Friday, October 3, 2008

Yet Another High School Movie...

In a place self-renowned for its math and science-minded brains, few dare to reach above and beyond for something in the arts or (God forbid) politics. Stuyvesant High School, the "prestigious" magnet school on the lower west side of Manhattan, has boasted many important alumni, but the one of note in politics was the quite shameful Dick Morris. Reared from his impressionable teenage years in said hallowed halls, Morris' career was wrought with scandal and lies because wherever there is a place of high reputation, there are countless bright minds cheating to keep up with the curve. In Caroline Suh's new documentary, Frontrunners, she takes a look at some of these so-called baby geniuses' campaigns for student council. It cannot go unnoticed, though, that in a school (and a city) known for diversity, all of these candidates seem eerily similar and not indicative of the school's majority.



Frontrunners opens in very select theaters on October 24. As an alumni of Stuyvesant myself, I should feel enough comaraderie with these kids half a decade my junior to warrant shilling out twelve bucks to see the film, but after the unique brilliance of Nanette Burstein's American Teen and the general bad taste in my mouth over the current state of actual politics, I just can't get excited about an election that means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Surely at least two of these four are only doing it to round out their college applications anyway. Besides, like most movies about high school (*cough, High School Musical, cough*), I can tell you exactly where this one is going to go: it's a very simple formula of popularity over actual interest and qualifications. Suh probably hoped releasing this film right around the 2008 Presidential Election would draw commentary from reviewers on the timeliness and relevance of her work, but in reality it just comes off as exploitation.

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