Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fantasia Day 16 - High School

High School has been announced as the next big new teen stoner comedy. The writer was there to introduce it and he made a lot of hullabaloo about how many people were stoned and general pot worship. Got lots of cheering but it felt kind of forced to me. It was a foreshadowing of what was to come because while High School is a fairly entertaining, even heartwarming move and fairly successful overall, it has one major failing: the dope humour sucks! I don't know if the writers aren't actually stoners or if they worked it to make it appeal to non-stoners, but the portrayal of people being high was right out of Reefer Madness.

The uptight honour rolls student ends up smoking pot for the first time with his old elementary school best buddy who is now the school burn-out. Because a spelling bee champion was busted for weed, the super uptight principal (a great performance by Michael Chiklis) decided to drug test the entire campus, coincidentally the day after the protagonist takes his first toke. Seeing his entire future about to derail, he and the stoner decide to try and get the entire campus stoned. Hijinks ensue.

It's a great premise and the film has a ton of energy and a great cast of wacky side characters (my favourite were the competing valedictorian who played it menacingly competitive like a character out of Brick and the math teacher). Unfortunately, instead of real stoner humour they just seemed to go for random wackiness. For instance, the uptight computer teacher rambles out loud to her class that she masturbates with a glass dildo thinking of Bryan Adams. And then says "did I say that out loud?'. Sort of funny, but nothing a stoned person would ever do. There is a random car crash where the drug dealers (from whom the heroes stole the power-weed to get the school high) encounter the spelling bee stoner and they all just say "what". It's sort of clever, but it has no context and again none of them really seem like stoners. Even worse, as the day goes on, the only real examples of the student body being high are people just sort of lolling around eating the pot brownies. I don't demand absolute logical consistency, but when you get an entire high school really, really baked chaos is going to ensue. I was hoping for something more along the lines of Rock and Roll High School, but instead the funniest, most stoned thing is one kid who spends the entire day trying to find the administration office where he is supposed to bring the attendance list.

Here is an example of one small spot where they got it right. The calculus teacher is writing an equation on the board and obsessing about the way he has written the three. Then he changes 3/3 to a 1 and then he steps back and looks at the equation and it starts totally blowing his mind HOW AWESOME IT IS. It was only a brief second but that moment perfectly captured how a calculus professor, high for the first time might suddenly look at the equation (that basically describes how things change through time) and realize how totally insanely mind-blowing that was. Imagine him then turning to the class and maybe looking over at the one super math geek whose mind is also being blown by the equation and then both of them looking at each other and completely vibing on the total awesomeness of calculus and the teacher going "Duuuuuuude! Isaac Newton." and then the student pointing back and going "Isaac Newton" and then both of them totally cracking up.

Not that I would know anything about any of that stuff.

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