Miracle of Morgan’s Creek is first, obviously. And if I had better taste, it would be Hail the Conquering Hero, but that movie always feels a little too sad to me. Anyway, this movie isn’t sad! This movie is silly and fun and college and delightful, and should absolutely be Karan’s next plot to launch new stars. Hey, it worked in Hollywood! This is the movie that started off the careers of Ann Miller, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Eddie Bracken, and Van Johnson (he was in the chorus).
Our 4 heroes, Desi Arnaz, Eddie Bracken, Richard Carlson, and Al Terwilliger, are star football players. They are hired by a millionaire to be the bodyguards for his college age daughter, so she will have strong quick thinking young men guarding her, but won’t suspect them since they are college age and her fellow students. They get their tuition covered plus a large salary. Only problem is, they aren’t allowed to play football while they are guarding her. And they have to sign a contract that they won’t romance her at all themselves. The school is a totally fun party school, the former uptight top student-athlete heroes love relaxing into it, and of course one of them ends up following in love with the woman they are guarding. The movie ends with them joining the football team and bringing the school to victory, and a big celebration dance number.
Now, we should totally remake this as Student of the Year 3!!!!! Flip the script, don’t set it at Saint Teresa’s again, set it at the anti-Saint Teresa’s, a little unnoticed fun school that is always the last in sports, and academics. It used to be all female and still has 10 female students to every boy. The girls sell it to their parents as “safe” and “female”, but really it is just a big party school, the girls all flirt outrageously with the few available boys, everyone sleeps through classes and looks forward to the social events. Basically, it’s the school from Main Hoon Na, but more so.
Our heroes are high achievers from Saint Teresa’s. They are star athletes and decent students. But they are going to their fancy schools on athletic scholarships and so need to work at the snack house to make spending money. Meanwhile, a millionaire father and his spoiled daughter are touring the schools. She has just run away from her overseas school and her bodyguards, he is going to put her in a local Indian school but is worried about her safety, especially when she declares she doesn’t want to go to these fancy schools, she wants to go to the fun little anti-Saint Teresa. But he has a brainwave, he hires the 2 boys working at the cafe to be her new bodyguards once he learns that the star athletes he met on the school tour are also struggling to afford getting through college. He guarantees them a job in his company after graduation, plus a nice salary while going through school, and he will pay their tuition. All they have to do is agree not to play sports (so they can focus on their job) and not to talk to his daughter so she won’t have a chance to figure out they are really bodyguards.
The 3 leads (keeping the SOTY tradition, instead of the 5 leads in the original) land up at the not-Teresa school and try to adjust. The heroine slips right in, thrilled to be able to just have fun and be casual, instead of always perfect and pretty and rich. She goes off to meet her secret lover and is out of synch with him already, she isn’t interested in the French movies and fancy books he talks about, she wants to talk about the gossip from the dorms. And she doesn’t like that he judges her for wearing jeans and a t-shirt instead of the fancy designer clothes she used to wear.
Hero A is stressed, he takes school very seriously and he doesn’t like the casual way classes are treated here. Hero B is thrilled, he’s been working his whole life and now he can just relax and enjoy with no coaches or parents to yell at him. Hero B is the first to be noticed by the heroine, she sees him casually hanging out by the sports fields, flirting with everyone, and notices that he catches a cricket ball perfectly. She challenges him and tricks him and he ends up playing on the team because he doesn’t believe in always following the rules. Hero A is more and more stressed and fights with Hero B. The heroine starts talking to him too, trying to get him to lay off Hero B and convince him to loosen up and break the rules too. She sneaks off campus and he has to follow her (because of the bodyguard job). She takes advantage of that, knowing he is following, and goes to a dangerous bar in town. She does a dance number, he joins in to try to save her from the crowd, then ends up getting into a fight anyway. Big fight scene, mostly him but a little her, and finally they both escape. But they have to spend the night hiding from the crowd following them before they can sneak back on campus. They end up bonding and realizing they have more in common than they think. They have both spent their lives uptight and trying to be perfect, and while she embraced this loose atmosphere, he is scared of it. She convinces him to let himself relax and enjoy the moment a little, to just do what feels right, and he kisses her.
