Check in with Cineast every week before heading to the movie theater. This week’s film previews are 22 Jump Street, Ivory Tower and How to Train Your Dragon 2.
22 Jump Street
From silly TV show to sophomoric comedy to sophomoric sequel, the 21 Jump Street franchise is holding up pretty well. In 22 Jump Street, the undercover operation has moved across the street (hence the change of address), and now the two misbehaving cops Jenko and Schmidt (played by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill) have to enroll in college to uncover some sort of drug smuggling or other. The mission, of course, is beside the point. The joke here, as it was in the film 21 Jump Street, is the idea of 30-somethings going back to college and trying to “fit in” with a college lifestyle. That is, they have to drink like a teenagers, take on ridiculous physical challenges that are easy for teenagers and miss a lot of sleep. Oh yes, and all the while they have to try to keep their paws off the nubile college girls. With Ice Cube reprising his role as Captain Dickson.
The sense of crisis in higher education has been growing for years, as families have reluctantly accustomed themselves to the idea that massive debt is necessary to incur in the name of providing their children with a guarantee of higher wages. The families’ growing willingness to borrow lots of money has meant that colleges and universities didn’t really have to watch budgets or compete over price—and instead they were forced to compete with each other over amenities. Gone are the days when college food was a joke, gone are the days when college students lived in cinderblock dungeons called dorms, gone are the long lines at the bursar and registrar: now the food is fresh and tasty, the “residence halls” are shiny and new, and the bursar and registrar are replaced by customized computer systems. Your average big state university today offers its students more luxuries then the Ivy Leagues did a generation ago, but a lot of it is being paid for by debt. Ivory Tower is a documentary exploring the ballooning costs of higher education in the United States, and it is predicting a crash: soon, it says, families will start to balk at the price of college, and the bubble will burst. Food for thought.
How to Train Your Dragon 2
A welcome end-of-school animation for the kiddies. Featuring all kinds of dragons, probably young ones, undoubtedly cute ones and all with rather silly names. The plot involves some kind of ruckus in the dragon world, a character named Toothless and another called Hiccup are prominently involved—much to the delight of all and sundry, we guess.