Monday, May 23, 2016

The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty, currently streaming on Netflix, is just as good as I remember it, and incorporates some of the best things from the 90s. Namely, putting Usher in teen movies and using an alien invasion as an allegory for how high school stifles creativity. Or something like that. Did I mention Usher?

OK, so the basic plot here is that we’ve got a Breakfast Club-like mishmash of students who are all trying to stop an alien invasion. Because when aliens come to take over earth, they’re going to be sneaky about it. That means taking over the faculty (did you get where the titles comes from yet?) of a high school in Ohio. A high school where John Stewart and Salma Hayek are part of THE FACULTY.  Let’s meet everyone else.

This is Casey Connor. He’s our Anthony Michael Hall nerd who’s just pleading for a makeover. The haircut alone is just begging his peers to hassle him every day, and they oblige. Casey is the photographer for the school paper, and we can thank him for discovering one of the alien creatures on the football field and bringing it into science class.

This is Delilah Profitt, our Molly Ringwald poor little rich girl. She’s editor or the school paper, head cheerleader, but sometimes she’s sad because her mom drinks. Her body gets taken over about halfway through the movie, so it’s no thanks to her when our gang finally beats the aliens.

This is Stan Rosado, our Emilio Estevez jock who’s conflicted about just being seen as an athlete. We can see by Stan’s dreamy stare that there’s not much going on behind those eyes, but that doesn’t stop him from quitting the football team so he can pursue more academic pursuits.

This is Stokely Mitchell, and because of her name alone she’s our Alley Sheedy outcast. Really, what did her parents expect with a name like that? Thankfully she spends all her alone time reading science fiction books so she knows just how to take care of an alien invasion.  

This is Zeke Tyler, our John Bender. He’s repeating his senior year, apparently because he spends all his study time selling homemade drugs and bootleg VHS tapes in the school parking lot. He’s also trying to start some Mary Kay Letourneau/Vili Fualaau action with Miss Burke, his teacher.

This is Marybeth Louise Hutchinson, a new student. If she were to have a Breakfast Club equivalent, I guess it would be some new annoying student who ruins everyone else’s life. She is boring, so it’s only natural that she gloms on the Zeke, our resident bad boy.

Now you know the players, so on with our story.

Here’s Casey and his science teacher, Jon Stewart, admiring the new animal Casey found on the football field. I hope teacher doesn’t dumbly reach his hand into the fish tank and get his body taken over by aliens. 

Oh man, something is bad wrong here. If you ever see a public school teacher looking happy and NOT beaten down by life, you should run as fast as you can.

John Stewart is the first teacher to be taken down by Zeke’s homemade, I don’t know, meth? Our heroes can now escape to Zeke’s garage where they can score, I mean, get more of his homemade drugs to fight the aliens. 

Delilah isn’t having any of this hero business, because she’s already been taken over by aliens! Twist. OK, everyone else, let’s head back to school and see if we can’t find out who the queen alien is and kill her. Things are not going well back at the high school.

Need your suspicions confirmed that high school athletes are the worst people ever? Here you are.

Things are not going well for Zeke’s lady crush, Miss Burke either. At least they can’t commit any felonies with most of her body missing.

Marybeth why are you naked?

Because she’s the alien queen! Burn it with fire! Or offer her some of Zeke’s homemade crack. And it works! Everything goes back to better than normal, and if the characters were going to write a final Breakfast Club like letter I think it would go something like this:

Dear Everyone,
We accept that we had to sacrifice our principal, two teachers, and some of our closest friends to fend off an alien invasion. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the past weeks.

We learned a dumb jock and a science fiction geek can fall in love if he quits the football team and she stops dressing like there was a sale at Hot Topic. 

The head cheerleader can love a nerd if he saves the world from aliens first.

 I guess we learned everyone will look the other way on Zeke and Miss Burke’s relationship because he’s a graduating senior, but some of us still find it gross.

 But I guess the biggest lessons we’ve learned are to always be wary of outsiders, and when life hands you problems, they can be solved with drugs. Lots of drugs.

A bit of trivia: The Faculty was Usher’s film debut, so we’ll leave you with Usher, looking like a thespian. 

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