But what of Hero B? He is finally trying, just for himself, for the first time in his life. He is trying on the sports field and he is even trying in class a little too. The heroine inspired him by making him believe he can reinvent himself. He dreams of her and comes up with a 5 year plan, finish out the bodyguard job, graduate, take the job at her father’s company, and then First Date. But when he catches Hero A kissing the heroine, he is heartbroken and shocked. So shocked that he considers telling on Hero A, his Best Friend, to the heroine’s father. He changes his mind at the last minute, but unfortunately someone else finds his letter and mails it, trying to be helpful. Hero A is fired and told never to see the heroine again, and he blames Hero B for everything. INTERVAL
In the second half, Hero A has made his way back to the original Saint Teresa’s school because his grades are still good and he never officially played for any other school in the league, so he still qualifies for his scholarship. Meanwhile Hero B has gotten a scholarship on his own merits at the new school is trying harder than ever before and has become an amazing player, and an inspiration to his teammates, they are heading for the championship where they will go head to head with Hero A and his team. Meanwhile, Heroine has learned the truth about Hero A and reacted by running back to Hero B. Only, as Hero B becomes more and more driven, she feels herself slipping into old patterns, focusing too much on being “perfect” instead of just having fun. And she starts to feel like Hero B doesn’t really want her for her but just as some kind of trophy.
There is a series of games for the championship, the first hosted at not-Saint Teresa’s, the second hosted at Saint Teresa’s, and then the third on the grounds of the winning school. Each school also has to host a social event to welcome the opposing team. The first social event is organized by Hero B, a black tie event with a 70s theme, proving that not-Saint Teresa’s can be fun and funky and also just as classy and fancy as Saint Teresa’s at the same time. It is Hero B’s night of triumph and the heroine realizes that she is just one more symbol of status for him. She breaks up with him right before the big game. He wins anyway and thanks her afterwards, for breaking up with him before the game instead of after, so he knows he did it all on his own. She was right, he was putting to much on her and not enough on himself. Can they try again as friends?
Second series hosted at Saint Teresa’s, Hero A suggests that they try to show that they can have fun too. They host a paintball tournament for their social event. Hero A and the heroine end up in a duel, tracking each other and trying to shoot each other. Along they way they start talking too, Hero A explains he never meant to hurt her, he just fell in love with her. And Heroine admits that she only feels like she was ever herself with him. Maybe someday, after they graduate and it is all over, they can try again. Hero A goes into the game thinking about their conversation and is distracted and loses.
Third game, back at not-Saint Teresa’s. The social event is a grand ball, Hero A and the heroine have a super romantic dance with lots of longing looks, and the heroine’s father shows up to surprise her and witnesses this. Before the Big Game, the heroine’s father has a heart to heart with her about how he has been trying to protect her from having her heart broken, but after seeing the way Hero A looks at her, he knows he will never break her heart. She has his blessing if she wants to start a relationship with Hero A now, before she comes of age.
After that convo, Hero B seeks her out too. He just spoke to Hero A and confirmed that Hero A lost the last game because he was distracted by the heroine. Hero A truly loves her more than himself and his own goals. Plus, Hero B wants to win fair and square, not just because Hero A is distracted. So for the sake of their friendship and Hero A’s own happiness, can she reunite him before the Big Game? Heroine let’s herself be convinced, runs and runs, grabs Hero A and kisses him and tells him to go out there and win.
The two teams and the two heroes face off. Everyone is cheering in the stands. And at the last minute, Hero A is beaten by Hero B. Hero B is just slightly better than him. The two friends shake hands, Heroine runs out onto the field to join them both, they all link arms and run off the field, FREEZE FRAME. Happy Ending.
Bam! There you go Karan, you can thank me any time. And send me a check.