Saturday, September 10, 2011

Revenge of the Nerds

1984, US, directed by Jeff Kanew

I'm not sure if it's chutzpah or complete obliviousness, but there's something impressive about the way that Revenge of the Nerds attempts to balance surprisingly inclusive views on Nerd-dom with extraordinary retrograde sexual politics, creating a safe house, literally, for all those excluded by the jock element on campus while happily invading the privacy of the sorority sisters. The energetic playing and direction almost make up for the contradiction -- there's a terrific shot of the nerds rampaging through a sorority house, the camera pulling back as they advance toward it -- while the filmmakers capture rather well, if in wildly exaggerated form, the way in which college can seem like a social experiment in which classes are at best a distraction from the wider education that's going on. There's not a single moment dedicated to the classroom experience, for instance, and the one time the jocks assemble for football drills the coach realizes, as the sequence concludes, that the team has forgotten to practice.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States