definitely cliché from time to time. it starts with a lame intro about the origins of the term “winner winner, chicken dinner” and it gives us a little preview of what our protagonist (ben) is goes through during the next two hours. the end, too, is cliché to the point of extreme predictability and, if you know anything about movies, you may as well skip the last 15 minutes because you know how everything’s going to turn out anyway. that said, this film has some B+ moments that lift its overall grade. the relationship between kevin spacey and the overachieving m.i.t. students who feed off of his acceptance and the thrill of doing something other than burying their noses in books, is an interesting one. spacey is devilish and you can see why a naive (yet brilliant) college student like ben would fall for him. spacey’s performance ebbs and flows as he manipulates the students to his needs. he feeds their egos as the carrot and threatens expulsion as the stick. the film also does a good job of depicting the allure of fast money and an alternative lifestyle for these bookish kids.
it’s got plenty of little film references throughout the film, and the more you know about movies the more you’re likely to notice them. for example, spacey’s character is named mickey rosa which might be a nod to the late miklos rozsa, the film composer. spacey’s character asks a question of his class and makes the famous ben stein/ferris bueller reference. there are plenty of others as well.
i can’t say that i’d recommend the film, but if you happen to find yourself in the theater looking for a second film to watch then go ahead and check this one out. the film did make me want to read the book, even more so than the npr story they had on this group of students a few years back.Watched in theater