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The Paper Chase (1973)


brackenhe
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I caught the last hour of this last night after I hadn't seen it in forty years. I'd forgotten how good it was with Timothy Bottoms and John Housemann as particularly stellar. The tv show based on it was good too, although the only cast member to go to the series was Housemann. I know it screams Seventies, but the story is timeless. I hope everyone got a chance to see it. It's a shame Bottoms didn't last as a star, but I've read a few things about him and I think I understand why he quit working. In fact, the 1970's were pretty good for all the Bottoms brothers.

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I made a note to watch this too. I had been a fan of the TV series with Houseman, but had never seen the original movie. I thought it rated 3 stars of 5, but found myself continually wishing "Mr. Hart" would get a haircut, already! (I lived thru the '70s... not fondly.)

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> Those of us who actually had some of the hairstyles seen in the movie can only hang our heads in shame--and wish we still had that much hair!

 

 

AMEN, brother!

 

The last time I saw Bottoms in anything was that spot on impression of George W. Bush he did for a satire called "That's My George" or "That's My Bush" or something. And it was doing pretty good right up until 9/11.

 

Sepiatone

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>At most law schools, professors are less likely to pick on people in class. They usually wait for volunteers.

 

In my experience, THE PAPER CHASE gives a pretty accurate portrayal of what the first year of law school is like.

 

I only have experience with one law school (not the one in the movie), in the early 80s rather than the early 70s. There, with first-year students, most of the professors did often call on people in class who hadn't volunteered (although they also called on volunteers). I don't remember anyone saying that they felt picked on when called on without volunteering, because the professors made it clear from the start that they were only trying to encourage us to always be prepared. They didn't seem to play favorites in choosing the targets for their questions.

 

The "nicer" (more flexible) professors would let it go if someone wasn't prepared, as long as you didn't abuse their flexibility when they called on you again. The less flexible professors would insist that you answer even if unprepared by quickly giving you a summary of the reading assignment that you had missed and then asking the question again. (I remember a fellow student referring to one of these latter professors as "Kingsfield.") Those could be pretty harrowing moments standing there among 50 other students, trying to come up with an answer that made sense, because it was often hard to answer the questions even if you had done the reading.

 

Things really changed during the second year of law school, with the professors treating us more like very junior colleagues instead of like completely empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge (which most of us were). As such, they'd engage us more in a real discussion rather than just challenging us with difficult questions -- in recognition, I guess, of the small ability to engage in legal reasoning that most of us had achieved the previous year.

 

I found the first year of law school pretty frustrating -- much as portrayed in THE PAPER CHASE -- but the remaining two years were very satisfying, especially after I started assisting one prominent professor with his research. He was a great guy, someone I remained in touch with until his death 25 years later. In a very literal way, I probably wouldn't be where I am now if it hadn't been for his wise guidance.

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>Those of us who actually had some of the hairstyles seen in the movie can only hang our heads in shame--and wish we still had that much hair!

 

When I see films like this now, sometimes I complain about stupid dope smoking long-haired hippies. Now that I'm an old man.

 

However, if I were suddenly young again, I would love to return to San Francisco in those great years of 1967-69. And if I did, I'm sure I would be complaining about those stupid straight establishment senile old men who hated hippies back then. :P

 

I have been both. I have loved both, and I have hated both. What does that mean? Is there a mental classification for this? Or is it just the natural process of going from young to old?

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Here's a test to determine if you are getting old or not:

 

1) in your early years, your 20s, smile at young ladies in stores. That will give you an idea of what they think of the way you look. If you are average, the average girls will smile back. If you are good looking, the prettiest ones will smile back.

 

2) keep this up when you are moving into middle age, 30s and 40s, but keep smiling at the same types of younger girls. After a while, if you do look like you are getting older, you'll notice that the prettiest ones no longer smile back.

 

3) when it gets to the point where the average and homely ones stop smiling back too, then that means you are getting old.

 

4) when you get to the point when NONE of them smile back, and the prettiest ones even try to avoid looking at you, or cross the street to avoid you, then that means you are really old.

 

5-a) when you get to the point when the oldest ladies smile at you first, that means you need some plastic surgery on your face and maybe on the rest of you too.

 

5-B) buy yourself a heavy duty walking cane, and pretend to struggle around when you shop in stores. You will be surprised at how many pretty young girls will feel sorry for you and will offer to help you. This is a deceptive technique, but I've met several attractive young ladies that way and I've had some nice conversations with them. But that's all, just conversations.

 

:)

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>If you smile at young ladies in stores, and they immediately notify the store security guard, how old should that make you?

 

Well, that will give you some idea of how you look, whether old or young.

 

I have been lucky enough to discover several techniques, that have helped me, such as walking with a cane and hobbling around. :)

 

Another thing I soon learned after moving out here to the Southwest, is to wear a cowboy hat and a new Western style shirt. Cowboy boots help too. It seems that no matter how old a man gets, he always looks better in a cowboy hat. For example, see James Garner in MURPHY'S ROMANCE (1985).

 

He plays a 60 year old, romancing a young Sally Field. And it all has to do with his cowboy hat. :)

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Fred, this all reminds me of a cartoon I saw in a magazine some years back.

 

A man is out walking with his son, drawn to look about eight or nine years old. Nearby, a well stacked, hot looking young lady is crossing the street. The caption was of the kid talking, and he said, "Oh, crap! There goes my teacher, 'Old Lady' Thompson."

 

Actually, if you smile at a pretty, young girl, and she calls a COP, it means you're old.

 

Sepiatone

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