‘Operation Varsity Blues’ review: Netflix’s hybrid documentary about the college admissions scandal barely passes the ‘worth watching’ test

Naturally, Life time currently weighed in with its own quickie film about the subject, however that just scratched the surface area. Here, the filmmakers behind the “Fyre” documentary, Chris Smith and Jon Karmen, get Matthew Modine to represent the mastermind of the operation, Rick Vocalist, considerably reenacting his wiretapped discussions with accomplices and the moms and dads included.

It’s a flashy method of showing what occurred, however as is so frequently real with such ventures, too adorable for its own great, blurring the lines in between scripted drama and truth. Make a motion picture or make a documentary, however eventually, comprise your mind and select a lane.

The feature film does supply higher insight into how the plan worked, and the level to which these rich moms and dads lived out their own hopes and dreams through their kids. “The parents are applying to college, and the kid is the vehicle through which they apply to college,” states college admissions therapist Perry Kalmus.

Undoubtedly, maybe the most efficient video woven into the documentary includes kids exulting or deflating when they get college notices — one states sensation “broken” by a rejection — highlighting both the pressure they deal with and the youths denied those victorious minutes due to the fact that of admissions reached peers whose moms and dads utilized Vocalist’s “side door” to purchase their method.

Matthew Modine (right) portrays Rick Singer in the hybrid documentary 'Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal' (Netflix ©2021).
While the discussion concentrates on Vocalist and the moms and dads — consisting of star Lori Loughlin, along with Felicity Huffman amongst the higher-profile star names — much of the product arraigns the whole system. The problems raised variety from the focus on universities generating large quantities of cash — consisting of contributions to “under the radar” sports — to cultivating college rankings that increase competitors to enter elite schools.
The interviews likewise consist of a few of those swept up in the event, such as previous Stanford cruising coach John Vandemoer, who pleaded guilty to setting up kickbacks for trainees with no experience who were designated as cruising employees. Unlike numerous other coaches and administrators included, Vandemoer didn’t keep the cash himself, and he implicates his managers of displaying basic indifference towards his program other than when he was passing along fat checks.

Akil Bello, a test preparation specialist, lastly gets to the heart of the matter — and maybe why a lot of had such a visceral response to this story — asking, “Why did these parents choose to cheat when their children had so much already?”

It’s an excellent concern, as is the one about why “Operation Varsity Blues” felt forced to dramatize a documentary that didn’t require any of that decoration.

“Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” premieres March 17 on Netflix.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.