Sunday, February 11, 2007


In College, Buster Keaton plays a physically clumsy egghead who tries out for every sport his college offers in an attempt to impress a pretty coed. Naturally, he fails spectacularly at all of them, but in the climatic segment, he needs to use all these skills to rescue the girl.


The General was an ambitious and expensive project, and although it's now recognized as Keaton's masterpiece, it wasn't well-received at the time. So it's understandable that Keaton would fall back on a tried-and-true formula. Unfortunately, Harold Lloyd covered this territory quite successfully two years earlier in The Freshman, and Keaton's version is a little too similar.

Of course, Buster Keaton movies don't have to be as inspired as The General to be enjoyable. The story just needs to provide an excuse for Keaton's marvelous stunt work. By this standard, the movie was a definite success.


Aside from the obvious time capsule elements that can be found in any 80 year old film (fashion, hairstyles, cars, etc.), there's very little difference between this movie and modern nerds-vs.-jocks films. Some stories are timeless like that.

Buster Keaton's appeal lies in the simple fun of watching an athletic performer execute well-timed acrobatic stunts. In this sense, I can't think of any modern performer that better exemplifies his legacy than Jackie Chan.

Just for fun: This YouTube video of scenes from College edited to fit "Eye of the Tiger" made me laugh out loud.

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