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|Index||27 reviews in total|
I am not going to bash this movie as many have done... I saw the movie,
and was think I set the bar too high. Without giving away too much of
the movie, I found that the acting was good, the story was different
from a "bottled, formulaic, Animal House-ish" rewrite college comedy.
It was smart, clever, and told a good tale, there was only a small amount of unanswered questions I had in my mind when it ended... I stared at the screen and said... "OK...it wasn't awful, it was .... well OK"
The bottom line is, I am not going to say it was a horrible movie, because it was not... I found that I was entertained by the movie, and they did not try to market it as a blockbuster.. A decent film, and not too far removed from what it was about.. trying to get tenure at a College.
"Tenure" is a comedy about college professors. It has its fair share of
problems, mainly that it has a really weak (in some cases false)
description of college life for professors. And its hard to call this a
The jokes are very sophomoric, you may laugh a little bit, but these jokes are for the lowest common denominator. I found it a very odd mix, since generally movies about academic professors are supposed to be more intelligent. Do not mistake this movie as intelligent. David Koechner (who I am generally not a big fan of) is in the main comedic role, he crosses the line from professor to student, and his jokes cross the line from decent to unacceptable.
That aside, the rest of the movie is a pretty good exploration of a smart, but insecure, 30-something guy. Luke Wilson is his usual, likable self, and I looked forward to the resolution for his character.
"Tenture" is not the smart, funny academic film that I was expecting (and that I think it was supposed to be), but I found a bit of myself in Luke Wilson's character and I was smiling at the end. If you ignore the promise of high comedy, this film can be enjoyed.
Charlie Thurber (Luke Wilson) is an English professor at a small, New England college. Although his students love and learn from him, his possible tenure is in doubt. This is because of the "publish or perish" unwritten law that is prevalent in American academia. So far, Charlie is having trouble getting his essays into an admired journal. To complicate things, his father is in an extended care facility nearby, due to early dementia, but, Charlie is not visiting him often enough. This has angered his sister and upset his dad, who was also a prof and likes to converse with his son. A colleague, Jay (David Koechner), an unorthodox science instructor in search of a bigfoot-type local monster, is also up for tenure. Now, the dean lures a Yale-educated English academic, Elaine Grasso (Gretchen Mol) to the department, further complicating Charlie's quest for tenure. Jay suggests that the two males mildly "sabotage" Elaine's adjustment to the school, by arranging to make her look bad in front of others, especially the dean. This involves everything from implicating her in a "cola" theft in the staff room to questioning her school loyalty at the college basketball game, where Elaine inadvertently sat on the opposing team's side. But, wait, does Charlie really want to drive Elaine away, since she's so smart and pretty and he's single? For those who love comedy-romance, here is another sweet view. Wilson's dry, understated humor is always welcome while Mol is a lovely romantic interest. The rest of the cast, including Koechner, are wonderfully supportive. The beautiful east coast college campus will surely bring sighs of admiration and the costumes, script, photography, and steady direction are quite fine as well. Get Tenure, therefore, all you usual fan suspects.
I found this movie hilarious. I came across it on Cinemax. I had never heard of it; but I found myself laughing all the way through. Whoever wrote it is a genius. The boyfriend from Yale always plays funny parts; i.e. Reno 911 & Eastbound and Down. Whenever I see him in anything, I start laughing before he speaks. I know he is going to be funny. I haven't seen Luke Wilson in anything lately, and I know he is a funny actor. He is very monotonous, but the looks on his face are what kill me. And David Koechner acting like an idiot is also something you can always count on. He is crazy. I saw him on Funny or Die in skits called Men of unquiet desperation, or something like that. He played a parking attendant, and I could not stop laughing. He is also someone who makes me laugh before he even starts speaking.
This movie was not written for a mass market. It was and is a labor of
love. It's narrow cast audience will know who they are. I say, Give
this movie a chance, and you may end up laughing out loud a number
times as I did, along with a good number of knowing chuckles.
I felt the movie overall, was very well done in many aspects of film making. In all, a joy for me. I'd say anyone remotely affiliated with University life, and an open mind, will have a lot of fun watching this movie, and an enjoyable experience.
I'm sorry I'm not as erudite describing the movie from a technical perspective, as some of the other reviewers, but I just had to write out my feelings about this Gem of a movie.
Thanks to the producers, to MIke Million, and the well cast actors for making this movie! Thanks to ALL who were involved in making it!! Thank You!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I already knew from "You Kill Me" that there are gems in the presumably
purgatorial straight-to-Blockbuster pipeline, and my guess from the
"Tenure" cover art that the marketers just didn't know what to do with
Mike Million's directorial debut (of his own screenplay). The
Blockbuster page for this one lists "no similar movies..." which sums
it up pretty well.
Although Million is obviously a fan of Wes Anderson - from the music to a for-the-initiated "cacaw" - and though the Wilson-and-Koechner combo (and the college setting) may have renters hoping for something familiarly debauched and "zany", he resists visiting those well-traveled extremes, as well as the dead spots and emotional browbeating of the small-and-heartfelt-indie-comedy genre.
