The Faculty: The Awful Movie That Launched a Thousand Careers

The Faculty is one of those movies that’s just slipped by me for years. I’ve heard of it, I kind of knew what it was about, I’ve just never seen it, and last night I sat down and watched the thing. What I didn’t realize was just how absolutely star-studded the movie is, and I doubt the movie knew it at the time either.

There are so many recognizable faces in this, I almost laughed every time I saw a new one. I was so surprised by the good fortune this film had to assemble a young cast who actual had a future in front of them, I decided it was worth a post showcasing the massive amount of talent that the movie had without really even realizing it.

The movie itself is awful. It’s about a school that gets taken over by a parasitic alien, who can only be killed by pens filled with cocaine. I’m serious. It’s a B-movie for the modern era, but one that is more often than not, just plain retarded.

But man, how about this cast? Read on:

1. Elijah Wood

Every movie needs a wimpy lead to later become strong, and here young Elijah was it. Sure he’d had some major roles before this, but this was before he really started to blow up, and far earlier than his trip to Mordor.

2. Josh Hartnett

The closest thing to a second lead The Faculty has would be Josh Hartnett, who plays a genius drug dealer who breaks all the rules and keeps failing his senior year before he’s bored. He really has an awful haircut in this movie.

3. Robert Patrick

Not exactly a future star per se, but yes, this is the T-1000 liquid Terminator that hunted Arnold and Edward Furlong throughout T2. And yes, you are correct, he is a bad guy here.

4. Jordana Brewster

The hot chick popular lead role goes to a young Jordana Brewster, still very much hot here. She’s not huge these days, but you probably know who she is through the Fast and the Furious series or her various other projects like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel.

5. Shawn Hatosy

You might not know the name, but if you’ve been watching Southland on TNT, you definitely know the face. One of the stars of that show was young Shawn here, who plays the jock turned scholar dating Jordana’s character.

6. Jon Stewart

Now things are getting weirder. The future host of The Daily Show has only had a few roles in movies over the years, and this was one of his strangest. There is a thoroughly excellent scene where he dies by getting stabbed in the eye with a pen full of cocaine. It’s sublime.

7. Salma Hayek

What the? Yes, a not-quite-a-bombshell-yet version of Salma Hayek shows up in the film for a few scenes as the school nurse. You’ll see why her appearance makes sense when I get to the director.

8. Christopher McDonald

Yes, that’s definitely Shooter McGavin, showing up in a brief role as Elijah Wood’s overbearing father who thinks his son is on drugs when he reports his teachers are all aliens.

9. Famke Janssen

The future X-hottie plays a reserved teacher who bickers with Josh Hartnett, but she turns sultry once the alien parasite gets ahold of her.

10. Danny Masterson

The future Hyde from That ’70s Show appears briefly as (what else) a drug user who scores coke from Hartnett’s dealer character.

11. Usher Raymond

Are you impressed yet? Yes, even Ursher himself is in this damn movie, and he’s barely even an actor. He’s just a side note, as a football player friend of one of the main kids, but it’s bizarre to see him nonetheless.

12. And it’s all directed by Robert Rodriguez

Yes, this film was made by the Desperado/Sin City/Machete director whose other work FAR outweighs this crap. Only briefly do you catch any glimpse of his style in this film, and one wonders what prompted him to make this thing in the first place?

There you have it, maybe this is old news, but I found it really damn interesting to see all these faces in one awful film. Makers you wonder which shitty horror movie made today might contain a bunch of stars from a decade from now…

  • Josh

    This was yet another retelling of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, right?

  • Bert

    If I can recall correctly, Jon Stewart often references this movie (and how awful it was) on the Daily Show.

  • I clearly remember the trailers and how I actually wanted to see this one because it was directed by Rodriguez. But I never managed to go watch it. Now that you mention this here I have to see it too.

  • ArT

    I hate to say it, but a lot of these actors (especially the “older” ones) were already big names by the time this movie came around. Robert Patrick had already starred in Terminator 2 AND Die Hard 2 (1991 and 1990). Salma Hayek’s boobs were already out there in 96 with From Dusk Til Dawn and earlier in Desperado. So their careers had already been made by this time.

  • You should watch Cable Guy sometime too, it has-
    David Cross
    Jack Black
    Owen Wilson
    Ben Stiller
    Jim Carrey
    Matthew Broderick
    Janeane Garofalo
    Andy Dick
    Bob Odenkirk

  • And Kyle Gass

  • I actually rather enjoyed this movie

  • J5

    I’m glad you addressed him by his stage name….”Ur-sher.”

  • Henry

    Then again, Robert Rodriguez made those Spy Kids movies… and is making another one.

  • Henrik

    I love this movie. It’s one of those “so bad it’s hilarious” movies. I watch it all the time.

