#350. Dead on Release

A variety of reasons can exist for an actor to not be alive by the time their movie is released. Some actors are old and die from more natural causes (like Spencer Tracy, who died 17 days after the end of filming Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967)). Others might be involved in accidents either on the set (like Brandon Lee in The Crow (1994)) or in the course of living their life (like Anton Yelchin from the Star Trek reboots). The entertainment community mourns the lives taken so early on in their careers, but many actors have died via suicide due to either their approach to acting or the pressure of acting influencing their decisions. Sometimes a mental illness that gives an actor their creativity can also drive them into a suicide as well. This week’s two films highlight some actors who died before their films were released.

GiantGiant
Year: 1956
Rating: Approved
Length: 201 minutes / 3.35 hours

At the age of 24, James Dean was a star to be reckoned with. In four short years, he appeared in a handful of uncredited roles, but he also earned two back-to-back nominations for Best Actor in 1955 for East of Eden and in 1956 for Giant. The trick with his nomination for Giant was that he had been killed in a car accident late in 1955, thus making this nomination the first of its kind to be given posthumously. Not only did Dean die before the release of Giant, but he also died before the release of his most iconic role in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). One can only speculate the amount of prestige such an actor would have accrued over a lifetime of acting. Even with only three credited movies to his name, the American Film Institute still placed him as #18 on their list of 50 top actors of the last century.

Jett Rink (James Dean) is a farmhand who works for Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) on his Texas ranch. When Bick brings home a lovely wife in Leslie Lynnton (Elizabeth Taylor), Jett is immediately stricken with her. He helps show her the ropes of the property, thus inspiring her to change some of the living conditions for the migrant workers. After the accidental death of Bick’s sister, who also ran the household and had a spat with Leslie, Jett is bequeathed a small portion of the property. After Jett finds oil on his land, he manages to become wealthier than the Benedicts. Jett, still enamored with Leslie, eventually starts dating her daughter, which further sours the relationship between him and Bick. After realizing his children will not follow in his footsteps, Bick finally allows Jett to drill for oil on the remainder of the Benedict property.

The Dark KnightThe Dark Knight
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Length: 152 minutes / 2.53 hours

Some actors die before their movies finish filming, leaving a noticeable gap in their performance. Actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman are noticeably absent from certain scenes in movies like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015). Some actors have their performances digitally completed and adjusted using CGI, or even sometimes completely created decades after their death (as was the case with Peter Cushing in Rogue One (2016)). While Heath Ledger had completed filming on The Dark Knight (2008), none of his scenes were altered after the fact by director Christopher Nolan. Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, but some feel his “method acting” approach helped push him over the edge via his role as The Joker. He is only one of two people who have posthumously won a Best Actor Oscar, the other being Peter Finch of Network (1976) fame.

After Batman (Christian Bale) has raised the stakes for Gotham’s crime-fighting, a new force has appeared to oppose him with a gospel of violence and chaos: the Joker (Heath Ledger). As Batman tries to rid the city of crime via his vigilante actions, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) tries to do so within the confines of the law. The Joker, having taken control of the majority of Gotham’s gangs, continues to escalate the situation to get Batman to reveal his true identity. Eventually, Batman finds himself in a corner as the Joker makes him decide between the lawful justice of District Attorney Harvey Dent, or Batman’s girlfriend, Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal). On top of this life-or-death decision, the Joker pits a ferry full of tourists against a ferry full of terrorists in a game of “Who will die first?” Batman, finally able to catch the Joker via an ingenious use of technology, must now retreat to the shadows.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 young actors gone too soon

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#345. Racism

In some ways, the status of race relations today have not changed nearly as much as they should have in the decades since the civil rights movement. The fact that someone would be considered “lesser than” merely because of their heritage or skin color is still an anathema to me. Sure, stereotypes fuel a fear of those who are different from us; but, there are plenty of people who defy these stereotypes and prove that they are not some kind of enemy but are instead just ordinary people trying to live ordinary lives. I think this world would be better off if we stopped judging people by our preconceived notions based on their skin color, and instead accepted them as human beings. This week’s two films highlight racism at its worst, so we may all learn to be accepting of others, regardless of the color of their skin.

