Chasing Tenure on the Big Screen

Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik has an article about Tenure, an upcoming movie starring Luke Wilson as a college professor on the tenure track. I’ve got a couple of sound bites in the article, including a couple of jokey comments about how to make the work of college professors “visually interesting.” According to Variety, Mike Million wrote the script and will be directing the film, which is set to be distributed by Blowtorch, a neo-indie planning to specialize in low-budget movies for younger audiences. They also produce and distribute shorts and mobile content, so much of my curiosity about this film will be around the way that a Luke Wilson movie about tenure is marketed.

I do find it odd that the film pits Wilson’s character against “an impressive new female colleague” in his pursuit of tenure and worried, obviously prematurely, that this plot line could be anti-feminist. That being said, I’m always intrigued whenever my profession (or at least someone who works in my profession) is depicted on the big screen, so I’m looking forward to seeing it.


  1. Jonathan Gray Said,

    March 18, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

    So here’s my question: how long do you think we get into the movie before we find a professor sleeping with a student? Like you, I’m intrigued by how (1) we’re depicted to the public at large, and amazed at how often we’re either (and only either) complete losers with no personal hygiene or completely inspiring, dead cool leaders of the revolution; (2) apparently, we’re all having sex with our students. Nice to see we’ve become one of Hollywood’s sexual fetish cue cards, huh?

  2. Chuck Said,

    March 18, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

    Yeah, I’m fascinated by depictions of professors, and even in more nuanced depictions, such as Educating Rita, professors conform to the stereotypes you describe (Michael Caine’s character has that awful haircut, for example). But Hollywood definitely loves the student-teacher fantasy. I’d love to be a “dead cool leader of the revolution” by the way. Where do I sign up for that?

    I’m guessing Luke Wilson’s character ends up with the female professor, so maybe they’ll skip that subplot this time around.

  3. Jonathan Gray Said,

    March 18, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

    I’d love to be a “dead cool leader of the revolution” by the way. Where do I sign up for that?

    yeah, the job search wikis don’t tell you that, do they? 😉

  4. Anca S. Said,

    March 19, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

    You say “a couple of sound bites” when the truth is the entire second half of his article is all about Dr. Tryon and what Dr. Tryon thinks :). Dr. Tryon this, Dr. Tryon that…

  5. Chuck Said,

    March 19, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

    I was going for “false modesty.” With a possible slight emphasis on “false.” But, hey, I have a lot to say about Luke Wilson. And tenure, for that matter.

  6. The Chutry Experiment » Smart People Said,

    April 12, 2008 @ 10:38 am

    […] Smart People is meant in part as academic satire, and because I’ve already acknowledged my inability to resist films about academics, I ended up seeing the film, against my better judgment.  All of […]

  7. The Chutry Experiment » Monday Links Said,

    April 14, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    […] seeing Smart People this weekend and reading about The Visitor (and contemplating Luke Wilson’s tenure movie) I’m stuck on one of my favorite questions again: […]

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