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Film / PCU

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Flunk 'em if they can't take a joke.

A 1994 college comedy film directed by Hart Bochner that could be described as Animal House meets the clashing of right-wing and left-wing politics of The '90s.

Tom (Chris Young) is a pre-freshman having a visit to Port Chester University before he attends it properly. Hilarity Ensues as he manages to piss off half the campus, with his only safety between two groups, which themselves hate each other: the groups are The Pit, a group led by James "Droz" Andrews (Jeremy Piven) who just want to goof around (and to get around the ban, it doesn't call itself a fraternity); and Balls and Shaft, a right-wing fraternity that went underground, headed by Rand McPherson (David Spade). Both groups were spun off from Psi Kappa Mu after fraternities were banned from the school in the late 1960s.

However, Balls and Shaft has the allegiance of Ms. Garcia-Thompson (Jessica Walter), the left-wing school president, at least in the sense of both hating The Pit. And they have a good plan on getting rid of it.

Includes a special appearance by funk legend George Clinton.

Not to be confused with Pawtucket Credit Union.

Provides Examples of:

  • Animal Wrongs Group: Moonbeam and her crowd, the aptly-named "Causeheads" (at least right now).
    Droz: They find a Cause and they stick with it. (Beat) For about a week.
  • As Himself: George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic.
  • Batman Gambit / Xanatos Gambit: The plan to get rid of The Pit was to slap them with all the unpaid bills for their building and anticipating that Droz would suggest a wild party to raise the money. This would cause loads of complaints from the PC students, thus giving enough reason to shut down The Pit even if the money was raised in time. It's the former for being based on what The Pit residents would do and the latter for benefiting whether they did it or not.
    • Later Droz pulls a Batman Gambit of his own, anticipating he could get the student body to rally to him, thus getting the president fired for failing to handle the situation.
  • Brown Note: What "Afternoon Delight" is treated as. It leads people to jumping off the balcony to escape it.
  • Camp Gay: While the student body is trying to find Tom, several members discuss things he's doing wrong. An Afrocentrist says he was recruiting for the CIA. Moonbeam said he injected the thrown meat with hormones. A gay student says he... wore brown shoes with a blue blazer.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Samantha, Droz's ex-girlfriend, is a member of the Womynists, but it's shown that she still has feelings for him, despite the other Womynist members keeping her away from him.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: On top of being a Malcolm Xerox society, the Afrocentrists are this. The one that appears most often even mentions at one point that he believes Tom is a CIA infiltrator that has come to the campus to recruit people.
  • Dean Bitterman: Ms. Garcia-Thompson. Not only does she micromanage everything with the school, but she's also pushing a "cultural sensitivity" agenda that borders on extremism (she discusses giving an entire building to the "Department of Bisexual Asian Studies." But, who goes? The Math Department or the Hockey team?). Her extremism is to the point that her bosses are looking for an excuse to get rid of her.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Could stand for "Port Chester University" or "Politically Correct University".
  • Enemy Mine/Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Rand and President Garcia-Thompson hate each other's guts, and are only united in their hatred of The Pit.
  • Everyone Chasing You: Tom halfway through the movie, and Rand at the end. Tom even exploits this to get enough people to come to the party.
  • Evil Plan: The Dean wants to get rid of the Pit but it's a means to an end. For others, it's an end in and of itself.
  • Evil Reactionary: The right wing fraternity, Balls and Shaft; their goal was to take back control of The Pit's house and bring PCU back to the way things were before fraternities were banned.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Tom just happens to overhear the university's board members complaining about Dean Garcia-Thompson, which gives Droz and The Pit crew the idea of using a large protest at the dean's speech to give those board members the excuse they need.
  • Expy: The "Balls and Shaft" underground fraternity, which is a more rude variation on the "Skull and Bones" fraternity that's (in)famously tied to a number of Presidents and political leaders.
    • According to Adam Leff and Zak Penn, the writers of the film, The Pit was based on the Eclectic Society from Wesleyan University, in which they were hangers-on of the group. Much like how Psi Kappa Mu was split into The Pit and Balls and Shaft, The Eclectic Society was split into two different groups in 1970.
    • Port Chester University itself was based on Wesleyan University, which is sometimes known as "Diversity University"; parts of the film was shot there.
  • Fiendish Fraternity: Technically they are not fraternities because fraternities have been banned, nevertheless we have the Pit (who are a bunch of slovenly party animals facing expulsion because of their expensive collateral damage and the good guys) and the Balls and Shaft (an underground society of elitist reactionary jerks). The other student societies are only "fiendish" in the sense that Tom has accidentally pissed them all off in some way, shape or form and want a pound of his flesh and in that their continuous protesting has ruined the campus' reputation.
  • Freudian Excuse: Played With. While it's not made clear if Rand was any less of a Jerkass before he roomed with Droz, it's shown in a flashback that Droz was a pretty horrible roommate.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "PCU" stands for both Port Chester University and Politically Correct University.
