‘The Rise of Thadland’ captures essence of ‘Blue Mountain State’ | Film Review

Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland
A party at Thadland from "Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland." (MTSU Sidelines / File)

Photos courtesy of Lionsgate

Blue Mountain State successfully jumps from cult-classic comedy television to full-length feature film status with Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland.

The film, based on the television series, centers around now graduated linebacker Thad Castle (Alan Ritchson) who has seemingly made the jump to the NFL being the No. 1 pick in the draft.

This movie would’ve never happened if it weren’t for the fans, the people who watched the show back in the early days of Spike. Blue Mountain State ran for three seasons from 2010-2011 on the network but was canceled and seemingly exiled. Netflix then resurrected the show in 2013 and saw an immediate bump in viewership of the program. Ritchson decided to join the creators of the show, Eric Falconer and Chris Romano, in creating a Kickstarter to make the movie that fans had been clamoring for.

The BMS movie was successfully funded in May 2014, raising just over $1.9 million during their short one-month campaign.

Castle has always been known as the cornerstone of the series, the most outlandish character possible, and Ritchson shines as he reprises the role for the first time in nearly four years.

Thad Castle (Alan Ritchson) looks on at his party. (MTSU Sidelines / Lionsgate)
Thad Castle (Alan Ritchson) looks on at his party. (MTSU Sidelines / Lionsgate)

Former second-string QB Alex Moran (Darin Brooks), now starter and team captain, has assumed Thad’s role on the team and taken over the Goat House (The football team party house). Moran is joined by his loveable yet worrisome best friend, Sammy Cacciatore (Chris Romano).

The story focuses on how Moran and the rest of the well-known cast of football players are threatened by Dean Olivares, the new dean of Blue Mountain State (Ed Amatrudo). Olivares wants nothing more than to get rid of the Goat House and plans to auction the property up to the highest bidder just a matter of days after breaking the news.

The rest of the movie is exactly what you’d expect with Moran asking Castle to buy the Goat House for him and the rest of the football team. Castle explains how if Moran throws him the “greatest party ever known” in “Thadland,” then he’d buy the house for them.

Moran, knowing there aren’t any other solid options, creates “Thadland,” and chaos, raunchiness, and downright hilarity ensue as each of the show’s pivotal characters find themselves in a troubling situation.

One of the funnier parts is when Thad Castle finds out that soft-spoken offensive tackle Donnie Schrab (Rob Ramsay) tells him that he’s gay. For Schrab, the rest of the movie is nothing but cheers as Castle does everything from getting bracelets made to trying to set him up. It’s a smaller part of the film, but it hits on the bigger notion of acceptance. When it first took shape, even I’ll admit, it seemed as if Castle was going to bash Schrab, but the way he reacts is one of the better parts of the movie, and it’s a great addition.

Big parts of the series make small returns in The Rise of Thadland. Running back Craig Shiloh (Sam Jones III) reprises his role from season one of the series. Shiloh was one of the bigger parts of the first season, leaving before production of season two, and was a happy smiling face near the end of the movie.

Radon Randell (Page Kennedy) appears late as well in The Rise of Thadland, his first appearance since the beginning of the third season. The polarizing run-and-gun quarterback doesn’t do much, but Falconer was a part they couldn’t cut.

The best part of The Rise of Thadland is the subtle humor and the small moments that remind you of what made the show so great. It’s about partying and fun and good college football, but it’s about the camaraderie more than anything.

One of the bigger lessons the movie teaches near the end is that sometimes the party has to end. You can’t live life like the party doesn’t ever end, and doing it through humor is what the Blue Mountain State team do best. They hit something that they haven’t in any of the seasons — but was necessary — and that was the honesty.

Castle opens up about what’s really going on, and you see the fear on his face speaking about what’s happened since leaving Blue Mountain State.

Overall, Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland is the movie that the fans wanted, but it has its surprisingly real moments. They’re sprinkled in amongst the drugs, the nudity and the humor, but the movie hits on some real life questions that you answer when you walk away from college.

The Rise of Thadland rose to No. 1 on the iTunes movie charts in the first few hours after release and is available for $7.99. The three seasons of the Blue Mountain State television series are available on Netflix.

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To contact Lifestyles editor Tanner Dedmon, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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