Old School: Unrated and Out of Control! [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Andreas Petersen (25th January 2009).
The Film

When "Old School" first came out in 2003, I was a sophomore in high school, and I couldnít have been more excited for this movie. I was a huge fan of "Road Trip" (2000), the last film from director Todd Phillips. For whatever reason though, I ended up hating it. For some reason, none of the jokes stuck to me, and I just didnít get why everyone thought the movie was so funny. After years of suffering people telling me that I was wrong, and started to think about the movie, and realized that when I thought about the jokes, they sounded funny, but for some reason, I still couldnít convince myself that it was. This is why I have been eager to watch the movie again, and now that itís out on Blu-ray, I have my chance.

"Old School" is the story of Mitch (Luke Wilson), who recently came out of a long term relationship, and buys a house on the campus of Harrison University. Mitchís friends Frank (Will Ferrell) and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) see this as the perfect opportunity for a party house, and set it up thusly. One thing leads to another, and the three have to fight eviction from the evil dean (Jeremy Piven) in the way of forming an impromptu fraternity. While the story is simple enough, "Old School" mainly relies on a series of quick gags, rather than a cohesive narrative.

In the end, I have finally decided that I like "Old School". Whatís weird though, is that I didnít laugh a whole lot while watching it, but more silently appreciated the jokes, and was actually impressed with the movie for some really cool music choices and subtle camera work, things Iím sure I wouldnít have appreciated six years ago. Also, jokes I didnít think were funny back then, I liked this time around. Iím thinking that maybe I just didnít get what the movie was trying to do back then, but now I have a better handle on it.

While I liked the movie this time around, I still have some pretty major problems with it. I feel as though the ending, as in the resolution between the dean and the frat, is really phoned in, and culminates in a pretty pointless chase around campus. Similarly, Mitchís love interest Nicole (Ellen Pompeo) comes around in the end in a truly lazy fashion. I feel as though these two plot points were moments ripe for the picking, and could have potentially been worked into some absurdist jokes that would have jived with the rest of the movieís humor, but they just didnít.

But I feel like I may be looking into it too much. The film worked for me on enough levels that these gripes are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. When the movie worked, it did, and that was allot more than I could have said about it six years ago.

Video

"Old School" is offered in a 1080p 24/fps HD 2.35:1 transfer mastered in AVC MPEG-4 compression, and the result is about average. I never felt like I was really watching a movie in HD, but rather just a really pretty DVD. There isnít a whole lot to complain about when it comes to the transfer, but there isnít a whole lot to celebrate either, and in the end, that may be worth complaining about. What we have here is a suitable transfer for a movie that doesnít warrant the superstar treatment, but it would have been nice.

Audio

"Old School" is offered in a English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track mastered in 48kHz/24-bit, with optional French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks available as well, with optional English, English for the hearing impaired, French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles. I was actually impressed with the sounds coming from the disc, especially in the big party sequences, with completely clear sound and good movement that represents the rest of the filmís audio offerings.

Extras

"Old School" comes with a mixed bag of extras, including an audio commentary, deleted scenes, a couple of featurettes, bloopers, theatrical trailer and TV spots, all of which are examined below.

First up is a feature length audio commentary with director Todd Phillips and actors Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn, and is really damn funny. This is the type of commentary where everyone present is just joking consistently, and the end result is a really entertaining track. While no anecdote sticks out specifically, all the quick jabs and self deprecating humor throughout was worth a listen.

Next up is a collection of short deleted scenes, and in a very rare instance, I actually liked all of them, and think they would have worked in the final run of the film. Each scene borders around 2 minutes, so I can see that they may trip up the flow of the film, but there are some brilliant jokes lost in them, and Iím glad theyíre available here. They are:

- "Early Flight Home" which runs for 1 second and 28 seconds.
- "Legal Advice" which runs for 1 minute 15 seconds.
- "Beanieís True Colors" which runs for 3 minutes and 45 seconds.
- "Planning Maxís B-Day Party" which runs for 1 minute and 11 seconds.
- "Mitch Visits Dead Pritchard" which runs for 2 minutes and 4 seconds.
- "Original Locker Room Scene" which runs for 1 minute and 41 seconds.
- "House Inspection" which runs for 1 minute and 9 seconds.
- "Frankís Soul Mate" which runs for 44 seconds.

"Old School Orientation" featurette, which runs for 13 minutes and 2 seconds, and acts as the discís making-of. While the behind-the-scenes footage is sort of interesting, the whole thing is edited in a sort-of annoying fashion, and is coupled with a re-cap of the plot, so in the end I didnít think it was worth it. I wish this had been more of a strait making-of.

"Inside the Actors Studio Spoof" featurette, which runs for 13 minutes and 39 seconds, in which Will Ferrell reprises his impression of James Lipton, and interviews the cast and director of "Old School" (yes, even Ferrell himself). I actually didnít think this feature was funny at all, and just bordered on re-hashed jokes from the "SNL" (1975-Present) skit, and just felt too congratulatory and pompous.

Outtakes & bloopers, which runs for 5 minutes and 4 seconds, and acts as a clip show of cut jokes not long enough to be considered deleted scenes, mixed with bloopers. This is sort of a mixed bag, as there are some funny jokes here, but some arenít that great, and then the bloopers themselves are pretty unfunny.

Lastly, included on this disc is the theatrical trailer, which runs for 2 minutes ad 29 seconds, along with three TV spots, which are:

- "Working Together" which runs for 32 seconds.
- "Old Wild" which runs for 32 seconds.
- "Nomination" which runs for 32 seconds.

Overall

The Film: B Video: B- Audio: B+ Extras: B Overall: B

 


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