Here are folks that are dropping everything in pursuit of knowledge (think “Razor’s Edge”); often living in abject poverty, willingly, for long periods toward achieving some higher goal (think “Ghandi“), well into the age when their friends are earning an honest living (think “Wall Street“).
Yet as I wrack my brain I can think of only a handful of depictions–in books or film–of the grad student life (concept album, anyone?). And most of these are bad, bad, bad.
But there is at least one that is good, good, good. My vote for the best portrayal of a graduate student ever. And the guy’s a field biologist no less!
Here’s your chance to set me straight, by the way. In the comments, tell me about your favorite fictional graduate student. Or, if you’re having as much trouble as I am, tell me a film that might as well be about grad school. In other words, just change the name of the workplace, switch the Muzak to Radiohead, and, presto, grad school!
OK, my vote for the best, most accurate portray of a grad student, below the fold.
It must be Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws, the marine biologist who very nearly went “All But Dissertation” as he dealt with a ravenous, hypertrophied great white shark and a ravenous, hypertrophied, Robert Shaw.
Dreyfuss’s Hooper had everything.
- He could drink like a sailor
- He was charming and neurotic and fanatical
- He had a “feeling for his organism”
- He was a problem-solver (letting Roy Scheider blow up the shark)
- The guy had his own boat. He could secure funding!
Matt Hooper. A professor’s dream.