An interesting, funny, and sometimes weird look at college fraternity life
Mike Lahey has made an excellent debut documentary with Tugs Untied. This film won top honors at the 2000 Arizona International Film Festival and is worth watching. The film centers on the Pi Kappa Alpha ("Pikes") fraternity at Northern Illinois University and their quest to regain the inter-fraternity "Tugs" (Tug of War) title, which they had lost the year before for only the third time in 25 years.
This film is interesting because of the level of importance the fraternity members put on this event, funny (or perhaps pathetic) because of the fraternity alumni who come back looking to relive past glory, and weird due to the bunker mentality shared by many of the tuggers, which can pit them against even their fellow frat brothers. The crowd scenes and the level of euphoria/desperation seen on the faces of the winners and losers make the Tugs take on a level of intensity not generally seen in American sports. It is almost like watching a World Cup soccer match, that's how intense the action is to both the tuggers and the crowd. Tugs leader Chris Cosentino, while intense and totally committed to the cause, is a sympathetic figure who tries to have some perspective about things, despite the pressure put on him by both his fellow brothers and the alumni.
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