Thursday, September 15, 2016

Retro Review: PCU (1994)

Welcome to another installment of RETRO REVIEW where we take a look at films made before the year 2000.  Today we review the 1994 college comedy, PCU.  Enjoy!

I know that most people, when asked to name a quintessential college film, will go with the 1978 classic, Animal House, but as a kid who grew up during the 90's, PCU was one of those films that I watched constantly, and will still watch to this very day.  I saw this film years before I ever saw Animal House, and I will always consider this to be my absolute favorite college film of all time.

The film itself may look a little bit dated (it's a total 90's flick in every sense of the phrase), but the issues of political correctness that form the entire basis of the story still ring true more than 20 years later, possibly even more so than it did when the film was released.  PCU is such a simple, yet perfect, title too.  In the film, it stands for Port Chester University, but obviously has the double connotation of meaning Politically Correct University, as it deals with protesters and angry minority groups, spanning all the classic stereotypes -- womenists (which are different from feminists), rich socialites, stoners, blacks, nerds, gays, vegans -- you name it, it probably in there.

This is the first film in the short directing career of Hart Bochner, who went on to direct only two other films, the 1996 comedy High School High and the 2008 romantic comedy Just Add Water, but he wasn't alone in making this film.  PCU is the perfect exaggerated view of college life at the time, as it was actually inspired by the experiences of writers Adam Leff and Zac Penn as they attended Wesleyan University.  You may recognize Zac Penn, as he helped write the first Avengers film with Joss Whedon, wrote the story for X2, and even co-created the cancelled-too-soon Syfy series, Alphas.  He's also co-writing the upcoming Steven Spielberg sci-fi film, Ready Player One, which is set to hit theaters in March of 2018.

The script is one thing that I love about this film, but PCU wouldn't have been nearly as good if not for its amazing cast, particularly Jeremy Piven.  His performance as Droz was the most memorable part of the entire film, and every time I've ever seen it, it's his part that entertains me the most.  PCU was actually my introduction to Piven, but he wasn't the only one.  This is also the first time I had ever heard of an actor named Jon Favreau.  You may have heard of him.  He's been in films like Swingers, The Replacements, and Daredevil...oh, and he directed a couple of little films you may know -- Iron Man and the recent live-action Jungle Book.  He also plays Tony Stark's driver and good friend, Happy Hogan, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It's strange to think that the guy behind Iron Man, Chef, and Jungle Book would play a stoner doofus, but I couldn't picture anyone else in the role of Gutter.

We also saw a great performance from the hilarious David Spade, who plays Rand McPherson, head of the underground fraternity known as "Balls and Shaft".  This was very early in Spades career, who I first saw in the SNL inspired comedy, Coneheads.  But it was his roles in the two Chris Fahrley films, Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, that really made me appreciate his talent for comedy.  These are the types of movies that I love to watch him in.

PCU is such a great film, and, to me, is nearly perfect.  It's one of my all-to me favorite films, as I can sit down and watch it anytime, no matter what's going on.  If you haven't seen PCU yet, do yourself a huge favor and check it out, you won't regret it, and as the film shows, sometimes you just need to put your differences aside and enjoy a kickass party.

The Merc's Score: 9.5/10

Also, enjoy this VERY dated looking trailer to get you in the mood:

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment