Operation Varsity Blues premiered on 18th March 2021 on Netflix. Directed by Chris Smith and Jon Karmen, the film is based on real life events shedding light on the fraudulent methods used by Rick Singer to get the children of rich and famous families into top U.S. universities through “side doors”.
Its All In The Money!
It is no surprise that people with money try to get their children into Ivy League colleges through back/side doors through extensive ‘donations’. Over the years these colleges have been labelled as prestigious and hold not just ranks but pride too. Therefore, for millionaire parents, these colleges are not only sources of education but name game as well. Through Operation Varsity Blues, directors Chris Smith and Jon Karmen reenact the 2019 college admission scandal and how things went through bringing forth the entire scandal with real tapped recordings and more.
While the documentary brings in light something as big and as important as an admission scandal in the said prestigious universities it feels more of schadenfreude than anything. The issue is dramatized on a level where important information loses its ground at a certain point. You find yourself more involved in the on-screen characters than the real facts and figures. But even with this factor being off-putting, the movie doesn’t cease to induce rage in viewers. As a student myself waiting for university replies, the anticipation is already off the roof and imaging somebody else getting the same position with almost zero merits and money is disgustingly angering.
Operation Varsity Blues reveals how mastermind Rick Singer used bribery to win team scholarships for sports that the student never participated in forging a fake sports profile for easy admissions. Singer would also get the individual who conducted a student’s SAT test to alter the answers such that the student received a score of 1,500 points or higher in one especially creative scheme.
There is no excuse for this scheming. The wall of privilege that stands erected between the poor/middle-class student aiming for such colleges for a better life is hampered every time a rich parent decides to pay millions of dollars in the name of donations for children with worse SATs and zero skills. There are many more subtle benefits of this income. As Jon Reider, a former Stanford admissions officer, points out during the documentary, family income and economic status are the best predictors of performance on standardized tests. The explanation for this is that wealthy families can afford to send their children to test prep courses, which have a huge influence on test scores.
No degree can knock moral sense into your head no matter how hard you try. Operation Varsity Blues is infuriating because it’s true and time and again has been a reoccurring problem in every single field, not just education. There are footages of students opening their university application results retelling the viewers what’s at stake for students who spend years not partying but work hard to get through and still have to go through the pain of rejection leading them to feel worthless.
Stream It or Skip It
STREAM IT! Operation Varsity Blues is worth your time as it brings to light a lot of what has not been heard before and stayed between the judiciary and lawyers. The documentary is not just infuriating but also raises ample questions about wealth and the power it holds and more. I just wish the documentary was more like its genre and less like a movie!
Operation Varsity Blues is now streaming on Netflix.
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