Film / Old School

Old School is a 2003 American comedy directed by Todd Phillips and starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Vince Vaughn. It tells the story of three guys facing a midlife crisis who return to their alma mater and start a new fraternity, soon running afoul of the dean.


This film contains examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Beanie has the opportunity to have sex with another woman, but refuses because he's married, even though in all likelihood he could get away with it.
  • The Alcoholic: Frank is a massive alcoholic, to the point of earning the nickname "Frank the Tank". His wife has tried to force him to stop, much to his chagrin.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Frank is prone to this, hence why his wife wants him to stop drinking.
  • Awesomeness-Induced Amnesia: Frank (who has never been shown to be of anything more than average intelligence) is in a formal debate with famous news pundit James Carville. After Frank delivers his argument, Carville outright says that he has no response. When asked how Frank did that, he says he has no idea and that he blacked out.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Beanie tries to talk Frank out of getting married, despite being married himself. His instincts are actually pretty spot-on in this regard, as Frank's alcoholism ruins their marriage in record time.
    "*cough*don't do it!*cough*"
  • Brick Joke: In the post-credit scene, Mitch's ex-girlfriend Heidi shows up and invites Frank for an orgy.
  • Comically Missing the Point: During Frank's talk with his marriage councilor about how he really feels being married, he got offtrack by talking about what kind of panties a waitress was wearing.
    Frank: I'm sorry I don't know where I was going with that. But now that I'm married, I'm only allowed to have sex with just one person, for the rest of my life.
  • Cool Old Guy: Blue, an elderly Navy veteran who joins the frat. He dies just before a KY Jelly wrestling match with two topless women.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: Mitch should have told Nicole the truth about Mark.
    Cook: Love is a motherfucker.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Beanie frequently brings one of his sons with him, and demands that the other guys give him a heads-up if they're going to swear, so that he can tell his son to cover his ears or do so himself.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mark (the cheating boyfriend of the main love interest) is driving over a bridge, he swerves to avoid another car, breaks through the side of the bridge, flips the car over, and lands right on top of Pritchard (the villainous dean of the college) who is fishing in the lake below. There's a small chance they might have survived that but then the car explodes.
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Jack Daniels: Frank is quite meek at first, even planning a quiet, sensible weekend with his wife. It's revealed that he has a wild drunk side known as "Frank The Tank". It ends up resulting in his divorce.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Pritchard used to be teased by Mitch and his friends in high school. Which led to him becoming a dick to even the college students. He lampshades that it's a free country and will do whatever he likes.
  • Fan Disservice: Will Ferrell streaking is treated as an in-universe example.
  • Fratbro: The guys in their past, but Frank the Tank in particular was most prone to Wacky Fratboy Hijinx.
  • Groin Attack: As part of their initiation, the frat pledges have to hold cinderblocks that are ostensibly tied to their penises, carry them over to the edge of a roof and then hurl them over the edge, trusting that the ropes are loose enough that this won't result in sudden castration. Unfortunately for poor Weensie, his chosen position just so happens to align with a manhole cover. Cue the block getting past the cover and continuing on, dragging poor Weensie with it.
  • Henpecked Husband: Frank's wife has forced him to give up drinking. Or tried to, anyway.
  • I Lied: Dean Pritchard bribes the School Student President to revoke the fraternity (since she was the one who approved it) with admission to Columbia Law School, a promise he has no intention (or ability) to fulfill. When she confront him on it, he tells her it's a free country and can do whatever he likes. Fortunately, she secretly recorded their conversation.
  • Jerkass:
    • Dean Pritchard, who harasses Mitch for no other reason than being bullied by them in high school.
    • Mark, who cheats on his fiancee Nicole and tries to get Mitch to keep quiet about it.
    • The animal handler at Beanie's son's birthday, though this is mostly played for laughs.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: Frank plays around with a loaded tranquilizer gun and shoots the dart straight into his jugular.
  • Loophole Abuse: Mitch's house is designated specifically for social services and community housing, so they start a fraternity open to anyone as there's no rule that the frat has to be associated with the school. As Pritchard's assistant lampshades, they're very good at paperwork (Mitch works for a development company and Beanie runs an electronics store, so they'd have to be).
  • Man Child: Frank, of course. And Beanie, who is still a party animal at heart, despite being married with a baby.
  • Older Than They Look: Mitch is quite shocked to learn that his one-night stand at the party is the boss's daughter and in high school.
  • Pair the Spares: Divorced Frank and Mitch's nymphomaniac ex-girlfriend Heidi.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The fraternity, which includes several of the college students, married men, and one really old guy.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Frank toys around with a tranquilizer gun and shoots himself in the jugular.
  • Running Gag: Frank trying to get rid of his wedding present, in obvious ways.
    Frank: (after trying to give it to Beanie's son as a birthday gift) Damn it.
  • Serious Business: Much to Mitch's chagrin, everyone takes the frat very seriously, calling him "The Godfather" and giving him preferential treatment.
  • Spit Take: Mitch, when he finds out his boss's daughter Darcie is a high school graduate. Earlier, they were in bed. They haven't done anything, but it's clear that she wanted to (though she mouthed "sorry" to him while in her dad's office).
  • Streaking: After getting good and loaded, Frank decides to go for a run. Naked.
  • Trust-Building Blunder: The frat initiation has the pledges toss cinderblocks off a ledge, which are securely tied to their penises. This works out for all but Weensie, who happens to throw his onto a manhole cover and gets dragged along with the block.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: Naturally, this film includes them, including streaking and KY jelly wrestling.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Beanie calls Mitch out for cussing in front of his son without giving a heads-up (see Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears), because he was frustrated at the moment and didn't really want to create a fraternity. Beanie says he and their friends were trying to help him after leaving Heidi, making Mitch feel guilty and reluctantly accepts.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The plot is kicked off by Mitch walking in on his girlfriend about to participate in a gang-bang.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/OldSchool