean) is the surround actually noticeable without looking for it.
One area where the disc suffers is in the features department. With all of the DVD releases of Old School over the years, it looks like DreamWorks just didn't have anything new to bring to the plate. (And, to make matters worse, all features are in standard definition.) If you've already cleared the features on your DVD release(s) of the film, you'll find nothing new to take your time here. What is here is still entertaining, but it looks like they're officially dried up.
For those who don't own one of the DVD releases, Old School on Blu-ray contains an audio commentary featuring Vaughn, Ferrell, and Wilson (along with director Todd Phillips). The commentary isn't something for film students, as most of the stars' time is spent riffing on one another than discussing the film, but if you're a fan of MST3K or any of the three actors involved, chances are you'll like it.
The other features are a little more entertaining for all audiences. First, there's the obvious deleted and extended scenes collection. With 8 scenes and 13 minutes of runtime, there are a few gems hidden on here. To go along with those, there's a 5 minute outtakes and blooper real. Oddly enough, compared to many it's rather lackluster. Perhaps the best (actually, it IS the best) feature on the disc is the Inside the Actor's Studio spoof with Will Ferrell reprising his SNL role of James Lipton. In it, "Lipton" interviews Vaughn, Ferrell, and Wilson about Old School. If you've ever seen Will's SNL skits with the overanalytic windbag that is Lipton, you'll love this.
In the end, whether or not you buy Old School on Blu-ray depends on several questions. Do you already own the movie on DVD? If you do, is it worth the price to upgrade to Blu-ray for HD picture? And if you don't, is HD picture and audio important enough to you that you'll spend $20 instead of picking up a used/new copy of the DVD for under $10? If you don't mind spending the extra cash, Old School is a great movie and the Blu-ray transfer is a very serviceable one. For most people, though, a film of this type with no new Blu-ray extras to speak of will likely be good enough on DVD with upscaled presentation.
Overall Score: 3/5
on November 20, 2003
A Hilarious masterpiece from director Todd Phillips. Staring Will Ferrel as Frank "the tank", Luke Wilson as "Mitch", and Vince Vaughn as "Beanie". This instant colt classic represents the ultimate college comedy since "Animal House".
When Mitch catches the early flight home from Denver only to catch his girlfriend cheating on him inspires his good friends Frank and Beanie to through him a "kick off" party in Mitch's new campus house as a way of "releasing him out into the wild".
Due to regulations set forth by the Dean, Mitch is forced to turn his home into a faternity house, while recruiting fourteen new pledges. The Dean does everything in his will to get rid of this new fraternity.
The new fraternity is the new "hit" around school, so the boys decide to do everything possible to keep the fraternity. With scene after scene of hilarious footage, "Old School" will have you on the edge of your seat with non stop laughter.
Overall, I give "Old School" 2 thumbs up! It is the ultimate comedy for more then just a few laughs, and gets funnier each time you watch it.
on July 19, 2015
This one holds up pretty well, really cementing Will Ferrell as a big, awkward, lovable golden retriever who combines a heart of gold (or, at least, bronze) with highly questionable judgment. The spirit is willing but the overly exposed flesh is weak.Great chemistry among the three leads, as well as a lot of inspired supporting parts. There is little socially redeeming about the film, but it's full of hilarious one-liners and set pieces, and it actually speaks somewhat deeply to the real developmental conflict that aging, middle-class guys can feel as they are increasingly forced to choose between the rewards and stabilizing qualities of family life and responsible adulthood on the one hand and the persistent low rumblings of decadent, Freudian, adolescent energy on the other.