Oxford colleges are known for their own quirks, stemming from the rich history of the University. Inspired by these traits, here’s the Cherwell guide to movies that reflect the gimmicks of our homes away from home.
Brasenose: Incongruent duos are the name of the game at Brasenose, with the college recently receiving renown for David Cameron’s encounter with a porky, pink playmate. It therefore only seems apt to liken this college then to Babe, which also recounts the development of another equally touching relationship between man and pig.
Corpus Christi: Continuing the theme of politicians, this college was home for three years to DC’s arch-nemesis: the bacon sandwich-scoffing, kitchen fanatic, fratricidal ex-leader of the opposition, on your ‘Ead son Miliband. It has been rumoured (unconfirmed), that his half-brother, Wallace Miliband, appeared in the seminal classic Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, though latest info suggests Wallace has now sought out police protection in order to escape Ed’s brother-killing tendencies.
Merton: Reddit reliably informs this author that Empire by Andy Warhol is the most boring film ever made. Allegedly comprised of merely one uncut 485 minute long single shot of the Empire state building, this feels to be an apt fit for the college in which ‘fun goes to die’. Though perhaps this is a bit unfair on Empire, as cinema viewers only have to grit their teeth and bear with almost seven hours of the film, whereas Mertonians must deal with three years of tedium. Yikes.
St. Catz: An inordinate usage of CGI (otherwise known as fake images) cedes quite poetically for the ghastly modernism that characterises the architectural style of St Catz (otherwise known as fake Oxford). Likewise, its irritating insistence that it’s different makes Catz comparable to perhaps the most universally loathed character to grace the big screen: Jar Jar Binks. That’s right, St. Catherine’s is the Oxford college equivalent of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Sometimes newer is just not better.
Lady Margaret Hall: LMH’s infamy for its stupendous distance from the centre of Oxford means that a comparison with The Hobbit Trilogy has to be made. Having to watch 474 minutes to get to the end of this mind-bendingly and utter unnecessarily long film is akin to the walk from LMH to the Exam Schools, the train station, or indeed, anywhere. Some LMH students have perished on an unexpected journeys, with causes of death including being eaten by a giant spider in the forest of Cowley and being burned alive in Smaug’s cave at the top of the Carfax Tower. Ouch.
Wadham: When we see Wadhamites marching down the high-street with military uniformity, holding aloft portraits of Stalin, Mao and Marx all to the glorious fanfare of trumpets, drums and cymbals, the comparison with any Communist propaganda film has already been made for this author. Anti-establishment iconoclasm is their speciality, with the semi-burning of Christ Church’s hall allegedly a protest against their ‘elitist’ formals.
Oriel: In The Martian, by all accounts Mark Watney should have died at least 17 times: his persistence made one wonder whether more sinister, other-worldly forces were keeping him alive and well. This feeling will strike a chord with all ‘Orielians’ too, with their nagging sense that the statute of Rhodes should also have died or fallen a long time ago.