The Emperor's Club

Bomb Rating: 

This is one of those sappy films that's meant to teach a few really important life lessons, such as "never take a class on ancient history from a pompous professor like William Hundert (Kevin Kline)." The previews for this film scream "Dead Poets Society" louder than Robert Sean Leonard at a "Showgirls 2" audition.

It doesn't help that the film is set in a prep school. Do I care whether or not rich kids value the importance of learning? Answer: no. Whether or not they learn a damn thing, they still end up rich. It's called inheritance, otherwise known as the rich person's answer to an education. So when Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsch) walks into Mr. Hundert's class, we're supposed to get all warm and fuzzy inside because Mr. Hundert is suddenly presented with the opportunity to change one boy's life and be the father that he never knew. You see, Sedgewick is the son of a self-righteous, dumbass Senator, who's obviously risen to the top through connections and privilege. He doesn't have time for his son and he tells him so.

Thus, the doe-eyed Sedgewick gets all misty when Professor Hundert demonstrates that he believes in him. There's this big contest at the school called the Julius Caesar contest and Prof. Hundert tells Sedgewick that he can win and we think, "Sedgewick will now learn the value of studying and hard work and honor."

Sedgewick does none of these things and what we really learn is that pompous ancient history professors are lucky if they know an asshole from an elbow. Hundert just wants to believe the best about everybody and after they screw him over, he still wants to believe the best about them. People like Professor Hundert make me sick.

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