Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The Freshman is interesting in another sense. It critically portrays a young man who confuses life on the silver screen with reality. Harold “Speedy” Lamb (played by Harold Lloyd) is a young, naïve, and impressionable young man just about to set out for college. Looking for an idol, he finds one in the leading character of the film “College Hero,” which he has recently seen. Harold’s buffoonish efforts to gain popularity by acting like his screen idol make him the butt of jokes and pranks by what I can only refer to as the “cool” crowd. So lost in the gap between what is real and what he wants to believe, Harold even thinks he is part of the football team, when, in fact, he is the water boy. Only towards the end of the football game, the centerpiece of the movie, after multiple injuries have drained the bench and his coach refuses to put him, does Harold learn the truth. Still the injuries kept coming and Harold does get in the game. In the end he scores the winning play and gets the girl. Expressing my own agency as a viewer, I gave The Freshman an anti-Hollywood message. The film is conscious of the gap between big screen Hollywood fantasy and reality. It certainly must be one of the first movies to poke fun at viewers and how they shaped their world views around movies.