4242
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Length: 128 minutes / 2.13 hours

It is almost ironic that some of the sports that were once dominated by white men now have these individuals on their teams in a minority capacity. Perhaps this was why so many of them were resistant to the integration of people of color into their athletic clubs: they knew they would be outperformed. While films like Race (2016) highlight the racial discrimination at home in the United States, while also shining a light on the racial discrimination (and eventual genocide) in Germany just before World War II, it’s easy to put Nazis as the antagonists in these stories. What hurts more (as well it should) is when the antagonists in a sports movie, like 42 (2013), are the athletic role models and leaders who are supposed to provide a positive example for generations to come. Their hatred is born of a fear that I hope continues to diminish and vanish with each passing generation.

There seemed to be a time where America’s greatest pastime wasn’t baseball but racism. Sure, black people could still play baseball, but they could only do it in their own league, separate from the white league that held the World Series every year. Sensing the time was right to break this barrier, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), team executive of the Brooklyn Dodgers, recruits Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to play up through the Dodgers’ farm team, the Montreal Royals. Robinson has talent, but he refuses to be pushed down by others, often resorting to a short temper to prove his mettle. Eventually, he realizes he can quiet his critics, including the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk), by playing the best baseball he can, thus helping lead the Dodgers to the World Series.

In the Heat of the NightIn the Heat of the Night
Year: 1967
Rating: Approved
Length: 109 minutes / 1.82 hours

In the Heat of the Night (1967) is likely to be one of the defining films on the subject of racism. Not only did it win Best Picture for that year (a feat similarly-themed Crash (2004) would do decades later), but it has earned a spot on the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 films at #75. Taking a somewhat different approach to the topic than To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) did a few years prior, In the Heat of the Night shows the audience that the color of someone’s skin shouldn’t be an indicator of their professional competence. This theme was also driven home almost 50 years later in the Best Picture nominee, Hidden Figures (2016). Still, the defining moment in this film comes in the form of the line “They call me Mister Tibbs!” which perfectly encapsulates the protagonist’s frustration about being looked down upon and considered of lesser status simply due to the color of his skin.

When the murder of a white businessman hits a small town in the South, the first suspect just happens to be an African-American who is visiting from Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this “Southern hospitality” backfires to an extent when the suspect, Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), just happens to be a prominent homicide detective from Philadelphia. This gripping crime drama unfolds to show that some people cannot get past the color of another’s skin, even if that person is the only one who can produce results. Through his expert investigative skills, Tibbs not only exonerates other suspects but refines the timeframe when the murder actually happened. This professionalism eventually endears the white Police Chief, Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) to Tibbs, as the black investigator solves the case and heads back home to Philadelphia.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 racism revolutions

#344. Sports Misfits

As I’ve written before, we all love to root for the underdog. If there’s a genre primarily centered on the underdog, it has to be sports movies. If an underdog defeats someone who has more skill, then we feel like we’ve won along with the protagonist. And yet, these underdogs are often the characters with the least amount of resources needed to win. They aren’t necessarily “misfits,” who don’t even fit the standard profile for the sport. What’s more interesting, and often a reflection of the community of the game in question is how accepting these people are of an individual or team who doesn’t immediately fit into their preconceived notions of who should participate in the sport. Often, these misfits are based on race, but if the skills to compete are still there, then what should it matter what color their skin is? This week’s two films highlight some sports misfits.

Cool RunningsCool Runnings
Year: 1993
Rating: PG
Length: 98 minutes / 1.63 hours

While the Olympic Games are naturally biased toward countries with the financial resources to fund and train their athletes, they are also biased toward the climates of specific countries. The Summer Olympics are usually more inclusive, as most of the events included in them can be trained for indoors with no specialized climate needed (the water sports being the obvious exception). As for the Winter Olympics, countries that have natural areas of snow and ice often have an advantage because they can train outdoors if needed, or even if necessary. Similarly, their residents are used to the colder temperatures, making their competitive edge that much stronger. Even poor countries who can’t afford to build ice-skating complexes can compete in these games. But what if a tropical country wants to compete in the Winter Olympics? These misfits are so far behind the curve, nobody ever takes them seriously.

