Operation Varsity Blues Has A Docu-Drama Approach

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal. Courtesy of Netflix. ©2021

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal takes a docu-drama approach in reliving this you-can’t-believe-it scandal.

The approach to this film is no different than last year’s Sundance-premiering The Social Dilemma. It’s an intriguing approach but it works considering who isn’t talking on camera. A lot of this has to do with the fact that there are cases still pending. Or they simply chose to decline. You can’t blame them for that. It still makes me angry that people even put themselves into this kind of position. The filmmakers manage to take advantage of wiretapped conversations. They utilize it in bringing about the dramatic recreations. Only scandal mastermind Rick Singer (Matthew Modine) knew going into these calls that the FBI was listening.

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among the most famous parents involved with this scandal. However, they aren’t really featured in terms of dramatic recreations. For what it’s worth, there’s a decent amount of screen time devoted to Olivia Jade but mostly to establish her background. Because of her legal issues, Huffman missed out on the world premiere of her then-new film in September 2019. Along those lines, it’s hard to promote a film when one of your biggest stars is sidelined. But I digress.

Chris Smith mainly looks at how Rick Singer drove this scandal into the headlines. How was he able to convince so many wealthy clients to cheat the education system is behind me. I mean, if you’re wealthy and make a hefty donation, there’s a solid chance of your kid getting accepted! Stanford can say what they want but I refuse to believe it. They HAD to know! Wealthy parents did not need to give into Singer when they already had the money.  The film’s post-script displays how people pled and what their sentence was. Unfortunately, too many got off with not that many months in prison. The fact that so many got off with hardly any prison time is like getting a slap on the wrist!

Films like this are a reminder of how screwed up the process is for college admissions. How is it that people can pay their way into school? What happened to be able to getting into a college on one’s own merit? Maybe it’s a good thing it’s been almost 15 years since I graduated from college. Frankly, I find myself growing more disgusted the longer this film runs. Is it probably too soon to be telling this story? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ll have more on this in a moment.

I’d be remiss if I did not add the fact that standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are bullshit. Not once did I see a similar test during four years of college. The tests where you’re able to test out of a class–those are more like it! Operation Varsity Blues is a reminder that there is so much about the college admissions process that needs reforming.

DIRECTOR:  Chris Smith
CAST:  Matthew Modine, Josh Stamberg, Wallace Langham, David Starzyk

Netflix launches Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal on March 17, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.