Once upon a time, not so long ago, movies were not on demand around the clock. Towns were dotted with physical stores containing shelves of movies in VHS and DVD format. People had to make plans in advance of a particularly desired movie’s availability in the Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, hoping to snatch up one of the limited number of newly released copies. This could lead to discovering new favorites or getting stuck with tripe that no one else wanted to take home.
We lived dangerously, entertainment-wise.
If you were very lucky you would find a movie that would become your favorite. It would be sought out when the New Release shelf was picked clean; a consolation prize for your bitter disappointment. Maybe you would seek that particular movie out on your trips to the video store, even when New Releases were abundant. After all, purchasing flicks was more difficult then too, with limited copies available instead of aisle after aisle of every genre and year stacked in a 24-hour superstore.
As gas was cheap and weekends were lazy, I had several movies that spent time as my go-to video store choice when all else was unavailable. One of those was The Faculty.
Robert Rodriguez’s high school body-snatcher flick had everything we craved in the late 90s. There were young actors carrying the movie, delivering dialogue we all wished we could come up with in real life, and working against an unknown menace and adults at the same time. On top of that, the school staff was played by Famke Janssen, Bebe Neuwirth, Robert Patrick, and Jon Stewart. We were in a Renaissance of teen screams and the ensemble cast of hot actors in their early twenties facing something more sinister than a guy in a mask was still intriguing.
The only downside of The Faculty was the whole Tommy Hilfilger tie-in that dominated my preferred magazines’ ad pages with preppy clothing and the focus on Usher having a role in the movie. Blessedly, Usher’s role was tiny, relegated to the football team. This made it easier to focus on the real stars: Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Josh Hartnett, Clea DuVall, Shawn Hatosy, and Laura Harris.
Watching it now may be tinged with cringe because of some of the acting and definitely some of the clothes, but I will forever watch The Faculty when given the chance. There are just some loves that never really grow cold, like me and Stokely 5EVA. I still strive to be more like her every day, taking shots at trifling bitches and oozing general derision for others.