The new blockbuster behemoths face off, and "X-Files" goes on the radio

NEW COLLEGE TRIES Some kids will do anything to make the grade. Like Matthew Lillard in the upcoming Dead Man’s Curve. He’s so desperate for 4.0 that he turns to…murder. And the real shock is, he gets a C for originality. In a spate of new films, including Killing Mrs. Tingle, Dead Man on Campus, and Teacher, Teacher, students resort to some unorthodox extracurriculars to pump up their transcripts. “Grades used to be a way to measure progress in learning,” says Curve writer-director Dan Rosen. “Now grades are a way to measure future earning potential.” The good news: The learning curve hasn’t really gotten this twisted. “Kids are doing more sophisticated things in response to the intense pressure,” says Scott Jaschik, managing editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “But we’re not seeing them killing people.”—Julia Lee

ALL THAT MATTERS… Talk about the Empire striking back. On May 27, visitors to the official Star Wars website were greeted with a deft spoof of the Godzilla marketing campaign. Instead of an ad declaring “Size Does Matter,” this one proclaimed “Plot Does Matter”—a jab at the criticism the scaly thriller has received. Lynne Hale, director of communication at Lucasfilm, producer of the Star Wars prequels, says the parody was not intentional. “It was an internal joke,” says Hale. “Somebody put it on the refrigerator, the Web guys thought it was funny, and it got on our site. I swear it was a joke.” Problem is, before the mock ad could be removed, eager fans spread it all over the Web. It was so convincing that the New York Post reported that “Plot Does Matter” would in fact be the tag line for the Wars prequel due next year. (Not so, says Twentieth Century Fox.) Now that everybody’s chuckling, what does TriStar, the studio behind Godzilla, think? Reps decline to return calls. Guess jokes matter too.—Daniel Fierman

X-CENTRICS R.E.M. riffed on Dan Rather in “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” Deep Blue Something reminisced about Breakfast at Tiffany’s. So what’s a new pop-culture-loving rocker to reference? The X-Files. The band Eve 6 took its moniker from an episode about psychopathic clones named Eve. Meanwhile, England’s Catatonia crafted their single “Mulder and Scully” as an homage to the show’s lead characters. “We thought it’d be cute to have them investigate the phenomenon called love,” says vocalist Cerys Matthews, “since they don’t have much luck with it themselves.” Matthews isn’t worried about the song’s appealing only to X-Philes. With the big-screen version due June 19, “if someone doesn’t get it now,” she says, “they will soon.”—Carrie Bell