Blue Mountain State: The Rise Of Thadland is a drug-fueled dystopian comedy that would make Rob Gronkowski blush – we’re coming out of the gate guns-blazing on this one! Everything that television audiences love about the hard-partying Mountain Goats makes a return in Lev L. Spiro’s spinoff film, as creators Eric Falconer and Romanski leave a trail of cocaine dust while they unleash epic, Thad-Castle-approved anarchy.
It’s perversely familiar and relentlessly immature (in a good way), which is everything BMS fans have come to expect. We’re gifted an epic, multi-day party that reunites all our favorite characters, but with the calculated exclusion of on-field football antics, something feels slightly amiss. Not enough to detract immensely, just a little more welcomed playmaking to balance…ah, who am I kidding. You’re watching for the sloots and booze, and that’s exactly what you’ll get!
As Alex Moran enters his last season of collegiate football, he fantasizes about what will hopefully be the best year of his storied “extracurricular” career. The Goat House has seen many an alcoholic binge, but Moran plans to slack unlike anything Blue Mountain State has ever seen – until tragedy strikes.
Dreams of unlimited babes and kegs of light beer are threatened when a new Dean (Ed Amatrudo) reveals his plan to auction the Goat House, bringing dignity back to the BMS football program. With no other option, Moran enlists the financial help of an old friend, and number one overall NFL draft pick, Thad Castle. After reaching an agreement, that being Moran needs to bring Thad’s wildest vision to life, the uber-rich football star agrees to buy the Goat House. So, with the help of some familiar faces, Moran gets to work on the craziest and most enlightened idea in the history of partying – a magical place known only as Thadland.
If that all sounds like an excuse to throw the biggest, naked-est, most boobylicious party in the history of college cinema, then you already know how Blue Mountain State: The Rise Of Thadland plays out.
Just kidding. You definitely still don’t.
This is Hollywood fantasy partying on levels that make me want to relive college again, only to realize that blowouts this epic don’t happen in reality. Romanski and Falconer hit all the cornerstones of frat-boy humor. Cocaine/weed/alcohol dispensers display every imaginable flavor(?), heaving breasts jiggle freely in the wild, and there’s even a freakin’ Mojito hot tub. This is a movie built for thirsty BMS fans who yearn for more of Thad’s high-strung insanity, and on that level, these irresponsible “athletes” deliver debaucherous perversion of the most bro-dacious kind.
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Yet without any football commentary to balance the Goat’s unhealthy partying habits, one can’t help but feel like something’s missing. So many fantastic episodes revolve around actual sporting conundrums, such as Thad’s going soft or the NCAA drug testing. Despite a heavy emphasis on alcoholism, BMS honors football just as much as it does early liver destruction, and that void is definitely felt throughout Blue Mountain State: The Rise Of Thadland.
We’ve seen movies go full-throttle into party mode, like your random American Pie fivequals, but Blue Mountain State set itself apart through athletic satire – none of which enters the Goat’s first feature film. In other words, long-time fans will welcome Thadland with open, super-buff arms, but newer audiences won’t be getting the full BMS experience.
That said, if I’m going to sit through an hour and a half’s worth of heinous naughtiness, give me the BMS vision any day. Or, really, give me Thad Castle any day (phrasing?). Alan Ritchson’s portrayal of Castle will go down as one of the funniest sports caricatures of our generation, wholly thanks to the actor’s fearless commitment.
Blending model-quality looks with college-athlete stupidity, everything Castle does only adds to his legend. Blatant misogyny is nothing to applaud, agreed, but the way he whaps breasts around like a distracted kitten only compares to the gleaming smile on his face while playing “Spin The Thadle.” Ritchson’s energy is that of a rocket-ship powered by pure, Colombian nosecandy, proving that what you get out of a role equates to what you put in. Thankfully for us, Ritchson goes balls-deep into Thad Castle (phrasing?), and loves every slooty second.
Most other characters feel a bit overshadowed by Castle’s millionaire bravado, as acknowledged by Moran’s fourth-wall breaking dialogue. Players make their usual appearances, from Harmon Tedesco’s (James Cade) drug manufacturing to Larry’s (Omari Newton) confidence issues, as personalities are reinstated, but never evolved. Take Sammy for example (Chris Romano aka Romanski), who just becomes a more depraved version of his already lovable, vile self. Without the restrictions of television censors, Sammy turns into a dick-waving lunatic whose increased shock value does very little for character development (but plenty for laughs). Same for Moran’s charm, Mary Jo’s (Frankie Shaw) instincts, and Coach Daniels’ (Ed Marinaro) no-shits-given manliness. Even with the addition of Jimmy Tatro as Dickdawg, your favorite characters simply step back in line – but if you love ’em already, then who cares?
So what is Blue Mountain State: The Rise Of Thadland? For some, it’ll be a glorious, muscle-bound return, but I see it more as a reminder of the fight left in BMS. It’s an introduction to a new chapter, that hopefully we’ll be granted access to sooner rather than never. Being a BMS fan, I got the laughs that Thadland hoped to achieve, but newcomers should binge the show on Netflix before diving into this wild carnival of sins. Can I get away with calling it Mad Max meets American Pie? For those of us who want a Season 4 about Alex Moran’s senior swan song (AT THE LEAST), this is the acid-laced taste that’ll leave you craving more.
Well, maybe less Romanski dick shots, but more of everything else!
The Rise Of Thadland heroically invests in throwing the party of the century, delivering unholy amounts of sex, drugs, more sex, more drugs, a Mojito hot tub, and sex while on drugs. Translation: this may not be for everyone.