Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I Am an Accepted Apologist
I am a little ways away from returning to Chicago for my sophomore year of college. I watched the application process happen up close two years ago when I was a junior in high school, went through it myself a year later, have watched friends go through it in the past year, and now my younger brother is just entering the cycle of doom for himself.
I didn't think it was that stressful when I went through it, but looking back on applying to college and that whole process, I hate it with a passion. I'm mostly upset that two years of my academic life in high school was not centered around learning material, but trying to look good to colleges on applications. I think it robs you of some freedom, a lot of fun, and the ability to relax and enjoy some potentially really good years.
Before the tornado really got going at the beginning of my senior year of high school, Accepted came out at the end of August 2006. It was light, funny, but not a great film. What was great about it was the message and the feeling of the film. It wasn't a pressure-cooker of college fright stories, it was exactly the attitude towards applying to college and going to college that those with too much pressure in the college process needed to see and hear. If I had it my way I'd show it to every rising high school senior in the country as a relaxation tool.
Justin Long is great as a lead in Accepted. He works better on the fringes of films like Dodgeball and Live Free or Die Hard, but here the same character works as the center of the story. His character Bartleby doesn't get into college anywhere, and decides to create his own to fool his parents. Trust me, no matter how sure someone is that they will get into college somewhere, they all have a fear of not getting in anywhere. I always just plain enjoyed the premise, because it was a passing thought I never gave much creedence to, but Accepted fleshed out the fantasy with reasonable success.
Jonah Hill has perhaps his best performance outside of Superbad in this film as well. I'd put this over Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, and even his hilarious bit part in The 40-Year-Old Virgin just for his likeability. Along the lines of bit parts, a before Gossip Girl-fame Blake Lively plays Bartleby's love interest, and she isn't half bad. It even has Lewis Black as the dean of the made up college, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, making their college regalia emblazoned with SHIT.
The plot doesn't really make sense when parents, a Harvard-esque college looking to expand its campus, and a few too many students get involved, but for light-hearted fun that has a good message about college acceptace it's pretty good. The film resonated with me at the perfect time in my life, and too far on either side of that window I think the film wouldn't work if you saw it for the first time. I definitely reccommend it to anyone about to start applying to college, or someone who's just gone through it.