Wednesday, February 13, 2013

F This Movie! - The Faculty

Patrick and Alex discuss sex aliens, '90s nostalgia, John Hughes and debate Team Clea vs. Team Jordana in their discussion of Robert Rodriguez's 1998 sci-fi teen movie The Faculty. Guaranteed to jack you up.

Download this episode here. (36MB)

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Also discussed this episode: Shut Up and Play the Hits (2012), The Karate Kid (2010), The Outlaw Josey Whales (1976), For a Good Time Call... (2012)


  1. Great show guys!

    The Karate Kid remake is actually pretty good. So, how dare you?

    Also, I feel really bad for Josh Hartnett. I saw Resurrecting the Champ (in a theater! and it was full...making it the only full showing of that movie that ever happened) and you could tell he was trying so hard to give a good performance but he just couldn't do it. T I feel the impulse oddly defend him whenever people make Josh Hartnett jokes. I saw August a while back and remember it being decent.

    1. Re: the Karate Kid remake ... you're kidding, right?

  2. Heath Holland told us to like what we like so here it goes... I like the Karate Kid remake. One is the lonliest number.

  3. As I made clear, my experience with the Karate Kid remake is limited only to the one hysterical scene I described. Adam is beautiful and unique snowflake and I'm certainly in no position to impugn his opinion when I've issued a full-throated FACULTY endorsement.

  4. Actually I like the Karate Kid remake too. Now with that being said no it is not better than the original hell no. Here is what I believe to be the proper breakdown of quality in the Karate Kid saga

    1. Karate Kid-original
    2.Karate Kid II
    3. Karate Kid-remake
    4. The next Karate Kid (the one with the girl)
    5. Karate Kid III (Miyagi and Daniel-San open a bonsai tree shop, seriously that's the freakin plot)

    As for the next podcast with baseball season about to start up soon and a shortage of sports movie on the F this movie podcast scene may I recommend the 1993 classic The Sandlot

  5. Be careful, Alex when accidentally describing the Chinese kids in the remake of “The Karate Kid” as Japanese. Some people become nuts about things like that.

    I am a big fan of the original “Karate Kid” so I had no real interest in seeing the remake. However, when I finally did, it was pretty much what I thought it would be: a scene for scene, play by play of the 1984 film—twenty minutes longer (and not as emotional).

    The best thing I can say about the remake is the scenery.

    Remember how the intended last five minutes of the original was then used as the opening few minutes of the “The Karate Kid 2”? Well, on the blu ray of the remake, one can watch the alternate ending, which consists of a match up between Jackie Chan and the opposing teacher. That cut scene is probably the main reason why Chan was cast in the film and/or took the role. Now instead of that, the film ends on a blurred freeze frame—one of my most favorite things in movies (sarcasm). “Beverly Hills Cop 3” anyone?

    Jackie Chan knew it would be appalling if he beat up a bunch of ten year olds, so he made sure the scene was shaped so that the kids themselves are the ones that hit/knock each other out. Chan himself never delivers the blows. That being said, it is an over the top scene.

    As for “The Faculty”, I like it—although I do feel the first hour is better than the last thirty minutes.

    The film did not get a lot of buzz or press around it, so I didn’t expect much in 1998 when I saw it in theaters. I was extremely surprised by the energy level Rodriguez brought to, what could have been, just a routine teen horror film.

    I think the opening scene where the main characters are introduced still stands as the most violent student body ever depicted on film (Battle Royale notwithstanding)—and that is before the alien invasion.

    However, that notion is quickly forgotten about as soon as the main plot kicks into gear. Strange.

    Rodriguez, when he’s not making his own films, has proven himself to be a great mimic director. He can deliver the mood and tone a studio wants, even if he has to freely borrow from other director’s playbooks.

    In fact, that may be the actual alien take over of the film.

    Here is a project that rips off any dozen of other films, wraps it all up in a fast moving style and tries to present itself as a new property. Only those who know where the ideas, shots and themes come from can tell what it actually resembles. All others have yet to pass the snort test.

    “The Faculty” is a fun film with a good cast… but there’s a reason why this movie is the only one in Rodriguez’s catalog that does not include a commentary, special edition or cooking school. Just sayin’.

    1. Again, the Japanese/Chinese confusion more a function of my not paying attention to much of the movie, and less a function of any bigotry. I knew the conceit was that he moved to an Asian country and eventually learned karate, so I (wrongly) assumed that country was Japan, the birth place of karate.

    2. Yeah, 'cause the title "The Kung Fu Kid" has no marketing power. :)

  6. I remember seeing commercials for "The Faculty" when it was coming on Pay-Per-View when I was a kid and I actually watched bits and pieces throughout the years. I finally saw the whole thing last spring and I find it to be relatively decent, especially when you see the huge cast being involved including Elijah Wood, Robert Patrick, Famke Janssen, Salma Hayek and Usher.

  7. Really interesting show which made me think more about the Faculty than I have in years, probably more than when it came out back in 1998... God, I feel old.

    Anyway, a few points. Patrick, I understand your frustration with what little the film does with its Body Snatchers riff, particularly since there are a few scenes where we get hints of where it could have gone.

    There's a moment near the climax where one of the characters questions whether or not the infected students are actually happier that way and I almost wish the film had focused on this instead of going the usual paranoid thriller route: the idea that for some this would be a choice they'd willingly make.