Since the Summer Olympic cycle is every four years, if an athlete cannot qualify for the Olympics for a particular year, they may find themselves too old or outpaced by younger athletes for the games occurring four years later. After an accident prevented Derice Bannock (Leon Robinson) from participating in the 1988 Summer Olympics for Jamaica, he started searching for alternatives to compete in the Olympics, any Olympics. Enter Irv Blitzer (John Candy), a former Olympic gold medalist . . . in bobsledding. Since bobsledding hinges on the fast sprint at the start, Derice figures his running skills could easily transfer. Gathering a team of fellow Jamaicans, they head to Calgary to compete and are immediately laughed at due to their home country. After a last-place run, the team takes the competition seriously and start to move up in the rankings. Will these misfits win a medal, or go home empty-handed?

4242
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Length: 128 minutes / 2.13 hours

The irony of using race to exclude individuals from participating in sports is that these people have often shown considerable talent, making the “original” players the misfits over time. Perhaps singling out someone with different skin color as a “misfit” in a sport is a way to protect the athletes’ fear that this misfit will perform better than them. As should be the case in sports, as in life, a person should be judged on their abilities and skills to get the job done, not on how they look or who they know. Considering the tenuous racial relations of the United States over the last 100+ years, it’s no wonder that the American “tradition” of baseball was so vehemently against racial segregation since it was what many considered to be a representation of the country as a whole. If white men were no longer the only players on the field, then this meant all players were, in a sense, equal.

Before the mid-1940’s, there were two leagues of baseball players: one white and one black. Few would consider adding a black player to a white team, but when Dodgers team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) realizes Jackie Robinson’s (Chadwick Boseman) talent playing for the Kansas City Monarchs, he sets out to integrate Robinson into the Brooklyn Dodgers. This integration does not take place right away and is also met with resistance from the other players. After working his way up through the Montreal Royals, Robinson is finally allowed to play for the Dodgers, which presents its own challenges. While the players now accept Robinson, the other teams do not. Robinson faces taunting and violence from the coaches and players of the other teams, but his skills manage to shut them up and even earns the Dodgers a spot in the World Series.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 out-of-place athletes

#334. Amnesia

What were we talking about? Oh yes, amnesia. While this trope is usually associated with soap operas, it has been used in a variety of diverse formats and for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes the effect can be used for humorous purposes, much like the plot of 50 First Dates (2004). More often than not, amnesia is used to make the protagonist more relatable to the audience. Everything the main character re-learns is new information to the audience. In fact, this trope is typically used to not only provide lengthy exposition but to also give the plot a good twist at the end. If anything, amnesia can make characters more dynamic: acting one way as they regain their memories, then having to make the decision to either revert to their former life or pick up their new one once they learn the truth. This week’s two films highlight amnesia as a plot device.

UnkownUnknown
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Length: 85 minutes /  1.42 hours

The largest appeal of amnesia as a plot device is the erasure of any memories the main character would have that would bias their decision-making process. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000). The little hints the main character gives himself to avenge his wife’s death only act to propel him into an unintentional bias that drives him to vengeance. While Memento covers a medical condition, temporary amnesia has its uses as a plot device as well. When key memories fall into place for temporary amnesiacs, the plot is driven forward by the exciting revelations. Films like Total Recall (1990) and Unknown (2011) hide assassins in plain sight. However, when the entire cast of characters contracts temporary amnesia, figuring out who’s who and each individual’s alliances makes for exceptional drama.

Not to be confused with the Liam Neeson film of the same name, Unknown (2006) starts with a group of men regaining consciousness and trying to figure out why they’re locked in an abandoned warehouse. They also need to deduce why one of them was tied up, another shot, and why the rest of them have other, various injuries. Slowly, they begin to piece together that they are part of a failed kidnapping due to an accidental chemical leak that put them in a temporary coma and erased their memories. As their memories return, each individual realizes they’re either a kidnapper or the kidnapped. When the mafia returns to unlock the warehouse, they proceed to eliminate the witnesses, not knowing that one of the individuals has just remembered his actual job: acting as an undercover cop to infiltrate the mob.

