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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

21: The Movie Night by Matt McGann '00

From the Bay Area to Boston, Seattle to the Florida Keys, Houston to Chicago, the Class of 2012 hits the theaters.

Before we get to scenes from the MIT Class of 2012 Movie Night, I’ll share a few of my thoughts and observations after having seen 21 this weekend (now the #1 movie in the country):

  • Lots of folks have been interested in 4-145, the Blackjack Team practice room. For example, Chris wrote, “‘4-145,’ the blackjack team room, should be one of the first-floor rooms of Building 4 here at MIT. Although the movie producers got the numbering system right, the numbers of the rooms aren’t stuck on the lower right of the glass panels of the rooms (especially not in Building 4 – they’re affixed to a placard next to the door). Also, we have a lot of recitations in Building 4, and the classrooms are definitely not laid out anything like that classroom in the movie.”

    I actually thought the movie 4-145 was closer to the real thing than most of the rooms in the movie (I thought Ben’s dorm room was much more soulless than any dorm room I’ve seen at MIT). But see for yourself. Below is the movie 4-145, then the real 4-145:

    Anyway, see the room for yourself when you visit MIT. It’s not hard to find.

  • I liked seeing Jeff Ma ’94 (the “real” Ben Campbell) get more than a passing shot of screen time as Jeffrey, the blackjack dealer:

  • In the movie, Ben’s major is “pre-med.” Of course, there’s no pre-med major — students interested in medicine major in lots of different departments. Giving MIT characters fake majors is nothing new, though: take, for example, 2003’s “The Recruit,” where Colin Farrell’s CIA trainee character, James Clayton, majored in “non-linear cryptography.”

  • The 2.09 competition? Well, as others have already noted, there is no class called 2.09 at MIT. The closest in number would probably be the awesome course 2.009: Product Engineering Processes. 2.009, like 2.09, is a team-based competition, but team size is 15-18 students rather than 2 for 2.09.

    Near to 2.009 is 2.007: Design & Manufacturing I, MIT’s famous robotics competition course (and the class that FIRST Robotics was based on). Unlike 2.09, though, 2.007 is an individual competition, and there’s no judging — only robot battle — to determine the winner.

    Both 2.009 and 2.007, like 2.09, are pretty big deals on campus, and have significant corporate sponsorship. The fictional 2.09 is sponsored by the MIT alum-founded company iRobot. Their CEO, Colin Angle ’89 SM ’91, makes a cameo in the movie (I believe as the 2.09 judge, but I’m not sure).

    Zach ’10, though, notes in the comments of Chris’ entry that the course could be 2.12: Introduction to Robotics:

    “Great post! my one comment is directed toward clarifying the course 2 part of the movie :). the 2.09 competition would be most analogous to 2.12, Introduction to Robotics. 2.007 is indeed a robot competition, BUT: 1) its an individual event 2) the robots are remote controlled, not programmed and 3) the materials and task are very limited. The robots in the movie seem too complicated, plus they all do their own thing, to be 2.007 bots. however, 2.12 is a team based competition, and the robots are programmed to be autonomous (although I think that course 2 and course 6 students team up and the 2s build while the 6ers program)”

    Probably, we’re all just over-analyzing this… it’s just a movie, after all.

Okay, on to movie night…

21: Bay Area

Back row: Jackie Chan, Peter’15, Alejandro’12, Mike’12, Drew’12, Michael
Front row: Yuanyu’12, Tiffany’11, Stephen’11, Rachel’12, Sareena’12, Katherine’12, Linda’12, Steffi

Rachel ’12 writes, “Sorry, a few non-prefrosh sneaked into the picture. Hopefully we have enough real ones to make up for it. The Bay Area is pretty conducive to finding MIT people =)

“It might be noteworthy that 10 people in our group are FIRST Roboticsers, and I think 5 are/have been team captains (including the guy taking the picture, but he goes to Harvard). Coincidence?

“The movie was pretty fun, although a lot of scenes went like this:
21: [math joke/commentary about MIT students not having lives]
Us: [collective groan]

“Also, during the abrupt, exposition-free sex scene:
‘Oh my god, where did the plot just go?’
‘I lost it!'”

21: Boston

Lauren ’12, Xiaoli ’12, Kimberly ’12, Kevin, Allison ’12, Mario ’12

21: Seattle

Calvin ’12, Darien (younger sister ’12), Matthew

Says Calvin, “We attempt to spell MIT with three people, but as you can see, it didn’t go very well. I guess our human positioning skills were a bit lacking.

“We had a great time, and I loved the opening panoramic shot of Boston along Harvard Bridge. I tried to spot some of the Smoots, but I think I ended up missing them.”

21: Chicago

Emily ’12, Evelyn ’12, Stephanie ’12

Emily writes, “At the movies. We didn’t have our MIT gear, but we spelled out MIT with our fingers and brought the book.”

21: San Antonio

Kayla ’12, Beatriz ’12

Says Kayla, “Two MIT ’12s in MIT gear. :D (no book though, sorry!~)”

21: Kalamazoo

Omar ’12

21: Houston

Ahmed ’12

Ahmed writes, “I thought the movie was alright. The cheesy and cliche dialogue kind of killed it.”

21: New York City

Akara ’12, Evá ’12, Lesley ’12, Becky ’12

Becky writes, “Lol, we forgot to take our picture when we were at the theatre, and the nearest bookstore didn’t have the book. Oh, well.”

