The Faculty (1998) School Hard

Cover of "The Faculty"
Cover of The Faculty

 

Directed by Robert Rodriguez The Faculty is a great picture that pokes fun at the relationships and politics in an average American high school. Even the location of the school is set in a state that is synonymous with average, Ohio.

The cast list for The Faculty is impressive, Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Laura Harris, Clea Duvall, Selma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Robert Patrick, Piper Laurie, and Jon Stewart. Despite the heavy calibre of actors that Rodriguez worked with, at no time does the film lose its ensemble feel.

Rodriguez’s film has a very tongue-in-cheek feel to it from start to finish. And the film has not only aged well, but, it doesn’t lose anything with repeated viewings. I estimate that I’ve seen this film at least ten to twenty times and still get a kick out of it. Of course that could just be me.

The film opens with the football coach throwing a fit at his practicing football players. He shouts demeaning things at them as they depart the field to hit the showers. The coach (Robert Patrick) then turns the water bench over and stomps on one of the field’s water sprinklers. He kneels down and we see the shadow of someone approaching. “Yeah?” Coach asks snottily, “What.”

The next time we see the coach he is acting much differently. He corners the principal in her office, after asking her for a pencil, he then shoves it through her hand. After he takes it back out, he murmurs, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Piper Laurie says the same thing when she stabs the principal later with a pair of scissors. As the title suggests whatever is going on at this school, it started with the faculty.

The rest of the film deals with an alien parasite invasion that completely takes over the school staff and is in danger of taking over not only the school, but the entire town. This film is a perfect example of why Rodriguez is such a good director. The story doesn’t lag and the pace is not so fast as to leave you gasping. Everything dovetails together perfectly.

Each character in the film is presented in a way to pull us, the audience, in. We feel an immediate empathy for these school kids who all remind us of kids we went to school with. The same can be said for the teaching staff. This is one film that has that perfect mix between script, actor and director. It is an eternal favourite in our house, in fact we just finished watching it again.

So if you haven’t got anything better to do, pop yourself some corn, open up a Coke or any other drink of your choice and watch it again.  I’ll bet you still enjoy it as much as the first time you watched it, or it you haven’t seen it before…What are you waiting for, go watch it.