Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Classic VHS review: PCU starring Jeremy Piven

I picked this VHS tape up off eBay for a whopping $15. I think I might've been scammed at that price, but it was the only copy for sale I could find floating around on the web.


I was watching David Spade on YouTube and his appearance on the Bad Friends podcast when I realized I'm a big fan of his, including from his character (portrayal) on the sitcom "Rules of Engagement."

I used to wander the street of Manhattan while I was in between jobs back around 2016 and I once found myself sitting in a comfy booth seat at a local diner I usually didn't go to. The reason why I never went to this particular place is because there was always construction going on right around the entrance, so it was kind of annoying. I remember, though, the food was good. I usually ordered a pizza burger. Anyways... the one afternoon I found myself there alone and the TV screens had on re-runs of "Rules of Engagement," my favorite. I finished up with some coffee and a linzer tart and headed back home.

I had seen parts of this movie way back during my own college days. I watched it front to back the other day. The movie starts off with some cool music that I guess was a Steve Vai song with Jimi Hendrix vocal samples played over the top. It gives a cool vibe to introduce the viewer into the world of college.


The best parts of the movie are pretty much in the beginning of the film and my personal favorite scene is where we find Jeremy Piven sleeping inside his basement dorm. I like what happens when he wakes up.

Being that I was a "frat guy" myself I can confirm this movie is very accurate. I love college movies and this depiction is pretty spot-on to what I experienced while at college. Definitely the long afternoons wherein you're doing nothing, yet enjoying it. I enjoyed the scenes in the dorm hallways that also seem pretty accurate to what I remember. I also liked the quest that one character goes on to retrieve kegs and how he gets lost on the way. I found myself in similar situations, particularly when he misreads the old lady's lips when she is asking for directions to campus.

The whole preppy frat vs. outsiders frat subplot is decent, and I also liked how the main character finds himself in between two prospective recruiting frats. I'd say this type of scenario is accurate in several ways. In my experience, the two frats could've probably united against the administration at some point if they were really going for a perfect movie in terms of real-life accuracy.

The love interest theme of the prospective freshman and the girl who hangs out at the frat was decent, though in reality I'd bet this guy wouldn't get the time of day, but hey... you never know. I think it could probably happen.


I also enjoyed how Jeremy Piven's character is a super senior who is balding. He's on his seventh year. These super seniors are usually pretty popular and I guess able to sway the opinion of the underclassmen at times so, again, pretty good.

I also enjoy the funk band element and whoever scored the movie and decided on the music did a good job as I alluded to previously. 

There are some cool guitars in this movie and I believe we see what couldn't be older than a 1993 Gibson SG with a beautiful blue and black finish, a guitar I'd love to play in the current era. We also see an explosive scene featuring what I think is a Gibson Les Paul, also a 93 or older.

The one character who sits and watches TV constantly is somewhat dated and would probably be replaced with a gamer or phone addict at this point, but I appreciated the concept. We had TV at college but I can't remember many marathon TV-watching sessions. There was usually too much going on to be stuck to a TV, which I guess was the point of this character. All the chaos unfolds around him.

I think we're in serious trouble when it comes to smart phones and I don't see any end in sight. I find reprieve from this modern era of technological overload by watching these old VHS tapes and I appreciate that PCU was able to bring me back in my mind for a short while. It's a relaxation thing for me really. Certain aspects of the movie also made me thankful for specific events that unfolded while I was at college, though at times I've second-guessed what truly went down. This movie reaffirmed what happened was good. I can elaborate if you ask me in person. 

Anyway... PCU delivered and I will be re-watching to try to memorize some of the better lines in the movie. I'd score it a 10/10. Highly accurate and also relevant to the modern day. It's great.

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