Brandon Lee – not Bruce’s son – is famous enough in Scotland for something he did in high school, which can go in a few ways. Whichever way that story goes is where My Old School takes us. I skimmed through other reviews of the documentary and I also saw the poster. So its reputation, to me at least, is that it’s the one where Alan Cumming lip syncs. That’s enough of a selling point for many viewers. But my personal selling point here is that it’s the one where the animation looks like Daria, so this documentary already has 3 stars.
In My Old School, Cumming is the stand in for Lee, but most of the people he went to high school with in the 1990s show up as themselves as interview subjects. Lee has his space within the film to tell his side of the story. But it gives enough space for those other subjects to unpack what they think Lee’s story is. I want to go back on what I said earlier about things going a few different ways. These interviews, mostly for the better, is one of the few instances that can make viewers look back on high school.
My Old School only goes sideways when it has Lee’s former classmates look at a video. Members of that class in the alma mater performed South Pacific on stage. Many of them remember that performance differently than the video shows. And it also shows Lee in a different light than most of them remember. There’s a part of me that feels like the film doesn’t indict Lee enough for his actions. But at the same time, the things that Brandon did happened to them and not to me. Only they can provide the nuance which the film respects.
My Old School plays again as part of Hot Docs on May 4.