Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Accepted, the first MoneyLaw cult classic movie?

AcceptedI just finished watching Accepted, a movie about Bartleby Gaines, a high school senior who gets rejected from every university to which he applies. Bartleby decides to create a fake university to appease his disappointed parents. (That's not the MoneyLaw part of it.)

Instead of creating a typical university (a typical fake university?), Bartleby creates a place where the students design their own curricula based on their interests. He calls the university the South Harmon Institute of Technology, in part to distinguish it from (the accredited) Harmon University. Bartleby uses an abandoned mental hospital as the site, borrows his best friend's uncle (a disgruntled former academic, played by Lewis Black) to play South Harmon's dean (OK, it's not that accurate--no mention of presidents), and engages his friends in various administrative tasks.

Harmon University is headed by Dean Van Horne. (In a nice twist, Anthony Heald, the shrink in The Silence of the Lambs, plays Van Horne.) Van Horne explains the ratings game:
Dean Van Horne: Rejection.
That's what makes a college great. The exclusivity of any university is
judged primarily by the amount of students it rejects.
Van Horne wants to buy property near Harmon in order to put up a grand entrance, which he wants to name after himself. Of course, South Harmon is on one of those properties. We know that Bartleby is going to get caught, that he's going to have to find a way to avoid prison, and that eventually things will turn out fine.

The MoneyLaw part of the movie involves, among other things, the scene with Ohio's accreditation board. Bartleby contrasts the learning that goes on at Harmon (with its 100 years of tradition and boring classes) with the learning that goes on at South Harmon (with its student-directed initiatives).

This isn't a perfect movie (unlike Dodgeball, Galaxy Quest, and Office Space). I don't believe that students know best about what they should study. I do, however, believe that students should see that learning is exciting and self-driven. Overall, a nice flick to associate with MoneyLaw.

For you movie lovers, Accepted stars Justin Long, of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story ("If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball") and Galaxy Quest ("Never give up, never surrender") fame. And, in case anyone's keeping track, Justin Long has a Bacon Number of 3: from Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball to Vincent D'Onofrio in The Break-Up to Kevin Bacon in JFK. You can't get much more MoneyLaw than that.


Anonymous Colin said...

Of course, Justin Long himself was in "The Break-Up," as Jennifer Aniston's co-worker.

1/30/2007 3:14 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

"...the amount of students it rejects." Number! Not a mass noun!

2/06/2007 2:53 PM  

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