The Paper Chase -- Guest review by Manmeet (September 22, 2001)
Opinionated Editor's Note: The people who watched this movie were engaged in what geeks would call "MST3K-ing" it, but since none of them are geeks none of them would know what that means.
I saw this movie last night with a bunch my fellow first year law students at U Vic. Why you ask? Being law students, we had heard about this movie from our profs who joked that U Vic was not “that kind of school” you know the kind, where people rip pages out of library books so no one else will be able to get the information.
This movie takes place at Harvard Law school in Boston, where apparently, it’s always snowing, or at least according to this movie. The characters are often seen outside, in the snow, wearing very large parkas. A really good scene is where the main character is walking on top of a frozen lake and then falls into the water below, he starts to struggle to get out, and then pulls his girlfriend into the water with him. He then discovers that the water was really only 3 feet deep!
Anyway this movie must have been made in the 70’s, because all the men had longish hair and the main character, who’s first name we don’t know, but his last name is Hart, has long, thick curly hair. Not just that, it’s uncombed for most of the movie, and he’s also got nice thick sideburns and that’s not enough, he’s also got a mustache, which one person remarked, looked like a brillo pad. The reason we don’t know the characters first names is because in the context of the law school, everyone is Mr. Hart or Mr. Ford…there are also very few women in this law school, for some strange reason…
The main female character was Hart’s girlfriend, but they definitely had a strange relationship…one scene of the movie shows Hart watching the woman painting her house through the windows, he then decides to knock on the patio doors and when she opens the door, Hart simply says: “I saw your light was on”. The next scene shows the “couple” in bed…at this point, they’ve had only one date, that we know of, which happens before this “encounter”.
Throughout the movie, we kept making remarks about the character’s wardrobe, which appeared to have been chosen by someone either with no sense of style, or a wicked sense of humor. Ford is continually wearing a bow tie and tweed jacket, even to go studying with Hart. And there are several scenes where Hart is wearing only his underwear, to which one of us remarked, “at least he’s not wearing tightie-whities”
There’s a really funny scene where Hart is going to the Contract prof’s wine and cheese type party. Hart walks into the room, doesn’t speak to anyone as he enters, and walks straight towards the liquor table and proceeds to pour himself a glass. He then heads over to his fellow study group members, and Ford asks if Hart has said “hi” to the prof yet, and Hart replies that no, he was waiting for the crowd to dissipate around the prof, to which Ford (or someone else? I don’t remember) says no, that crowd is not for the prof, but for his daughter. Cut to the daughter sitting in a leather chair, who also happens to be Hart’s “girlfriend”! Of course, Hart didn’t know this before and gets mad at the woman, accusing her of lying when she gave him a different last name as the prof, to which she remarks, no, that’s her real last name, she’s married! But of course, her divorce is in the works…we later discover that her husband was a law student…
Other critiques we had about the movie:
The main characters seem to only have one class, Contract Law.
The girlfriend seems to have no job, other than sleeping with her father’s students…she also gets dumped (badly) by Hart and yet keeps sleeping with him…
The ending made no sense, given the amount of effort Hart had put into his first year…
The absolute funniest scene in the movie is another one which seems to have no point, where Hart and one of the study group members are going swimming at the pool. Aside from the VERY funny teeny-tiny Speedos, they attempt to dive into the water, but instead do the most hysterical belly flops!
Another really good scene is when one of the study group members gets mad at the others and calls them all “pimps” and proceeds to quit the group.