21: Howard County, Maryland

Phil ’12, Danny ’12, Jennifer ’12, Samantha ’12

Kayla ’12 of San Antonio (above) says of this photo, “ah i think you guys get the most bonus points! despite the one guy not wearing MIT gear. unless i can’t read that? haha whatev, props. :)”

21: Atlanta

Heidi ’12, Marcel ’12

Not only did they see the movie, Marcel also wowed everyone with a card trick:

21: East Bay

Ivy ’12, Celena ’12

21: Florida Keys

Friend and Fausto ’12

Fausto writes, “Me and a friend (non-prefrosh … sorry, I needed someone to hold the poster up) going to see 21. No book … but I brought MIT stuff!”

21: Cleveland

Matt ’12, Alison ’12, Steven ’12, Beneah ’12

After the blog entry was posted, Steven ’12 wrote, “Nooooo!! I just came back from seeing 21, WITH 3 MIT PREFROSH!! AND TOOK PICTURES! (and even put them on the MIT Class of 2012 website SO if you wanted to put a picture up it would be really cool and I would love you forever) (and ever) (andevveerrrr…)”

30 responses to “21: The Movie Night”

  1. Snively says:

    Excellent. Very fun, good times.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I can see the “second” flurry now.

  3. Rachel'12 says:

    Wow, #1 movie in the country! Something you’re not telling us? Are you getting a cut of the profits? =P

  4. Marcel '12 says:

    YES!!! I made it to the blog!!! That’s me doing the card “trick” (with no glue, strings, or magical wizardry). Oh, and shout out to MITES ’07. Yeah, I see you, Kayla, Beatriz, and Akara. :^) Looking forward to seeing all of you @ CPW. XD

  5. is there some sort of pre-frosh-intro-to-the-internet-world event every year?

    i know quite a few MIT hopefuls that live quite a distance away that would totally be the kind of people to do something like this.

    also, who represented phoenix? i mean, i know it’s tough because of extremely sub-par public transportation and urban sprawl, but someone had to have done it!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I love you MIT. smile

  7. Kevin Xu says:

    My whole statistics class is planning a field trip to go see 21, good stuff!

  8. '11 says:

    I’m rather horrified at the shirt that girl in the middle of the Seattle pic is wearing. C’mon now, if you’re going to watch 21, you’d better be wearing the right school…

  9. Abby '12 says:

    Omar, your shirt rocks. I looked at it for a sec and went, “Wha…? OHHH!” lol. 100% awesome. Where’d you get it?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Interesting as it is to find ‘mistakes’ in a movie, aren’t you missing the bigger picture?

  11. Tong says:

    hahaha. great pictures!!!

  12. Laura says:

    Last night I got a phone call from a high school friend I hadn’t heard from in years, saying “Hey Laura I just got out of that movie 21 and I have a couple questions for you.” Turns out he wanted to know what the “2.09” competition was about- not having seen the movie myself I offered the theory of 2.007 or 2.009- one of which I’ve taken and one of which I will take next semester. I’ve also taken 2.12 (last semester- good class!) so I should really go see this movie already so I can compare. =)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Abby – Thanks. It’s my favorite shirt now. You should have seen how many comments I got about it today. In my physics class, everyone huddled around me to read it haha. I got it at the coop online. I can’t believe they have so many awesome shirts. I also bought a shirt that says “Harvard, cause everybody can’t get into MIT.” MIT rocks

  14. Omar '12 says:

    ^^^That was me haha. Hit “post” too soon.

  15. Steven '12 says:

    Nooooo!! I just came back from seeing 21, WITH 3 MIT PREFROSH!! AND TOOK PICTURES! (and even put them on the MIT Class of 2012 website SO if you wanted to put a picture up it would be really cool and I would love you forever) (and ever) (andevveerrrr…)

  16. Oasis says:

    Oh – by the room not being similar, I was actually referring to the multicolored chairs in the movie, and how the glass panel door of the movie is a pane of large rectangular glass, rather than the slit of glass pane that’s on the real 4-145, haha.

    And I took pictures of the real 4-145 too! But you beat me to it. =p

  17. Kayla '12 says:

    way to beg matt to put up your picture, steven. raspberry

    that’ll make 5 MITES ’07s. :D

  18. Steven '12 says:


    Thank you!

  19. Elaina'12 says:


    I can’t see it until this weekend. Do you know if another post will be made next week? Or will he keep updating this one?

  20. José P. says:

    Too much Hollywood, not enough Math! It was pretty good, though. raspberry

  21. Anon '12 says:

    Is that girl from Seattle wearing a CALTECH SHIRT?!

  22. Anonymous says:

    best scene ever: biking from mass ave bridge to eliot bridge to mit to harvard med

  23. Omar '12 says:

    That was an amazing movie. I really enjoyed seeing those scenes of Boston and MIT (the real ones, not the fake ones). I am so pumped for CPW. I think it should be mandatory at CPW for everyone to see this movie haha.

  24. Judy '12 says:

    Haha… Howard County pic is t3h BEST

    I was suppose to be with them, but I came to the theater late :(

  25. Anonymous says:

    Lawl, that Seattle girl sure likes to deviate from the crowd raspberry

  26. sarah says:

    Maybe it looks different because it happened a long time ago. Perhaps the classroom did look like that back then. Ever think of that? Things change. Renovations occur. It could have looked that way. I don’t know, it was just a thought smile

  27. Can any on you name the theory that Kevin Spacey put to the class regarding the game show where there are three doors, one with a new car and two with a goat behind them ? I comprehend it completely and just wanted to do a little more research into it. Thanks in advance.

  28. bbbeard says:

    Tom McM:

    The goat problem was made famous when it was published in Marilyn vos Savant’s column of 9/9/90. It’s called the Monty Hall Problem. See


    BBB ’79,’82,’96

  29. bbbeard says:

    Oh, and I meant to ask why Dr. Rosa asked Ben Campbell what grade he made in his freshman chem class (in the discussion of 4-145). Isn’t freshman year still pass/fail?

    BBB ’79, ’82, ’96