  • Get Out!: Droz says this to someone looking for a thesis who is majoring in Phys Ed.
  • Groin Attack: During the protest at the Bicentennial, Katy attacks Balls and Shaft member Bantam by hitting him in the groin with the handle of her sign.
    Katy: Here's to Balls... and Shaft!
  • Hope Spot: The end of the party, where even the "Caine–Hackman Theory" was proven.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The last student protest in the film: WE'RE NOT GONNA PROTEST!
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": One of the Womynists think that "Mr. Pokey", Samantha's Affectionate Nickname for Droz, refers to his penis.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Droz and The Pit were about to give Tom one for saving their house, but eventually, it didn't take place after Tom's bus arrives.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Droz after getting in trouble for throwing "a hundred pounds of meat at a peaceful vegan protest."
    Droz: Oh, come on! That was way more than a hundred pounds!
  • Is This Thing Still On?: When Rand starts attacking the dean for getting fired (and ruining his hopes of getting his fraternity house back) he starts ranting about all the unwashed heathens she'd allowed to take over the campus. The Pit had wisely lined up a set of live microphones by that time so that Rand's words are heard by the entire campus body (including the Cause-Heads, the Womynists, the Afrocentrists, and Jerrytown)... who promptly chase after him in a bigger mob than the one that chased Tom throughout the movie.
  • Kafka Komedy: Every single thing Tom does throughout the film manages to piss off some group within the university in one way or another that ends end up with them chasing him as an irate mob... pretty much everybody except The Pit (which are friendly) and the Balls and Shaft (who he finds scary and annoying).
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates: Rand provides a list of these as he’s having a Villainous Breakdown after his Evil Plan fails. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize the mic Droz is holding is still on.
    Rand: Hey, poor boy, go and have your parties with all you new friends. I can see it now, Andrews. You and all the knee-jerk bleeding heart liberals sipping tea and playing patty-cake. And those useless hippie potheads, those commie-pinko leftists, the bunny huggers, the pillow biters—
    Droz: Wait—which ones are the pillow biters?
    Rand: The butt pirates! And those beastly man-haters—tell those chicks to shave their pits and call me! Goddamn whiny crybaby minorities. You can keep 'em all!
    Droz: [turns Rand around to show everyone is listening to him] Rand McPherson everybody! Just remember the 9:30 show is completely different from the 7:30 show.
  • Malcolm Xerox: The Afrocentrists.
  • Meaningful Name: Rand's name is an obvious reference to Ayn Rand, a conservative icon.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Droz is introduced waking up from a bender and repeatedly screaming, "Coffee!"
  • The '90s: Showcasing the hard-core new wave of "Berserkerley" politics.
  • Noodle Incident: It's never stated why fraternities were banned from the university in the 60s.
  • One Dave Limit: Doomed. There are two Daves, and they're both (mostly) useless.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: The Pit invokes this trope by advertising the party with the just-decided-on name of their band: "Everyone Gets Laid". It at least sent the freshmen running there.
  • Plot Hole: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic play a huge set with all their instruments and equipment yet somehow manage to not blow the dodgy fuses of the Pit.
  • Politically Correct Villain: Ms. Garcia-Thompson. Because of her Political Correctness and policy of allowing 24/7 protests from anybody who has an opinion and a capacity to yell about it, the campus is no longer an actual place for education.
  • Political Overcorrectness: Ms. Garcia-Thompson's extremism has turned the campus into a haven for political correctness, ruining its capacity as an actual place to get an education. This means that her superiors in the board of education are just itching for a reason to kick her out, a reason that the Pit is more than eager to supply at the climax.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Pit, an ethnically/gender-mixed group united under the banner of rocking out and coasting through college.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Balls and Shaft was this to Psi Kappa Mu, after the latter was closed due to fraternities being banned.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Animal House.
  • The Stoner: Jerrytown, a hippie-based group. They even named the team's dog Blotter.
  • Straw Feminist: The Womynists, of which Samantha, Droz's girlfriend, is a member of.
    Tom: Those women?
    Droz: Those are not women, Tom. Those are "Womynists".
  • Strawman U: The titular college has become a boiling pot of so many clashing political worldviews protesting at the drop of a hat that it no longer is a place to learn. This becomes more important later on.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Droz locks most of the staff in a room with "Afternoon Delight" playing. After a while, they start pounding on the door, and then break windows to escape.
  • Vandalism Backfire: The crew from the Pit trash what they believe to be Rand's cherry-red classic sports car. Turns out they got the wrong one. The film ends with Samantha, Droz's love interest, mentioning that she can drive on their date, since she's borrowed her grandmother's classic car of the same kind for the weekend...


Video Example(s):


PCU- Rand's Rant

Rand goes on a tirade against all the different groups on campus while telling off his former roommate, droz. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize Droz is holding a live mic.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / IsThisThingStillOn

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