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'freshmen'

Director: Tom Huang.
Growing up is never easy - but making movies about it seems to be. Take big-studio flicks like "She's All That," in which the hero learns there's a lot more to the class nerd than he thought, and "American Pie," in which the hero ... well, everybody knows what he does. Then there are lesser-known, low- budget films like Tom Huang's "Freshmen." By turns serious and humorous, "Freshmen" effortlessly captures the ups and downs in the lives of four freshmen in their first quarter at Los Angeles University.
At the start of the film, the foursome have nothing in common except the American History class they share. There's San Ling (played by Huang), who tries to distance himself from his Chinese upbringing, and Rick Kennedy, a transplant from Baltimore who wrestles with a controlling father and his own slightly racist beliefs. Tonisha Watkins commutes to campus from Compton, struggling to balance her desires to help her family pay its bills and to study hard and become a doctor. Rounding out the group is Judy Oz (from Kansas, of course), the consummate party girl who's nearly consumed by the college social scene. But by the end of the film they've grown closer, forging a special bond by helping each other do a little growing up.
"Freshmen" is a touching film, and it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

-Arlene Hittle