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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> January 2000 >> The Freshman

The Freshman

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
January 2000
IMDB Name:
Freshman, The (1990)
Andrew Bergman
comedy, crime
MPAA Rating:

Rare Creature

I am among the few people who have gone through life not having seen The Godfather or The Godfather: Part II. These movies have left an indelible mark on American culture, but I can't tell you why just yet. Fortunately, that does not prevent me from enjoying The Freshman, a clever movie that allows Marlon Brando to reprise Don Vito Corleone without actually playing the part. The movie is clever because it makes fun of its connections to these classics by featuring scenes from Part II in a class at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Characters even repeatedly comment on the remarkable resemblance Carmine Sabatini bears to... somebody. Ironically, I saw a dialogue coach for Brando in the credits, making me wonder why he needs help to perform one of his most famous roles.

Ferris Redux

I may not have seen any of the Godfather series, but I've certainly seen Matthew Broderick in previous movies like WarGames, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Biloxi Blues. It is particularly amusing that he gives Clark some of the same mannerisms as Ferris because his character is easy to see as Ferris plus a few months and minus the mischief. Broderick's projection of innocence makes his scenes with Brando and Penelope Ann Miller a joy. And as I will now probably always do when mentioning Broderick, I would like to recommend Election in case you haven't seen it yet.

Cast Trivia

Paul Benedict appears in The Freshman as a rather pompous film school professor, and Bruno Kirby as a mob guy. Both appeared in the classic This Is Spinal Tap. Benedict was the hotel clerk and Kirby was the limo driver, both of whom are none too fond of the way the members of Spinal Tap treat them. Jon Polito and Richard Gant are teamed here as Fish and Wildlife officials, but they were also both in The Big Lebowski as a private eye and a cop, respectively.

And then there's Bert Parks, who plays himself even though he's never mentioned by name. Parks is partially famous as the emcee for the Miss America Pageant. For twenty-five years, he sang "There she is, Miss America" at the conclusion of the program. The Freshman is the last entry in his filmography, and it's nice to know that he had a sense of humor about his fame to the end.

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Copyright 2000-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.