Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. From time to time, a reflection on the movie will appear below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Freshman” (1990):

There are movies I can see dozens of times and they always make me laugh. “A Fish Called Wanda”, “Thank You For Smoking”, “The Ref”, “Office Space” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. I sit down to see one of these gems and I know for sure I am going to have a good time. “The Freshman” falls into this category.

It’s the story of the country bumpkin (Matthew Broderick) going off to the big city. Clark Kellogg is the Freshman of the title. He’s been waiting a good many years to get out of the house, escape a stepfather who’s a little bit…well, let’s just say he’s off. Clark is off to see the Emerald City, go to movie school and fulfill his dream of being the next Spielberg or Scorsese or Coppola. He’s a bit naïve. Not just a bit, but a lot.

Clark takes the train to New York City from Kansas or Nebraska or New Hampshire, one of them places. Gets as far as Grand Central. Then the twister hits in the form of a guy who is throwing fahgettaboudits around like he invented the word. The guy is persuasive. You look persuasive up in the dictionary there’s a picture of his face. He takes Clark for everything he’s got, including his only $600.

Clark goes to his academic advisor, Arthur Fleeber, with his dilemma. All Fleeber can say is that Clark must have the textbooks to attend his class. The books all being by Fleeber. Then he sees Mr. Persuasive from the professor’s office and he leaps out the window and he’s off. Finally he corners the thief.

Clark: Robbery is not legal?

Mr. Persuasive: Depends on the circumstances.

Mr. Persuasive offers Clark a job. A thousand-dollar-a-week job. As they say in the movies, you follow the Yellow Brick Road. You don’t know where the hell you might end up.

Besides that great opening, here are some other reasons I love that movie:

1.Dialogue: Clark asks, “Why do I need a gun permit?” Tina Sabbatini answers, “You need one to carry a gun, silly.”

2.Marlon Brando gives Clark an offer he can’t refuse.

3.A marriage proposal that Clark cannot get out of. Talk about shotgun weddings.

4.Marlon Brando on ice skates. Very graceful.

5.Bert Parks singing a memorable version of the Miss America theme song.

6.A kimono dragon. He should have gotten an Oscar.

7.The Mona Lisa. Yes, that Mona Lisa.

8.Mr. Persuasive, the actor Bruno Kirby going through his paces.

9.Maximillian Schell as Larry London

10.Chasing a kimono dragon through a mall.

11.Clark gets a memory that will last him a lifetime.

12.Penelope Ann Miller as Clark’s fiancée. Don’t know what’s wrong with Clark. I would have married her.

13.It’s not good when you are a stockbroker and your client is a mob guy and he says to you, “I don’t like it when I hear that my stocks go down.” Guess that’s why all those stockbrokers took a flying leap in 1929.

The movie even has poetry in it. I am not kidding. It features poem as a real live poem:

A Doorway on Boylston Street
There’s a certain doorway on Boylston Street
that I passed by on foot, suited and shod,
one of many each Tuesday,
toward lunch with a certain woman,
regarded each Tuesday by the perfect turning gaze of a white Persian,
regarding me, love-bound and sped by desire,
and returning to the certainty of his fur.

There are dozens of other reasons I love this movie. Let’s just say that when the pros get a great script, magic happens. As Tony the Tiger used to say, “It’s Grrrrreeeeeaaat.”

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