Gramps Goes to College (2014)
Director: Chip Rossetti
Screenwriter: Donald James Parker
Starring: Donald James Parker, Rusty Martin Jr., Courtney Lee Simpson, Carol Anderson, Kaitlin Borst
Gramps Goes to College opens on a profile shot of two men working out in a poorly lit gym. It cuts to another two-shot aimed towards the protagonist, Gramps, and in a window behind him we can see the camera and the light fixtures used for the scene. I’ve watched a lot of terrible films in my day, but Gramps Goes to College is a new low point for cinema – its poor artistic ability and terrible ideology creates a work that can be best described with words like: lousy, ignorant, and deranged. It’s like peering into the depths of someone’s narcissistic personality disorder, but on film.
Gramps’ name is Ty Bounds (played by writer Donald James Parker). Ty is a retired computer programmer, and he wants to go back to college. Throughout the film, people act like that’s some crazy, unheard of thing for someone over the age of 21 to go to college. However, the way he does it is pretty insane. When I imagine someone in their sixties returning to school, my first thought isn’t that they move into the dorm and make a bunch of young friends. The reason people should be making fun of Ty isn’t because he’s an old guy in college, it’s because he’s taking on bizarre relationships with young adults. He tries to set up his 20 year old roommate with a freshman he has barely met, he gets into verbal jousts with students and he constantly disrupts biology class.
Ty’s reason for returning to school is that kids these days are “being brainwashed by liberal, secular humanist professors who use their power over the mighty GPA and their influence over developing young minds…” – this sentence trailed off without a real conclusion. But, how will Ty fight that? Well, by disrupting his biology class. A class in which the only topic taught is… evolution.
Within the writer’s mind, evolution is some kind of sacred dogma no one has the guts to question, but every time he talks about it, he reveals his complete lack of understanding. He pontificates at students about the brain and how it’s like a computer, displaying his ignorance and incredulity. Does he ever ask the biology professor how the brain developed? Does he ever Google it? Nope, he goes on not understanding how systems developed in mammalian vertebrates because he’s too busy wallowing in his superiority complex.
The plot of the film is that Ty is the ‘best person ever’ and that everyone loves him except for evil atheists. He starts an intramural sports team in a league which functions like the Triwizard Tournament; there are a bunch of events and every participating team partakes in each one. These sports include ping pong, HORSE, and chess. Naturally, Ty is the best at all of them. He argues with his biology professor, and that really lights her fire and she asks him out on two dates, and tries to sexually assault him because he’s so irresistible. There’s also a sub-plot where Ty’s roommate, Brad, dates a lapsed Christian (with the worst Southern accent I’ve ever heard) who takes him to college alcohol parties.
There is almost no moment in this movie that is not insane, and when you think it’s going one way, it always has another sharp turn to take.
The biology professor and a colleague are sitting in an office talking about Gramps, when it turns to how hot he is. Then the colleague mentions how jealous he is that she would say that about Gramps, and she says that his wife probably wouldn’t be too happy about that. What?! Similarly, during a chess tournament, Ty starts talking about fluoride in the drinking water, which he thinks could be causing cancer and fibromyalgia (big talk for someone who hasn’t even passed a basic biology course). The locations are always odd, too. The dorm is clearly a hotel, the biology class is a church auditorium, the cafeteria is an empty fellowship hall, and the parties happen in empty houses that appear to be under construction.
Just when you think that this movie has no more turns to take, it gets even nuttier.
Brad and his evil atheist girlfriend go to a party, and a guy announces they’ll have a drinking contest – you can tell no one here has ever consumed alcohol because they seem to think that a drinking contest is where people do shots of indiscriminate amounts of 190 proof Everclear from plastic cups (out of a bottle of Skyy Vodka). The evil atheist girlfriend takes twenty shots in just three minutes and is declared dead by a pre-med student moments after collapsing. I’ve never seen a crazier scene.
Then Gramps arrives because the dead girl’s roommate sensed a disturbance in the Force. The biology professor also comes, and Brad yells about how she should have taught them about how alcohol is bad instead of evolution. Fortunately, the roommate brings her back to life through prayer, and the professor quits her job because of reasons unclear to me and apparently even the filmmakers themselves. I can barely remember the rest of the movie because this was so bizarre, but the performances are so casual and lazy that they’re memorable for all of the wrong reasons, and the events in the story happen so quickly it’s like wild swing after wild swing at grabbing your attention, and grab it they did. Yet, it remains simply impossible to believe that someone thought this would make for a good, convincing film.
This is not my first foray into anti-University religious films, sadly, but it is the absolute worst in every way. The writer might “qualify to be in Mensa” (actual quote from this film), but he doesn’t seem to understand that he has limitations. His character is a personification of his narcissism; he can do no wrong, has no flaws, he’s the greatest genius to ever grace this world, and everyone loves him. I cannot stand to think about this movie for another second. It’s insane, and you should only check this out if you have a penchant for insane, terribly made movies; because this is peak. This makes Left Behind look sane by comparison. I award them no points, and may god have mercy on their souls.
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