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Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal


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๐ŸŽ™️ EPISODE 343: 03.29.2021
This is story is so impossibly dumb that watching it presented here, as a poor man's version of an Errol Morris film (complete with the patented speaking-directly-into-the-camera interview technique alongside the reenactments), only adds to the utter WTF feeling normal human beings will inevitably get when they learn about the brazen and equal parts stupid/evil details of this scandal. In terms of isolating all the myriad levels and methods of stupid/evil and blasting them out for all to see, this works. As a movie, however, this is kind of a hot mess. I have warm feelings for Matthew Modine–who plays the scandal's architect, Rick Singer–and I hope he got paid handsomely for this work here, but literally anyone could have "phoned in" a similar performance and would have been just as fine, if not better given the fact seeing Modine's bad haircut for ninety minutes was distracting. And yes, my use of "phoned in" there has double meaning because 100% of these reenactments are just Matthew Modine talking on his cellphone.
If you think about why you use reenactments as a documentary tool, it's often because there's something visually compelling or dramatic about the story. In this case, the meat and potatoes is the vast phone transcripts (not phone recordings) of this sprawling legal case. I suppose there's no great way to convey that information and so having Matthew Modine do an assortment of household tasks whilst talking on a cellphone was the chose solution here, but it's not incredibly compelling! What it amounts to is, essentially, slightly altered versions of the same conversation as he speaks to various CEOs, C-level actresses and other shitheads of the very, if not super rich American elite class, over and over again. People are quick to label Rick Singer as a conman, and I'm not saying he ain't. But the only interesting part about this film is how ready and willing these rich scumbags were to go along with the con knowing full well that it was a fraud from the word go. So while this is not a great film, it's subject is still fascinating enough to hold your interest and stir your anger.

(PS. In the audio portion, I started to talk about the bloated title of this thing, but don't think I ever finished my thought. What I wanted to say is that the subtitle here is such a bad, tacked-on addition for SEO/algorithms. It's not used onscreen during the film. It's a minor complaint, but it still sucks. OK bye.)

✏️ POSTED: 03.29.2021




CHRONOLOGICALLY
EPISODE 342 - (YOU ARE HERE) - EPISODE 343B ⫸

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