Monday, February 6, 2023


 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Best Fire Stunt” at the World Stunt Awards. It lost to The Last Samurai.

• Best Scene/Moment (tie): The sequence where the fraternity must complete a series of events in order to save their fraternity charter (including a debate session, an academic exam, an athletic contest and a school spirit performance). I also like the bit where Frank (Will Ferrell) realizes he’s been so out of it that he forgot he had a birthday the prior week.

• Best Song: “Total Eclipse from the Heart” performed by The Dan Band.
• Best Merch: A set of “Old School Movie Press Promo Swag” for $29.99. The set comes with a mini-composition notebook, a Luke Wilson coaster, an Old School sticker, and a key chain bottle opener. I kinda want to get this and take a night course just to be able to use the Old School notebook in the spirit in which it was intended.

• Director Check: Old School was directed by Todd Phillips, who began his career making documentaries (including a 1998 film titled Frat House) before becoming one of the most successful comedy directors of the 2000s. His debut feature was 2000s Road Trip (which might still be my favorite movie of his) followed by Old School, which was a hit in 2003. Following Old School, Phillips stumbled with the underwhelming Starsky & Hutch and School for Scoundrels before skyrocketing with the word-of-mouth sensation The Hangover in 2009. Phillips directed two sequels to The Hangover with diminishing returns and mixed 2010’s Due Date in between, which reunited him with The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis. Phillips most recent work includes 2016’s War Dogs and 2019’s Joker, which was divisive but beloved by many. Phillips has said he’s given up making comedy films because of the backlash of “woke culture” to which I say, “too bad, so sad.” I’m only half kidding because I would rather see his comedies than more edgy comic book movies like Joker. I’m getting the opposite of my wish as his next film is the sequel to Joker titled Joker: Folie a Deux, which is scheduled to be released in 2024.

• Double It with This 2003 Movie: American Wedding

• Year 2003 Movies to Trailer Before It: Bad Santa, Elf, School of Rock

Draft Day or Old School? Draft Day
• Mall Movie? Yes. Frat boy comedies always play at the mall.

• Only in 2003: Vince Vaughn’s character announces at a Snoop Dogg house party concert that Speaker City is slashing prices on everything from beepers to DVD players.

• Scene Stealer (tie): Vince Vaughn and Seann William Scott.

• I Miss (tie): Star-driven comedies that play in theaters and non-auteur Todd Phillips.

• I Don’t Miss: Luke Wilson lead performances. He seems like a nice guy but can be a wobbly chair leg onscreen. Like a guy who repeats someone else’s joke but wants credit for the laugh. Or the guy who asks questions in a meeting but doesn’t care about the answer.

• 2003 Crush: Perrey Reeves.

• 2023 Crush: Juliette Lewis.
• What I Thought in 2003: I was in a fraternity when Old School came out (I saw it at an on-campus sneak preview at the student union…. there’s nothing more college than that!) and it PLAYED there (because of course it did) so, being caught up in the moment, it worked. I never loved Old School as much as my peers back in 2003, but it still made me laugh quite a bit. The thing I remember being most excited about at the time was Vince Vaughn going back to being funny after years of mostly dramatic work (2001’s Made aside).

• What I Think in 2023: I had a lot of fun going back to Old School after putting it away for nearly 20 years. Some of it is nostalgia for when I was in college, but the movie succeeds in its own right. Old School gets a lot of juice from being early showcases for Will Ferrell’s movie star era (era) and Vince Vaughn’s 2000’s comedy renaissance. Old School is douchey and dated but it’s still funnier than most comedy nowadays and for that reason I can’t dismiss it.


  1. I'm a sucker for the earmuffs joke in this.

  2. I'm here for the Road Trip love, that movie kinda rules. I remember liking Old School at the time it came out but I have to admit I have almost no desire to revisit it--although unlike you, I would do so FOR the Luke Wilson, who has been a very long time movie crush for me.

    What are the chances that Sean William Scott could have a career comeback in the 2020s? I really love him as an actor and would like to see him return to the screen but not sure in what capacity that would play these days.

  3. This is still one of my favourites of the comedies from that era (era). I watched it recently with my teenage kids, and they loved it as well. My favourite bit was right at the beginning when he's going down an escalator and there's a dad smacking his child upside the head. The look L. Wilson gives him is really funny.