Terribly Awesome!: The Faculty

Just another Manic Monday? Wish it was Sunday? Nothing beats a case of the Mondays like a camp-out. And we ain't talkin' s'mores, sing-a-longs and psycho killers. We're talking about getting in touch with your guilty pleasure zone. That's right, every Monday we'll be bringing you the best of the worst. It's gonna be awesome - and terrible! - all at the same time.

Photo: Movieposter.com

Although I consider myself to be a Cinefille, I have to admit there is one genre that I can hardly bear to browse when I hit the videostore/local megaplex: sci-fi. With the exception of my first favourite movie, E.T., the space cowboys awesomeness of Firefly/Serenity and of course, the Alien series, I find it really hard to take any movie that goes where no non-NASA earth resident has gone before seriously. Especially when said movie takes place in said space. But things get a bit more complicated when sci-fi flicks co-mingle with the one genre I live, breath and spend every single Christmas gift-card on: terrible late 90s teen dramedies.

No movie has made my sci-fi-terrified mind more confused than the epicness that is The Faculty. At most schools, the only thing terrifying the non-staff members is the tedious number of extra-curriculars they need to get into their choice college. But at Herrington High, things are getting downright extra-terrestorial. More specifically, body-stealing creepy crawlies are taking over the principals, teachers and various other staff members and make a group of totally unrelated students want to make like The Breakfast Club. Wait, it gets worse. The actors playing said students include Usher (yes, that Usher), Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster and a couple random chicks that never really did anything else you'd remember! And the teachers? Salma Hayek, that creepy dude from Terminator 2, Jon Stewart (yes, that Jon Stewart) and Jean Grey (I mean, Famke Janssen). It's time for a lesson in out-of-this-world awesome. Or it is awful?

Why it's terrible:

- It's called The Faculty.

- It doesn't have an original bone in it's structurally shaky bod. It's essentially Invasion of the Body Snatchers in high school. Or Scream with aliens. Or The Thing with sun and raging hormones.

- Usher, who is hardly in the movie and gets offed in the first half-hour, is on the poster, and Shawn Hatosy gets jipped (see above).

- Josh Harnett's eyebrows are in full caterpillar mode. You almost want them to pull out a hookah and start blowing out vague smoke sentences.

(Dude needs a pluck buddy.)

- Clea Duvall plays the same character she plays in every late 90s teen comedy/romance/horror movie - the self-loathing goth chick whose hair hasn't been washed in three months.

(Grease is the word of the day.)

- In general, the characters are ripped out of every other cliques-come-together-to-fight-the-system flick. There's the nerdy dude who ends up saving everybody's back in the end (Elijah Wood), the jock who knows more than you think (Shawn Hatosy), the popular girl who's really misunderstood (Jordana Brewster), the innocent blonde new girl who's more badass than she seems (Laura Harris)...

- Jordana Brewster's alleged popularity has to do with her being the head cheerleader - and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper! Sure, sure - says the journalism major/former high-school floater.

- The aliens are the least creepy ever. They're big thing? They like, totally need water to live. Like the steroid-filled walking fish from that lame Season 2 ep of Buffy. Or you know, just super-thirsty town creepers who like to sleep-walk into the middle of the sprinkler system and stock the coffee cupboard with bottled water.

(H20h no!)

- Also, their big post-kill line? "I've always wanted to do that."

- Like most 14A horror psycho killer/teen dynamics, the aliens' kryptonite is way too convenient for our band of mismatched heroes to find. I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill the super-surprising plot for you.

- Even the Microsoft Word titles try too hard to be creepy (hello bright red horror-themed font!) - and they're just playfully introducing the characters over an alterna-pop song!

(Bloody great Microsoft Word Art!)

Why it's awesome:

- The tagline? Come to your teacher.

- The soundtrack is full of light-metal bands covering classic rock anthems - a must for any 90s slasher. See: "I'm Eighteen" by Creed and "School's Out" by Soul Asylum.

- The script is hopelessly referential - and written by Scream/Vampire Diaries/Dawson's Creek scribe, Kevin Williamson. He names drops just about every movie he's borrowing from - and more (Say hello to Schindler's List and Party of Five!).

- Did I mention Usher Raymond has a minor part?!

(He's gonna make love in this science club...)

- One of Usher's lines includes the words, "Anal probe." RACY!

- Opening line of the movie : "Get off the field you fucking blow jobs!"

- Second line: (Football coach to Shawn Hatosy's footballer character who's practicing for the next big game) "You're gonna be dead Friday night!" TOTALLY.

- As per usual, Robert Patrick is perfectly overtly stoic with his facial expressions.

(I'll terminate you - with my lazer gaze!)

- They introduce Josh Harnett's supposedly badass character by having him purposely park his car across three parking spots. Subtle, baby. Subtle.

- They introduce Elijah's supposedly super-loner nerd by having him strung up his underwear and cry alone in the bathroom. And if those cliches weren't enough to hammer the point home, they give you "Eating Lunch Alone" (actual scene title) - a wideshot of him eating a sammie by himself in the empty bleachers set to some overdramatic instrumental.

(All by my elf...)

- Three words: Frodo gets high!

(Lord of the homemade drug rings.)

- Casey doesn't get mad when his dad eventually rummages through his room, looking for a drug stash (of course, they don't believe a word of this teachers are from another planet, nonsense). But he gets totally high-pitched when his dad rips his textbook open. "That's government property!"

- Salma Hayek plays a not-so-sexy school nurse. Before she goes alien, she refuses to stay home, even though she's coughing and sneezing all over her patients. She says she's "saving [her] sick days for when [she's] feels better."

- This dude's face, as he waits to get treated by Nurse Salma.

- The foreshadowing is out of control. Jon Stewart's science teacher character sarcastically suggests that he should put a pen in his eye to get Salma's attention (he's crushing big time) and a few scenes later...

(Eye told you so.)

- Stokely (Duvall) to Jordana Brewster's incessant insinuation that she only wears black (true) and is hot for the ladies (not-so-true): "Fuck you, gutter slut!
- Clea's reaction to the final reveal: "NO. FUCKING. WAY!" Spoken like a true, minor-star-becomes-B-movie heroine.

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