Sunday, May 24, 2015

Silent Sundays: College (1927)


“The student who wastes his time on athletics rather than study shows only ignorance.”

            As much as I struggled in school I always valued it. I value all the knowledge I have gained from classes over the years no matter how boring the subject. I look at the boring subjects as something I did not know before so it is a bonus. If I will ever use it again only God knows.
            One night my mom had some friends over. Her one friend has a son who was still in college but he was already drafted by a major league baseball team to play for them as a pitcher. I was curious to see what he declared as a major since obviously baseball was more important than academics. He just looked me dead in the eye in all seriousness and said “baseball.” I kid you not a now major league baseball player who has pitched for two teams so far told me he majored in baseball with all the seriousness in the world. I guess I should not judge him for that though I mean he is a professional pitcher. He did, however, tell me that he was taking a lot of anthropology classes because those classes fit his schedule around baseball practice.
            I think students who do athletics plus are fantastic at academics are amazing. They were always the type of student I wanted to be. I would dream of being on the track team even though I could not (and still cannot) run to the mailbox down the block without being winded. I dreamed I getting straight As but I could never sit down and do my homework without getting frustrated (to be fair to myself I went undiagnosed with ADHD up until I was twenty-six). There was one type of student I never dreamed of being or wanted to be and that was the athletes who were full of themselves, did poorly in academics, were the dumbest of dumbs the world ever crapped out, and were “popular” for god knows what reason. I may have even hated the students who liked those asshat jocks more than the jocks themselves.
            All this rambling about academics and sports and school is relevant to this Silent Sunday post I promise. For this edition of Silent Sundays I watched a Buster Keaton film called College. I bet you can already kind of tell what the story of this film is going to be about based off my rant/observations.
            On the day of high school graduation it is pouring. Ronald (Keaton) and his mother walk through the rain without an umbrella for most of the way. Once at the graduation, like all the other boys in the class, Ronald only has eyes for the popular girl Mary Haynes. Since he is late he has to sit off to the side next to a heater. His clothes are soaked and from the heat they shrink. The principal of the school calls Ronald up to the stage since he is the best scholar in the school. Ronald manages to infuriate the entire class with his speech on how knowledge and school mean more than sports ever will. Mary is furious with him for his speech and tells Ronald that unless he changes his attitude about athletics she will never be with him. On the way home Ronald tells his mother that he wants to go to college. His mother tells him they have no money. Ronald however is determined to prove to Mary he can be an athlete and decides to work his way through school like all the other boys.
Image result for college 1927 film
Image result for college 1927 film
Image result for college 1927 film
Image result for college 1927 film
            The first day of college Ronald sees Mary. She just brushes him off and walks away. Once in his room he unpacks his one suitcase full of sports equipment with books on how to play baseball and do track and field. The Dean of the school comes to see Ronald. The high school principal has given a Ronald a glowing recommendation and the Dean is excited that maybe once and for all the school will be known for something other than athletics. As the Dean leaves the room, in walks Jeff the stupid athlete from his high school and all of Jeff’s sports friends. They look at Ronald like hungry lions looking forward to making him their next meal.
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            Ronald gives baseball a try first and that bombs very quickly. He is chosen to play third base. He lets the ball go right between his legs and barely knows how to throw. Next Ronald gives track and field a try. After much fumbling and creating chaos Ronald gives up.
            The Dean calls him into his office. Ronald has been failing his classes because he is focusing on sports. He confesses to the Dean that he loves a girl and the only way he can win her is if he can become good at sports. The Dean understands since he had lost a woman he loved over wanting to be a scholar. The coach for the rowing team comes in with a list of students he wants as potential coxswains (they are the ones who yell out orders why the others row). The Dean tells the coach to put Ronald on the team since he is smart and has the small build for sailing.
            The coach and the team are not happy with Ronald as their new teammate at all. The coach comes up with the idea to drug him so he cannot be in the race. Well this being a Buster Keaton film and a comedy from the 1920s Ronald manages to switch out the drinks either knowing it was drugged or because he is just really silly and wanted the other guy’s drink.
            You all should know that Ronald wins the race for the team after several silly mishaps. Unfortunately Mary was not there to see him win the race. Before the race Jeff went to Mary’s room to tell her that he has been expelled and he wants her to come away with him so they can get married. When she refuses he does not let her go until she says yes. In desperation Mary calls any number on the school’s telephone line. The call happens to go to the locker room where Ronald is and he picks up the phone. He hears Mary ask for help just before Jeff comes over and rips the phone out of her hands. With adrenaline running through his entire body from the race and hearing Mary in distress Ronald all the sudden has the athletic ability he had tried to possess when he arrived at the school. He jumps over hedges, pole vaults into Mary’s room on the second floor, and throws things right at Jeff like a baseball player or a discus thrower, and even bats some things away.
Image result for college 1927 film
Image result for college 1927 film
            Ronald saves Mary and the two of them get married in the church on campus  right away.
            College was a cute film. Of course there is more of Keaton’s high jinks and screwball antics than what I have written. The baseball and track and field scenes were a little too long for my attention span but they were funny enough. I felt bad that Ronald felt the pressure of being an athlete over a scholar but in the end he was the one who made the big guy feel like a small idiot. College is worth watching at least once. It is available to view in full on YouTube
Image result for college 1927 film