  • Omar

    I’m pretty sure this movie was supposed to be a satire of alien invasion B-movies/teen films.


  • Skeebo

    This movie is awesome fun to watch.

    Is it great cinema, hell no, but not everything has to be the Dark Knight of its genre.

    This is great, turn your brain off and enjoy the stupidity fun. No preachy messages just fun.

  • Tim

    This movie was definitely a modern-day retelling of Invasion of the Body-Snatchers. Jon Stewart already was the host of the Daily Show, by the time the movie came out. As well as Danny Masterson playing Hyde on That 70’s Show. Both had been in their respective roles for about 2 years by that point. It’s really not that weird that Usher is in this movie, he was trying to branch out as an actor at that point. He had already released an album and was in a few movies during that year. I think the studio, Dimension if I remember correctly, knew they had assembled quite a cast, even at that time. I certainly remember thinking that. Plus this type of movie fits the time period in which it was released. Scream, and it’s clones were all the rage and studios where looking crank out horror movies with a high school setting. It’s what was “in” at the time for horror. This movie happened to change the formula by not being a typical slasher high school horror flick. I’ll give them credit for that. And Robert Rodriguez was probably just trying to cash in on the popularity. And quite frankly, the movie was a good time when I saw it originally, they don’t make many movies like this anymore. Take it for what it is, a good popcorn movie with friends.

  • Alex

    I actually loved the movie. And I did always find it fun just how many famous people there are in it. Oh by the way you forgot Clea DuVall . She has been in some major movies

  • Matt Chi

    When it first came out I actually liked this movie quite a bit. I suppose it’s a bit dated to current tastes. But as said above. It did come out around the scream era.

    @Nick, good reference on cable guy for sure.

  • David

    You forgot Harry what’s his face from Aint it Cool news!

  • Rachel

    Sounds alot like the movie “nowhere” truly an awful, awful film, but had some pretty famous people who were only side characters:
    Christina Applegate
    Denise Richards
    Shannon Doherty
    Heather Graham
    Ryan Phillippe
    Mena Suvari
    If my memory serves me this was also about aliens and drugs, god it was an awful movie.

  • Sam

    Say what you will about robert rodriguez but the guy can put together a good cast in anything. Don’t believe me? Check out the cast list for spy kids 3. sylvester stallone, alan cumming, tony shalhoub, bill paxton, elijah wood, george clooney the list goes on

  • The Dylanthropist

    wow i can’t believe the hate for this movie in this article. i thought this was awesome back in the day. i love a good high-school ensemble movie and the cast was great. you forgot that weird looking snaggletoothed chick from Heroes in your list though…

  • VincentMarius

    You should check out Freddie Prinze’s “She’s All That.” Loads of stars before they made it big.

    Freddie Prinze, Matthew Lillard, Paul Walker, Dule Hill, Rachel Leigh Cook, Gabrielle Union, Li’l Kim, Usher, Anna Pacquin, Jodi Lyn O Keefe, Milo Ventimiglia, to name a few.

  • chelsea

    i saw this movie in the theater when it came out and i still love it…. it’s meant to be campy and a rip-off…. they even mention a body snatchers rip-off in the movie.

    as far as teen horror movies go, this is in the top 5.



  • Crash

    Great movie. Loved it.

    Though if memory serves me it was speed or meth, not cocaine. You can’t make coke out of household cleaners.

  • Laura Frances

    cool post, i recently re-watched it and was shocked to see how many damn stars were in this.

  • maria

    this is an amazing film – a cult classic… and may I add josh hartnetts hair is really hot!

  • John

    This was actually a GREAT movie. It isn’t meant to be Pride & Prejudice. It’s mean to be fun.

    And not once was cocaine in this movie. I don’t think you paid much attention.

  • anton

    sometimes you have to just appreciate a movie for what it is; a great popcorn sci-fi horror flick. same thing goes for a movie like desperado. you’ve also just cancelled out anything else you will or have already reviewed since clearly, you think your standards are way too high. Also, if you don’t actually watch the movie or comprehend what’s going on in it, how can you accurately review it? Cocaine from house-hold chemicals? Seriously?? dumb-ass.

  • Terrill Case

    I love this movie myself I did not find it awful at all I have seen it many times

  • Bitpls

    I love this movie. I watch is every year.

  • Brad Davis

    A bit late to the party, but felt this should be noted after reading this article:

    Jon Stewart’s teacher character actually doesn’t die in the movie. If you stick around during the credits, you will see him in it… but where as for the other actors and actresses it was just using vid/pics of them used earlier in the film, in his actor shout-out moment you see him with a bandage over his stabbed out eye and giving a thumbs up with his hand that had most of the fingers lopped off; thus his character lived 😀

  • Dracaveli

    I was still in hs when this came out! One of those period pieces most related to current hs students