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Listeria: The Ten Most Insulting Inaccuracies Observed About NYU in Loser (2000)

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on May 5, 2007

“They’re all real sophisticated–you’ve seen that Seinfeld show, it’s just like that.”

It’s hard to believe that a movie like the loner college kids falling in love movie Loser–probably the worst movie ever made about college, loneliness, or love–could be made by a writer/director like Amy Heckerling. Not just because Heckerling was was behind two of the greatest and most beloved teen movies of all-time, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless–though that is more than a little surprising. No, it’s more because Heckerling actually went to NYU, the school Loser purports to be set at despite barely getting a single thing right about it.

Now, I’m willing to allow for a few things here. One is that yeah, Heckerling had probably been out of school for at least two decades by the time of Loser‘s conception, and things might’ve changed a bit since. And the other is that yeah, despite going for three years, I probably still ultimately don’t know shit about NYU or its constituents. Still, some inaccuracies about the movie are just so glaring that I don’t really see them being excused by either of these qualifiers. Here are a couple.

10. NYU Lit Classes are Never Actually Full. Greg Kinnear’s Lit professor character plays to a packed house in every one of his class scenes. Heckerling must have been a Cinema Studies major or something, because lit students know that the only times classes are filled are on the first class, the midterm class and the final class, if even that. Even the classes with the most compulsory attendance policies are still emminently skippable for most of the lectures, a policy which at least a percentage of students routinely take advantage of. What a waste of extras.

9. NYU Students Don’t Play Drinking Games to Rhoda Re-Runs. Has anyone born after the year 1980 even seen a single episode of this show, let alone enough to devise a drinking game around it?

8. NYU Students Tend Not to Dress Like Complete Tools. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not vouching for NYU’s fashion sense or anything, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as outrageous in my three years as Jason Biggs’ three roommates, who wear ridiculously flamboyant jackets, oversized sunglasses, and all sorts of other paraphernalia that even the biggest NYU assholes would tend to have the sense to stay away from. The whole movie’s costuming feels like it was done by some middle-aged guy flipping through an Old Navy catalogue and saying “Oh, so THAT’S what the kids are wearing these days!

7. NYU Housing Doesn’t Shack People in Animal Shelters When They Get Kicked Out of a Dorm. A hallmate of mine got kicked out our dorm Freshman year for dealing drugs. They moved him into a single in a nicer dorm.

6. NYU Students Do Not Put Up Posters for The Thirteenth Floor in their Dorm Rooms. In fact, I feel fairly safe in saying that no one has ever willingly put a Thirteenth Floor poster up in their room, anywhere, ever. Also, in addition to the Thirteenth Floor poster, Biggs’ roommates had a poster up for the band Sloan, making them most likely NYU’s first sci-fi & indie-pop enthusiasts. Progressive.

5. NYU Students Do Not Get to Live in Nice, Multi-Room Suites as Freshmen. This could possibly be just me talking out of bitterness from my own experiences, but my first year room was about the size of a jail cell. Looked like one too, and if I remember correctly, I think it used to actually be one. That or a hotel room, I’m not sure. Either way, you couldn’t fit a waterbed in there.

4. NYU Students Do Not Put Stickers for Everclear on Their Notebooks. And dear lord, I have to believe that they would never use the phrase “self-loathing complaint rock that you can dance to” to describe them, either.

3. NYU Lit Professors are Not Vindictive, Humiliating Pricks. Even the worst lit professor I ever had could only be described as boring or out of touch. They never called on students because they thought they weren’t paying attention, they never made fun of them for their subpar answers (I seriously think there’s something forbidding this in the NYU teacher handbook, even the most ass-backwards things students have ever said in lit classes just get met with “well…that’s one way of looking at it”) and they never give students bad grades just to prove a point (in fact, they never give grades, period–had TAs not been invented yet in 2000?) They probably don’t sleep with their students and treat them like total dogshit, either, but I can’t confirm that one for certian.

2. Similarly, NYU Students Are Not Always Complete Assholes 100% of the Time. According to Loser, there are two types of students at NYU–idiotic, date-raping fratboys and snobby, pissed-off intellectuals. Most of them, maybe, but c’mon–there’s a scene in Loser where Biggs points out that he’s in the same class as someone reading a psych textbook, and the dude is so pissed off at Biggs for trying to make conversation that he scoffs, closes the book and walks away. I’m really not the biggest fan of NYU or its student body, but no one I’ve met or witnessed here has ever been that ridiculous.

1. NYU Admissions Would Never Let JASON FUCKING BIGGS into the School. C’mon, I’ve still got a year left of going here. I’d like to still be able to respect myself.

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2 Responses to “Listeria: The Ten Most Insulting Inaccuracies Observed About NYU in Loser (2000)”

  1. my kinetic android said

    This list is pretty much true for almost every other university. Except for #1; NIU lets pretty much anyone who graduated high school in.

  2. […] I’ve spent far too much time contemplating and writing about just how awful a movie Loser is, but I suppose I do have to give it credit for presenting one of the all-time great […]

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