Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal
Director: Chris Smith
Year Released: 2021
Sharp overview of the 2019 bribery scandal involving "life coach"/"college advisor" Rick Singer (played by Matthew Modine) who "arranged" for wealthy parents to help place their less-than-bright children at universities like Stanford and USC by doctoring their applications saying that they played sports that they never did and tinkering with their ACT scores (by getting someone to take it for them). Smith does a fine job combining dramatic recreations - with the "dialogue" taken from wiretapped conversations the FBI obtained - and traditional interviews, and it does a better-than-average job trying to analyze Singer and the families involved: it's really about prestige (or "clout" as the kids call it) and these schools puffing up their own reputations. As someone who's been involved in education - and been around many, many high school seniors rejected by the universities they desperately wanted to get into - this is pure nightmare fuel, and if there's a major takeaway it's that standardized testing needs to be abolished.