"Tenure" is funny without relying on, say, Will Ferrell running around naked. It is heartfelt without a drop of treacle, and a "loser-finds-his-bliss" comedy whose hero (and even his 'wacky friend') have a quiet self-respect which suffuses the entire film.
No one will be surprised at this point in Hollywood history to see a Bigfoot obsession mined for laughs, or for an adult son to drop in on his father's nursing home and catch some old-people sex. But leave it, apparently, to Mike Million to deliver these goods in ways that we haven't quite seen before (and deliver the news that David Koechner can really act. Bob Gunton, aka the warden from Shawshank Redemption, also displays layers I do not personally remember seeing before. I will now await him as I do the Philip Baker Halls...) There are undoubtedly those who will accuse Tenure of not quite knowing what it wanted to be. But for anyone starting to see in every new movie merely echoes of its ancestors (am I the only person in the world who found "Avatar" long, tedious and way too predictable?) it was nice to see that Mike Million knew well the various territories on which he was in danger of encroaching, and deftly walked a difficult path between them. If everything in Tenure was familiar, nothing in it was tiresome or clichéd. Which takes real courage to attempt, and a real, veteran-like talent to pull off.
If you watch this movie and feel that it did not quite deliver enough "Old School," or on the other hand enough "Rushmore," blame your conditioned expectations and watch it again. You'll realize you didn't want it to - and that it delivered something else. Real restraint. Real characters. Real dignity - even Bigfoot gets respect in this movie. And some real one-upping of the kind of punchline (Gunton's "plastic knife" line comes to mind) that you could have sworn could no longer be memorably/freshly conceived or delivered on screen.
Then - since it's too late for him to punch up Avatar - you'll start wondering what familiarities Million is going to make unfamiliar next.
I was actually pleasantly surprised. For some reason, I find many comedies produced lately virtually painful to watch. I was wondering if this movie would be the same... I found it to be completely refreshing; great cast, quirky characters. May be not so over-the-top impressive characters but the main characters were very likable. Luke Wilson seems like a decent actor, in this movie I felt that I was seeing a person, so I felt more connected to his role than some of his other roles. I loved the "Bigfoot" characters. And I liked the ending, too-- good but not too good to be true. I also like to comment on the theme, getting tenure. I am a university assistant professor and the process is all that and more. It is a nerve-racking process. I will stop here because there is too much detail that goes into this, which would be of no interest to the general reader. The movie did do a decent job of showing some aspects of the system yet with a great sense of humor.
This film was a delight to watch, but did get slow at parts. At parts you did feel a little bored, but something would come up to get your attention back for a bit. It had light humor, but it was a nice chuckle and relaxing. The cast in the film was pretty good. Luke Wilson was decent, but not his best role. Now they needed an actor to play a off the wall weird teacher who is obsessed with bigfoot. So they picked David Koechner, who at first I thought wouldn't fit, but he proved me wrong. Gretchen Mol played the main female role and she did a good job. The film is all about a teacher trying to get tenure. That in itself sounds like a boring piece of work, but luckily they did put some humor in the film. That is basically what David Koechner was for. Some scenes were a bit out of the ordinary, but it really fit with the film. This independent film didn't rely on anything crazy like special effects. Just nice dialog and a decent cast. This would be one of those nice Sunday afternoon movies to watch.
You know those movies featuring a total loser who's doing so bad that it actually becomes embarrassing? They're probably aimed at making us feel better about ourselves, the real losers, out there in that strange dimension called reality-land, trying to cheer us up that every loser can strike a happy ending and somehow, thanks to Hollywood magic, turn winner again... Well, "Tenure" is one of those, with the relatively fresh twist that our "hero" is a college teacher. He's great at teaching, but not really good at anything else. His students love him, but his colleagues hate him. Plus, his best friend falls into the category of "With friends like that, who needs enemies?" It's got heart, though, and though this film is by no means guaranteed to knock your socks off, if the same thing can be said of you, I mean, the "heart" thing, then you might like it. Especially if you've ever been in a situation trying to figure out how to get through to members of the younger generation, or you believe in Bigfoot, or you happen to like Gretchen Mol...
Smart little film about a college teacher (Wilson) facing tenure review. He's a great teacher but has barely been published and is not enough of a politician. Along comes a new assistant professor (Mol) from Yale of all places, and now he's facing competition. His best buddy, a slightly deranged anthropology teacher (Koechner), convinces him to sabotage the new arrival at every turn. Problem is, the new arrival is unsure of herself and the two "competitors" become friends. Wilson is perfect in his role, and Koechner is wonderfully daffy as a Sasquatch worshiper. Mol is pretty, but truthfully isn't given that much to do. There's a nice ongoing bit about Wilson's character and his aging dad (Gunton), who unhappily resides in a nursing home. Filmed on the campus of Bryn Mawr. Very relaxed, nothing artificial, nothing forced, to the very end.
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