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Film Review—The Graduate

“Matthew Arnold set up three criteria for criticism: 1. What is the writer trying to do? 2. How well does he succeed in doing it? (…) 3. Does the work exhibit “high seriousness”? That is, does it touch on basic issues of good and evil, life and death and the human condition.” —William S. Burroughs, from A Review of the Reviewers

Let’s have a look. Number One on the list—what were the minds behind The Graduate attempting to accomplish? I believe the main objective was to constantly play Simon and Garfunkel songs while Dustin Hoffman stares at stuff, and also provide a set-up for the church scene in Wayne’s World 2.

Number Two—did they succeed? Well, the whole movie centers around Dustin Hoffman, staring at various things while Simon and Garfunkel songs play. They succeeded in that goal. The Wayne’s World 2 church scene also makes a whole lot more sense to me now. Success there as well.

Number Three—did the work touch on good/evil, the human condition, etc.? Yes, opposing forces meet, mingle, and ultimately clash. The themes and symbolism present in Hoffman’s erotic hotel rendezvous’ with the older woman which then segue into a relationship with that woman’s daughter are relatable, and could even be said to be archetypes present in Jung’s collective unconscious. And, finally—being honored with a parody by Mike Myers is a hallmark of “high seriousness.”

Going by these criteria, the movie appears to be flawless. By my criteria, it appeared to suck.

 

 

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  1. April 16, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Ha, nailed it. This movie really should just come packaged in a triple pack with the Wayne’s World movies at Target and Costco.

    • April 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Exactly. I would make The Graduate DVD watch Wayne’s World to teach it how movies should be made.

    • April 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      Exactly. I would make The Graduate watch Wayne’s World so it could learn how movies should be made.

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