Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1990s Collection: The Freshman (1990)

Director and writer Andrew Bergman read about nightclub owner Vincent Teresa being arrested for smuggling a near-extinct lizard into the country and thought it’d make a great movie. Imagine his fortune at getting Marlon Brando into the movie for just $3 million dollars.

Bergaman said, “On one level you’re like, I’m going to direct this guy!? But at the end of the day you say, well, somebody’s got to direct him, so what the hell, it’s going to be me. And he was really a pleasure to work with. It’s not like you’re dealing with George Burns in terms of a comedy god. Getting Marlon to do things was sometimes like turning around an aircraft carrier because he had a way he wanted to do it. But you could get him there. He was terribly respectful and funny.”

This is the same Brando who publicly condemned this movie as the “biggest turkey of all time” and wanted an extra $1 million for one more week of shooting or he’d keep on making fun of the movie in the press. When they did pay, he began to publicly praise The Graduate.

Clark Kellogg (Matthew Broderick) is studying film at NYU but before he even gets to his dorm, his luggage is taken Victor Ray (Bruno Kirby), which brings him into the world of Carmine Sabatini (Brando), who is pretty much just playing himself from The Godfather. Now he has a job doing deliveries for the secretive boss, like picking up komodo dragons from the airport for The Gourmet Club, a group of elites who eat endangered animals while Bert Parks sings for them.

He’s also pursued by government agents trying to get info on the Sabatini crime family as well as Carmine’s daughter Tina (Penelope Ann Miller) who acts as if they’re to be married. Is Carmine really going to serve those animals? Or is something else happening?

I love the meta aspects of this film, like Clark’s teacher Arthur Fleeber (Paul Benedict) making his class watch The Godfather Part II while Clark’s heart is obviously in exploitation. He has a poster for The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak up in his dorm.

Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1990s Collection has some great movies for a great price like HousesitterWhite PalaceOne True ThingDonnie BrascoThe Devil’s OwnThe MatchmakerAnacondaI Know What You Did Last Summer and The Deep End of the Ocean. You can get it from Deep Discount.

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