Reviewed by Sean Lloyd
Rating: 5 Beans
his movie is what I like to call the "Taxi Driver" syndrome. What happens is a filmmaker will make a great film and it follow the film up with a complete piece of shit or a couple of pieces of shit. Martin Scorcese did this when he followed up Taxi Driver with New york, New york. Now John Singleton does it with this stereotype-driven epic.
In Higher Learning, John Singleton makes a film which tries too hard to deliever a message by giving the characters a bunch of catagories they would fit into, then fills his script with an assload of cliches for the characters to recite. The movie takes place at Columbus University where a bunch of Freshman's lives are about to be changed by the struggles they are about to face. take Kristy Swanson's character(who's name escapes my mind), she is a middle-class, cornbred white, Orange County kid
who looks hot. While she thinks she has depth, everybody in SoCal knows(myself a native of Orange County)that when a girl loks hot in Southern California, she doesn't have depth. Well, anyways she gets date raped by some stupid frat boy.(First rule of college ladies, when a frat boy takes you to be alone in his room, he doesn't want to show you his CD collection.) She goes back to her room where her black roommate calls the guy to chew him out. Once she is called a nigger, she gets her thug friends(led by Ice Cube as a stupid, pseudo-Malcolm X) to beat the guy up. Now I'm not saying this guy didn't have it coming, but they don't beat the guy up because he is a rapist, but because he is a racist.
This is my problem with the movie, the stupidity of every character in the film except Larry Fishburne(who fucking rocks). The rape sequence is only the one of the scenes of the racial difficulty theme in this movie. Take Malik, played by Omar Epps, a freshman on a track scholarship. Not to get off on a tangent, but is Omar Epps the black Charlie Sheen. He has been in nothing but movies that have been complete shit(Juice, Major league II, The Program). Anyways he plays a character who complains about the racial difficulty in the world, but prides himself on his ignorance in every scene he is in. When he is talking to his girl(Tyra Banks, Yeah, Baby!)he says, "Me, black man. You, black woman." Way to state the fucking obvious, Einstein with that "Me, Tarzan. You Jane" bullshit. Or when he calls Fishburne's character an Uncle Tom for giving him a bad grade.(Yo, Malik. He's a teacher, dickhead. He's not supposed to give you a good grade because your black. You must earn that shiznit, holmes.)I took great pleasure in seeing Fishburne giving Malik a verbal smackdown for that comment. The other scene that makes his ignorance stand out is when Tyra gets shot. He doesn't try to save her life by running to a phone to call an ambulance, but runs after Remy(almost forgot about this retard)to beat the shit out of him. To add insult to ingury, he hangs out with other stupid students like Ice Cube and Busta Rhymes who are on some Black man vs. America rampage.
Malik looks like a fucking member of Mensa compared to Remy,(played by Michael Rappaport). Rappaort is a kid I almost feel sympathy because he is an outcast. Almost being the key word. Once he starts hanging out with skinheads, he becmes a gun-toting racist who uses racist terms about every other word, I feel Remy is a complete moron who 's only in life is to make a complete fool out of himself for the idiotic "white power" movement. All I have to say to parents is don't send your kids to Columbus U. because it makes your kids stupider.
While the movie plays the race card throughout the movie, it makes a half-assed attempt to deal with other social themes. Date Rape, homosexuality, police prejudice, and the most important, frat stupudity also play roles in the film, but solutions to these problems are difficult. I do have a solution for the racism that was dealt with in this film. After Remy pulls a gun on Malik, Malik gets his "posse" to beat the shit out of the skinheads. If you really want to combat racism in America, you don't beat the shit out of morons. What Malik's crew should have done was approach the skinheads, give them hugs and tell them, "I love you my bigoted, vanilla skinned brothers." Then ask them if they had any sisters(not sistas) they could date. That will confuse any racist because let's face it, most racist aren't too bright(especially in this craphole of a movie.)
On a scale of one to ten Beans I have to give a 5 for two reasons. One is the excellence Larry Fishburne displays in the thespian craft. He's the only person in the movie who is interesting. The other is you can amuse yourself by doing an MST3K imitation with this film. Let me give you a few examples of this: When Malik confronts Remy after Remy was making racial slurs to him, yell out "Booty Call' because it looks like they're about to have some hot sex. When Swanson is making a speech about being raped at a feminist rally, there's a sign that says, "Dead Men don't rape". Respond by saying "Where's the dead women don't say no sign" then run like hell before the women kick the shit out of your smart-ass. One other scene is when Swanson and Jennifer Connelly are about to make out(Why Singleton didn't focus on this scene more is a real shame) there is an edit to where you see Swanson making out to the guy she likes. When Swanson is making out with Connelly chant, "we want lesbians" then when the guy comes on chant "bring back the girl." While watching the movie, find other scenes that you can make fun of because I'm not giving away all of my lines.
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