The Bourne IdentityThe Bourne Identity
Year: 2002
Rating: PG-13
Length: 119 minutes / 1.98 hours

Memories are the moments that define our lives. We are who we are via the collected memories of our lives. These memories shape us and inform our decisions in life. If memories are erased, an individual can be molded into almost anyone. If a government has the ability to erase memories, they can create docile and obedient soldiers, much like was seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). Of course, memories are much easier to erase when they’re part of a cybernetic interface. Films like Robocop (1987) and Ghost in the Shell (2017) show this digital memory erasure still comes with some problems, though. But what if a well-trained super soldier loses their memories? Would they continue to call upon their ingrained training, being able to perform all their duties without knowing how they got that way? Would they continue to kill without knowing why?

After an unidentified man is found floating in the Mediterranean by some local fishermen, he only has one clue to his identity: a safe deposit box in Switzerland. While he doesn’t know who he is, he does retain a plethora of useful skills. Opening the box in Zurich, the man learns he has multiple cover identities and opts to use the one of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon). Unfortunately, his presence is soon identified, and he has to run away, mostly unsure why he is being chased. As he comes in contact with more people from his past, he learns that he was a highly-trained assassin and part of Operation Treadstone. Because he carries no memories of his time as a CIA black ops operative, he decides he’s better off cutting ties with Treadstone. Unfortunately, Treadstone does not want to lose an asset as valuable as Jason Bourne and will fight him to bring him back into the program.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 awesome amnesias

#332. Revenge!

Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” This statement is most relevant when it comes to the idea of revenge. A concept almost as old as time itself, revenge puts justice in our own hands after someone wrongs us. Often, the people who have done the wrong will wish they had killed the person they slighted, thus preventing any revenge in the process. I want to make sure you understand that revenge is not vengeance since someone being avenged (like in Hamlet (1948)) is usually dead or incapable of producing their own revenge. If we don’t want to wait for the Lord to provide vengeance (Romans 12:19), we’ll make sure those who have wronged us are given their comeuppance. This week’s two films focus on the timeless act of revenge.

Revenge of the NerdsRevenge of the Nerds
Year: 1984
Rating: R
Length: 90 minutes / 1.50 hours

If there’s any culture who feels the need for revenge, it’s nerd culture. Sure, now nerds are “cool” since technology has made all our lives a little easier, but it wasn’t always this way. Even the genres most nerds appreciate have plenty of examples of revenge. From the science fiction offerings of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Robocop (1987), and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), to the comic book heroes like V for Vendetta (2005) and Deadpool (2016), many of these plotlines either show that evil never prospers (even when it wants to enact its revenge), or that the protagonists need to stand up for themselves if they don’t want to be taken advantage of. Revenge of the Nerds (1984) shows what tools these individuals have at their disposal to enact their revenge against the jocks who torment them.

Most of the nerds at Adams College feel they are constantly harassed by the football players from the Alpha Beta fraternity. After creating their own fraternity full of nerds, they find they are unable to stop the pranks of the Alpha Betas unless they are a nationally- recognized fraternity. While initially skeptical, the leader of the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity is convinced that these nerds belong in their predominantly black organization due to the similarities of the persecution they all face, as well as having the gumption to do something about it. The Tri-Lambs go about enacting their revenge on the Alpha Betas (and the Pi Delta Pi sorority) by eventually winning the Greek Games and taking over control of the Greek system on campus. When the Alpha Betas destroy the Tri-Lambs’ house, the nerds storm the football prep rally and elicit the support of everyone ever bullied by a jock.

The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo
Year: 2002
Rating: PG-13
Length: 131 minutes / 2.18 hours

While we’d often want to take revenge on the person who took our parking spot or ate our lunch out of the fridge, some people have much more severe reasons why they want, nay need to take revenge on their enemies. One director who seems to understand this impetus toward revenge is Quentin Tarantino. From Kill Bill (2003/4) to Django Unchained (2012), and to a lesser extent, the vengeance-fueled Inglorious Basterds (2009), Tarantino shows that “violence is the answer.” This idiom can be seen in many other films like Memento (2000), John Wick (2014), The Revenant (2015), and Oldboy (2003). Of these films, the most serious revenge occurs when the protagonist is left for dead. While revenge can often involve killing the person (or people) who did you the most wrong, what The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) understands is that the punishment should directly reflect the crime.

