We started taking submissions for our third annual Law Revue Video Contest way back in March. It’s taken us so long to review the videos because we’ve had scheduling challenges with our special, returning, awesome guest judge. As you’d already know if you follow Above the Law on Twitter, editor emerita Kashmir Hill has returned to her ATL roots, to pass judgment on the funny videos submitted by our wonderful readers.

This year, 25 law schools submitted nearly 30 videos for the contest. Some of them were entertaining, others excruciating less so.

We’ll start with the latter. If we may paraphrase The Simpsons: other legal blogs reward knowledge, Above the Law punishes ignorance.

Aww… just kidding. We really just want to give shout-outs to as many law schools as we can. And we figure the students who submitted these clips are grown adults who won’t mind some gentle ribbing.

Of course, if you submitted a video we’ve singled out for dishonorable mention, you might want to whip out the Astroglide before you read the comments, just to make sure the ribbing feels gentle enough. Your three ATL editors aren’t that harsh, but we can’t speak for the commenters….

Let’s lead off with one of the more spectacular failures, the Libraria video of Fordham Law. They based it on Rihanna’s Disturbia — a promising start. But anticipating a funky Rihanna parody is pretty much as good as it gets.

ELIE: It was always going to be hard to do a low-budget take-off of a high-budget video… especially if you don’t have anybody in your law school who looks like Rihanna. But damn, Fordham, you’ve got to come up with something more than fake blood.
KASH: I love Zombie movies, but this one nearly ruined the genre for me. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with dancing zombies, but if you don’t have Michael Jackson on your law revue and can’t sing like Rihanna, it’s going to leave your audience preferring to have their brains eaten out to watching your video.
LAT: Oy. Out-of-sync singing, weak lyrics, poor production values…. even the guy with nice arms in a torn t-shirt couldn’t save this one.

At least Fordham stuck to the rules of the contest. Students at the University of Minnesota Law School apparently can’t be bothered to follow the rules. Accordingly, we had to slap a tl;dv (“too long; didn’t view”) on their submission.

We wanted to give our neighbors to the north a shout-out, for the submission from Queen’s University Faculty of Law, in Ontario. They shot their video, All of the Rights, on an iPhone4:

ELIE: It’ll be awesome when Steve Jobs comes out with an “AutoDance” app for the iPhone66 that can correct the undulations seen here by these Canadians. Until then, I’d advise them to continue importing black people and mixing their culture together at least until they can produce something like Fergie.
KASH: This one seemed like an elementary school kid’s after-school special, because of the production values — and because second graders are probably the only ones who stand a chance of learning anything new from this video. It wasn’t terrible, but it left me feeling, “eh.”
LAT: Oh, Canada…. I think I got more pleasure from seeing those naked pics of one of your judges. The only good thing about this video was the African-American African-Canadian gent in the white wig. Oh, and maybe the guy in the fur coat that made him look like a Muppet.

Back in New York, there were more atrocities. There was this sexual innuendo-laced submission from Cardozo that we will say no more about (luckily, the other entry from the ‘Dozo was much stronger). And then there were a pair of submissions from CUNY (City University of New York) that were disappointing and disturbing:

Perhaps they did such a poor job imitating Justice Scalia because they don’t like to read:

ELIE: Maybe I’ve just got a stick up my butt, but I’m pretty sure there is nothing funny about destroying a book. There’s that great scene in Dead Poets Society where they rip out the section on poetry by Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, but that scene was a moving statement about the perils of judging art, not some frat boy with a chainsaw who was too angry to express his issues with words or song. Boo.
KASH: I must admit that I’ve never been a Jackass fan. I prefer higher-level humor. There was perhaps some nice irony in choosing a property law book for destruction, but if that was purposeful, it was the sole bit of cleverness in this video. Though it’s nice to see that should law and/or stand-up not work out for this Angry Law School Student, he has an alternative career as a lumberjack. Or can lure people out to his cabin in the woods for a low-budget filming of The Law Student Chain Saw Massacre.
LAT: Some advice for future Law Revue editors: online audiences are very impatient; you need to get to the point, or at least make us laugh, in the first 30 seconds.

Our last dishonorable mention is from a school we are shocked to see here. Over the years, we’ve seen some impressive efforts from NYU Law. Last year, they had a timely Lady Gaga parody, Just Cram. Many people thought they should have won the contest two years ago with their South Park-inspired What Would Arthur Miller Do.

This year… well, it’s like watching Willie Mays stumbling around centerfield in a Mets uniform:

ELIE: Come on fellas. Let’s just go. I don’t want to see them like this. I don’t want to remember them this way.
KASH: It’s not usually the case that NYU guys leave me unsatisfied, but this one did.
LAT: I actually didn’t dislike this video as much as Elie and Kash. There’s some nice eye candy (male and female) in the first 15 seconds, the dancing isn’t awful, and I chuckled at “Civ Preezy.” But I’m not sure about the casting of Arthur Miller. And I do agree that this pales in comparison to past NYU Law efforts, such as two of my favorites, both from 2008: Barbri Girl and Wait Two Seconds.

Trust us, though — the Law Revue contest wasn’t all hip-hop parodies and inside jokes. Some schools knocked it out of the park this year. Check in tomorrow for the finalists.

Earlier: Above the Law’s Third Annual Law Revue Contest Starts… Now!


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