    Alex's idea about the infection boosting the person's sexual urges makes me think that this might be more of a matter of alien possession releasing characters from social constraints, not merely regarding sexuality but also adherence to the standard social roles that all the students are stuck in at the start of the film, a point several of the characters verbalize. How much more interesting could the film have been if it had explored this further, that perhaps the creature isn't just some menacing hive mind but is doing just what it claims? After all, most of the characters who were infected during the film have somewhat escaped the confines of those social roles by the film's end, suggesting in some ways the experience had positive effects. This is an idea which that unfortunate Body Snatcher remake, The Invasion, seemed to flirt with on a political level with but also bobbled.

    In fact Body Snatchers brings up a detail that unintentionally (or if it's intentional, is a really clever, subversive touch) reveals a lot about Williamson's writing M.O. During most of the movie Stokely keeps talking about how the situation mirrors the Invasion of the Body Snatchers and when asked how that book ends, ominously notes that the aliens win... which is precisely what someone who (SPOILERS) has never read the book but has only seen the movies would say.

  8. I havent seen it but I assume this is what you are referring to

    "Old enough to read, old enough to bleed" Traditional Chan household saying.

  9. "Southland's" season premiere actually airs tonight (2/13/13) on TNT, so great timing on the Shawn Hatosy love. :-)

    I really don't like "The Faculty" at all for all the reasons listed by Patrick times ten. Chief among "The Faculty's" sins though is that it covers up and makes Salma Hayek look unsexy and dull, the complete opposite of what she was in Rodriguez's own "Desperado" (talk about a "good Robert Rodriguez," when is this movie getting F'ed? It's awesome!). Between this and Rodriguez preventing Jessica Alba from stripping in "Sin City" (which SHE WAS WILLING TO DO... W-T-F??!!) I'd have serious questions about Robert's sexual orientation, but I don't because he broke his long-time marriage over Rose McGowan. I mean, perfectly reasonable human behavior for a man, correct? ;-P

    A little off-topic, but has anyone seen the new batch of $5.99 Miramax/Dimension Blu-rays that are sold exclusively at Best Buy? Patrick and Alex's talk of the golden days of Miramax/Dimension sent me to scour these now-forgotten classics that are being dumped on BD from the folks at Echo Bridge Ent. (i.e. the '2.0 Sound' and 'all 1:78:1 transfers regardless of the original AR' butchers). "Best of the Best 3," "Senseless" (Marlon Wayans and David Spade together?), "Down to You," "Benefit of the Doubt," "American Son" (with Nick Canon!), "Marvin's Room"... I mean, come on! They have some good stuff ("The Grifters") and passable shit ("The Shipping News," which somehow snuck through with its original 2:35:1 AR) but its mostly stuff like Stuart Gordon's 1992 work-for-hire "Fortress" (which I totally bought! :-P).

    1. I know that Beautiful Girls is one of the titles, and I'm all over that.

    2. ^^^ That's the only movie that was sold out at the Best Buy I went to. :-)

    3. "Scream" to "Charmed" Rose McGowan I can understand, "Grindhouse" to now Rose McGowan, I do not.

    4. "Scream" to "Charmed" Rose McGowan, I can understand. "Grindhouse" to now, I do not.

    5. Love (and Robert Rodriguez circa 2007) is blind, don't you get it? :-P

  10. I really like the Patrick/Alex podcasts because you're probably the two F'ers with the most disparate tastes (as evidenced by the Jordana/Clea debate which is really no contest - 1998 Jordana all the way) and this was no exception.

    I did not see The Faculty when it came out - when I saw it was the subject of a podcast and available on Netflix, I watched it for the first time with fresh 30+ year old eyes and...I'm with Alex! Mostly anyway, insofar as I definitely liked it and can see myself watching it again sometime. It's not a new favourite or anything, it just worked for me on a basic, gut-level. I certainly wouldn't argue with Patrick's points and Alex is certainly seeing a bit more to it than I did (though I might look for some of that stuff next time) but I more-or-less enjoyed my time with it.

    The other thing I'm with Alex on is Josh Hartnett. STUPID FUCKING hair aside, there's something about the kid I've always liked (am I the only one that really liked Black Hawk Down?) - I'm interested to see if he's ever able to regain any of the popularity he once had.

    1. You are not the only one who liked Black Hawk Down.

    2. Heheh - new column idea: Affirmations from Doug!

      F-Head: Doug, am I the only one who liked Sister Act 2?

      Doug: You are not the only one who liked Sister Act 2.

      F-Head: Oh, good - I was just about to kill myself!

      Think about it Doug, you could save lives.

  11. Doug's theory that the alien parasite is a metaphor for sexual awakening is thought-provoking. I think it speaks to the movie's broader theme of conformity. The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers is famous for McCarthy-era parallels about the danger of Americans conforming to a communist ideology that could potentially invade the heartland. Williamson was trying to reapply that core theme to a high school setting. Each member of the central group has something in common: they're all outcasts, even the jock who recently quit the football team. Symbolically, their battle against alien invaders is their attempt to avoid conforming to their peers and oppressive school administrators, which I presume includes resisting sexual pressures. However, I agree with Patrick, that The Faculty is a very muddled film. In the end, Williamson doesn't successfully convey any fully-formed ideas about adolescence or individuality.

  12. Hi Patrick, the download link doesn´t work, also the download links on Run Lola Run and Aliens ;-(
    Can you help, please?