Life is looking pretty great for Edmond Dantés (Jim Caviezel). Not only has he been promoted to Captain of the ship he was on, but he is ready to marry his girlfriend, Mercédès (Dagmara Dominczyk). Unfortunately, unbeknownst to him, Edmond has obtained some enemies who wish to destroy him. After a false accusation sends him to the isolated prison, Château d’If, he swears he will escape and take revenge on those who put him there. With the help of aged prisoner, Abbé Faria (Richard Harris), Edmond is educated and given an opportunity to escape to a vast treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. Now that he has the smarts and resources to enact his revenge, he arrives back in Marseille as the Count of Monte Cristo, his enemies unaware that Edmond Dantés still lives under this pseudonym. One-by-one, each man receives Dantés’ revenge, eventually allowing him to pick up his life again.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 payback plots

#331. Fraternities

One of the benefits of going to college is the networking that can occur via the conglomeration of like-minded individuals. If the cliques of high school were bad, imagine living in an entire house of these people. Jocks and nerds tend to segregate into their own little social circles, but sometimes they even go so far as to create a fraternity to provide structure to the social construct. Some individuals see these fraternities (and other social clubs) as an opportunity to advance in life. As we saw in The Social Network (2010), the desire to feel included in social societies extends beyond the physical world of Greek life and has transcended into the digital. Still, many of the deepest friendships a guy can form during college can be found in the fraternities associated with the school. This week’s two films examine life in a college fraternity.

                                                 National Lampoon’s Animal HouseNational Lampoon's Animal House
Year: 1978
Rating: R
Length: 109 minutes / 1.82 hours

While there are many different fraternities with a wide variety of different focuses, most Hollywood films tend to put them into two conflicting categories. This is to induce conflict within the main plot of the movie. From jocks vs. nerds to rich vs. poor, the underdogs are always the group pegged as the protagonists of these stories. Of course, in real life, many of these fraternities would get in serious legal trouble for the pranks they pull on the other houses, but perhaps the comedic value of college anarchy and the idolization of the “party hard” lifestyle is what makes them so appealing. If anything, Animal House (1978) is the epitome of the fraternity film, showing how fun sex, alcohol, and rock & roll are when compared to the alternative: actually going to class and earning an education.

Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon) is at the end of his rope when it comes to the troublemaking Delta Tau Chi fraternity. Not only do they have abysmal grade point averages, but they have broken many (if not all) of the school’s rules. Since the fraternity was already on probation, Dean Wormer puts them on “double-secret probation” and enlists the help of the superior Omega Theta Pi fraternity to get the Deltas to screw up one more time so their charter can be revoked. Upon learning of their almost impending dissolution after failing a test based off of a fraudulent answer key, the Deltas decide to have a toga party, which ends up involving the Dean’s wife, as well as the Mayor’s daughter. With all the evidence he needs in place, Dean Wormer expels the Deltas from Faber College. Unfortunately, the Deltas have one last stunt they can pull at the homecoming parade.

Revenge of the NerdsRevenge of the Nerds
Year: 1984
Rating: R
Length: 90 minutes / 1.50 hours

As I mentioned earlier, “birds of a feather flock together,” is perhaps the best definition of a fraternity. A group of guys who have similar interests and/or intentions for their college career will tend to congregate in the same place. A fraternity house is merely a convenient way for them to live together, so their curricular and extra-curricular activities are all in the same spot. Of course, with the rise of the Greek system comes competition. While some films manage to cover this type of competition in a child-friendly way (like Monsters University (2013) did), many of them are certainly raunchier, keeping in line with the standard Animal House set in the late 1970’s. Even though competition should be friendly, often there can be severe discrimination and persecution involved, as seen in Revenge of the Nerds (1984).

