Bickford SchmecklerJust because I haven’t heard of it before, doesn’t mean it’s not any good. That’s the lesson I have learned during my career as a fan of independent films and “B” movies. Such was the case with Bickford Schmeckler’s Cool Ideas.

I’d had this one on my Netflix list for several months, and could never bring myself to give it a chance. But finally, the other night, I decided to give it a go.

Bickford Schmeckler is a neurotic smart kid living in the basement of a fraternity. He attempts to ignore the insane partying which goes on upstairs, while thinking deep thoughts about deep things. He takes these deep thoughts and writes them all down in “The Book”.

During the party, a seemingly ditzy blonde sneaks into his room and steals The Book. From that point forward, both Bickford and The Book begin a grand journey of misadventure and self-discovery. Hilarity ensues.

Wait, did I say “hilarity”? The movie is NOT hilarious. It IS funny though, and more importantly, held my interest throughout its 79 minute running time. Yes, you read that correctly, the movie is only an hour and 19 minutes long (I enjoy watching short movies, that way, if I end up hating it, at least I didn’t invest three hours in it).

The movie stars Patrick Fugit in the title role, a reasonably young actor (he’s younger than me, so I can still call him young, right?) who has several acting credits to his name. Olivia Wilde as the hot blonde (every movie has one, right?).

Bickford ShmecklersMore notable might be three actors in smaller roles. Mathew Lillard (Shaggy from the live-action Scooby Doo movies), John Cho (of Harold and Kumar fame… or the new Sulu, depending on what kind of nerd you are), and Mageina Tovah are all featured. (The last, I only recognize as the girl in the Spider Man movies that Tobey MaGuire will never even give the time of day to).

I do have some minor complaints with the film though. First off, Patrick Fugit is far too cool looking and “normal” in appearance to be the “neurotic smart kid” type. One also has to wonder why a kid like that would even be IN a fraternity (those types of kids would never ALLOW him to be associated with their group).

Oh… and this movie suffers from the same problem that many “teen comedies” have… the hot blonde in question? There is honestly no reason for her to have any interest in the title character… at all– it’s just unrealistic……trust me, I know for a fact that hot blondes have no interest in “the smart kid”.

What might even be more upsetting is Bickford’s reaction to the situation he’s in. He’s much more interested in retrieving his precious notebook, than actually living a real life. This can become annoying to the point that, at times, I felt like taking a baseball bat to the main characters head. But then again, if he weren’t, I guess there wouldn’t be much of a movie.

Despite these failings, the movie overwhelming succeeds. As I said, it held my interest throughout, and I enjoyed it enough to sit down and recommend it to you.

A word of warning, there are some instances of drinking, marijuana use and some sexual themes as well. So if that sort of thing bothers you, steer clear. However, I really felt that, for the most part, it was surprisingly clean for a movie with the “teen comedy” label.

So, if you’ve got 80 minutes to kill some night, and you’re perusing Netflix for something interesting, you might give this one a try. Hope you enjoy.


Title: Bickford Schmeckler’s Cool Ideas

Year: 2006

Rating: R

Advisories: Alcohol, marijuana use, some ‘adult’ situations and sexual references.

Running Time: 79 minutes