Due to a fire that destroyed the Alpha Betas’ fraternity house, the jocks have displaced the freshmen in the dorms, leaving incoming freshmen Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert Lowe (Anthony Edwards) in a temporary setup in the gymnasium. To get out of the gym, the computer science majors take the opportunity to rush the school’s fraternities, only to be rejected by all of them. Along with other nerds, Lewis and Gilbert decide to start their own fraternity by fixing up a house on campus. To gain a charter to become official, they ask to become Lambda Lambda Lambdas, which is a predominantly black fraternity. The head of the Tri-Lambs agrees to give them their membership not only due to the persecution he sees the nerds enduring but also due to the resistance they give to the bullying. When the annual Greek Games arrive, it’s up to the Tri-Lambs to prove they’re the best!

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 funny fraternities

#330. Scholastic Transition of 1962

1962 was an exciting time. From the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War, a lot of change was happening in the world. While there was plenty of turmoil for adults to worry about, most teenagers were worried about school. Whether they were high school students concerned about what to do after graduation or college students ready to live the independent life away from their parents, the transition from academic realms continues to be the big question looming over teenagers even today. Of course, this big question carries with it some smaller questions, many of which revolve around a person’s identity. Who are they? Who do they want to become? While a school can provide the structure to find answers to these questions, the transition is still a life-long milestone. This week’s two films highlight the scholastic transition of 1962.

American GraffitiAmerican Graffiti
Year: 1973
Rating: PG
Length: 110 minutes / 1.83 hours

Graduating high school is often seen as the largest transition of an individual’s life. Up until this point, they’ve had to listen to their parents and do what their teachers asked of them. By the end of their high school careers, they’re on the top of the social ladder and are ready to take on the world. For some, this means going to college to earn a degree and start a career. Others will pursue local jobs to remain close to home and continue the relationships they’ve already developed. Still others might find the allure of a military career and join the armed services. Whatever they choose to do, most people will finally have the freedom and independence to live their life the way they want to. Of course, any way they go about living their lives, they’ll need to build up from almost nothing, having transitioned out of the life of a high school student.

Following four high school graduates on their last day of summer vacation, American Graffiti (1979) reveals how a single night can change someone’s perspective on life. Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) finds himself searching for a woman he met at a stop light, eventually resorting to a radio DJ to get a message to her before he leaves for college in the morning. Steve Bolander (Ron Howard) is set to go to the same college as Curt, telling his girlfriend, Laurie Henderson (Cindy Williams), they should see other people. He changes his mind after Laurie got in a car accident during a race and promises to stay in town with her instead of going to college. Terry “The Toad” Fields (Charles Martin Smith) and John Milner (Paul Le Mat) cruise the city looking for girls, but eventually get goaded into a race with Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford), which leads to the aforementioned car crash.

National Lampoon’s Animal HouseNational Lampoon's Animal House
Year: 1978
Rating: R
Length: 109 minutes / 1.82 hours

College is a fantastic time for introspection and soul searching. In the halls of higher education, an individual can learn who they are and who they want to be. Sometimes these are two different things. Of course, the allure of an independent life within the vast social construct of college can lead an individual to lose all sense of self-control as well. While both experiences have their merit, knowing how to balance them is the challenge of the college freshman. It can be a big leap from living with mom and dad to living with a bunch of guys who party almost every night. While high school had its own cliques and social strata, college takes these constructs and makes them much larger than they were before. We all want to have high social standing in college, but sometimes we’re stuck being on the bottom rung of that society.

Larry Kroger (Thomas Hulce) and Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst) have just started their first semester at Faber College. Knowing they want to join a fraternity, they attend a party at the Omega Theta Pi house. While they don’t have what it takes to join this fraternity, Kent has a connection to the Delta Tau Chi house, since his brother was a member. Of course, Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon) is frustrated with Delta’s continual and abysmal actions on campus and is looking to get the fraternity expelled from the college. While he enlists the Omegas to sabotage the already failing Deltas, the Deltas end up being undeterred and decide to throw a toga party. The conflict between the Deltas and Omegas eventually escalates to physical violence, inspiring John Blutarsky (John Belushi) to give a speech to the frat before they go and cause chaos at the homecoming parade.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 school stories