A clique of rich kids run a secret society policing a high school and its students, and t
The very definition of a storm in a teacup, The Chocolate War studies the weird power play and hierarchy inside a Catholic Private School.
The movie gets surreal from the get go as we see Brother Leon (John Glover) with his unorthodox ways of teaching and ways of publicly disfavouring students who don’t yield to his kind request of selling out a record number of chocolates door to door. Adding to the tower of power are The Vigils, an openly secret student society who usually pull of harmless pranks but are now forced to form an alliance with Brother Leon to make his fundraising dream come true.
Although the whole world of Catholic schools is alien to me, the cliques shown in The Chocolate War are easy to identify with, representing the glass walls of politics and group dynamics I trust we’ve all run into at some point of our lives.
An eccentric boy moves into neighbourhood to find himself an outsider with the local gangs and clicks – until one of the students finds himself gravitating towards the strange world and poetry inside the boys mind. And soon the others follow.
The title of the movie is something they all then begin to chant together.
The Beat is a totally ridiculous depiction of the youth – high school musical ridiculous – but somehow escapes total cringeworthiness, probably due to its somewhat charming, naïvely honest approach.
Young horny high school seniors are at it again, trying to get laid before the end of the school year. Joy of Sex resembles so many other similar movies I was sure at times I’d seen the movie before.
What adds to this feeling is the inconsistency throughout the movie; compared to other similar films that find their theme in a spring break, ski trip, working in a fast food restaurant or prom dance, Joy of Sex mixes in a bit of everything and does not find to really follow through most of its many threads.
Same applies with its roster of characters; a militant principle, a non-compromising coach way past his hay day, a bashful female teacher having to teach the kids about reproductive organs, a jock, an underdog and so on. Despite all this Joy of Sex is kind of a watchable teen comedy that has its few moments as well that make it worth a watch through.
Children of a Lesser God seals what I’ve already known about William Hurt: he is one if not the top actor of his generation, but one that has the uncanny ability not to overpower and suffocate other actors despite his strong screen presence, much for the benefit of the movie.
In the Children of a Lesser God he is accompanied by Marlee Matlin who plays an angry young deaf woman who’s been burned before both in love and communicating through sound, and has built a castle of total silence around her. Hurt as her love interest is the first one to get invitation to that fortress, but only if he joins her in that silence.
35 years after its box office date, Children of a Lesser God still feels fresh and interesting, thanks to its exploration into the world of the deaf, a topic not that much covered in mainstream movies, and the way it does not present either of the parties’ sides as the sole truth. First and foremost a love story between the two leads, what I thought was missing from otherwise near perfect movie was how it concentrated on telling the story through Hunt’s characters, and really getting into the deaf world of Sarah, where the real movie magic might’ve started.
Pretty Smart is a totally useless comedy that introduces lots of ingredients seen in other films of the era, but lacks the ability to do anything new or creative with them.
The setting of upper class finishing school for girls is there to allow some gratuitous nudity and the movie plays out with a wit of a porn movie – but with the actual intercourses cut out. In fact, the movie is an antithesis for wit.
This wouldn’t be a problem if the movie had some other qualities going for it, but with the exception of ok production quality, Pretty Smart is a totally soulless creation that has next to nothing enjoyable in it; not in its theme, in its humour, the characters and nor the mediterranean setting.
Known for most only for featuring young Brad Pitt, Cutting Class has been downplayed in many reviews. And while it’s arguably not a masterpiece, it is not completely without merit.
To me cutting class felt like a nice little high school slasher with late 80s look and feel that seems at first to paint by numbers, but then takes the formula to an original and interesting direction.
Teachers would have been a better movie if it shifted its focus more on being either a comedy or a drama as the way how it mixes the two was not to my liking.
Right now the emphasis is on comedy, but as the movie later introduces some actually dramatic elements, like a young juvenile student getting assaulted in the school by his own father, the drama lost much of the impact it could’ve had.
Nick Nolte makes a very believable role as a teacher that is a rare breed, but totally recognisable to me: one who can connect with even the lost causes. Ralph Macchio does not cut it at all as a juvenile student, but Judd Hirsch saves the day with his portrayal of a hilariously disillusioned principal.
When it comes to the sports movies, it’s not about inevitable victory, but the journey there.
With Wildcats, a comedy led by the comedienne Goldie Hawn, the journey there is fun. Ups, downs, underdogs, goofs, training montages with awesome music – it’s all here!
Wildcats does not usually top the lists of the definite sports movies, but it definitely tops the list of the definite sports comedies of the 80s.
Yet another movie heavily influenced by Police Academy series, Stewardess School follows the journey of a misfit class as they make their way through training for graduating as airplane cabin crew.
What looks like a perfect eighties fluffy and nonsensical comedy is ruined by idiotic, lowest common denominator humour that reminds me of endless parade of cheap bulk no name comedies that begun pouring to video stores from mid 90s on.
Essentially, farting in a crowded elevator is pretty much as clever as this movie ever gets.
Part of a wave of novice cop comedies that was launched after the huge success of Police Academy, Feds mixes in some female buddy cop action into the mix and takes the story to a highly fictional FBI academy where two women fight to graduate and to break through the glass ceiling.
It’s a predictable show where you know that the underdogs will come out as winners in the end and there aren’t too many delightful events along the way. Both leads fare fairly well, but don’t possess nowhere near the comedy muscles of Shelley Long or say, Goldie Hawn.
As long as you accept that the movie doesn’t offer much surprises nor originality, Feds offers an easy to watch comedy, surprisingly enjoyable in its own mediocrity.
Remember being 15 and hating someone someone so bad you’d wished they were dead? I didn’t, but Heathers totally reminded me going through the same kind of emotional rollercoaster – and that was the first glimpse of its above your average teenage flick virtues.
Three popular Heathers run a high school clique who cruel rule the entire school belittling, subduing and terrorising anyone foolish enough to cross path with them. After just 15 minutes to the film it’s really clear they’re not out to bruise, but to scar. Veronica is one of the students who’s saved from the harassment by being a quiet compliance who never quite stomachs all the wickedness and wishes for the demise of all the three. What seems like a materialisation of her secret wishes, appears mysterious J.D. who quickly makes all of Veronicas subconscious wishes come true.
A black comedy about bullying, revenge, mass murder and teenage suicides, Heathers’ cruel satire still finds its target so well that a movie like this wouldn’t likely be made by any of the major studios today.
A private school brainiac goes for a wild night out and hooks up with a woman of his dreams who woefully turns out to be his roommate’s mother in Class, probably the only decent early 80s comedy with the adult-youngster forbidden love theme (the other ones being My Tutor, Private Lessons and Blame it on Rio).
The movie works because it is first and foremost a decent comedy instead of cringeworthy voyeuristic peeping tom flick like its aforementioned competition. There’s some genuinely good chemistry between Andrew McCarthy and Rob Lowe and I can see the movie failing in many ways with other some less skilled leads.
The well built conflict that tears the friendship apart proves out to be too big for the screenwriters of the movie who weasel out of the situation in a disappointingly lukewarm fashion in the end.
Grease 2, the sequel for the original 1978 runaway musical hit starring John Travolta was a critical and a box office failure. Oh boy, I thought as I pressed the play on my remote, assured I was facing a torture even worse than having to watch through the original.
Pessimism be blessed, as the experience didn’t turn out to be nearly as bad as I’d anticipated. The movie is inept – that’s given – but it all seems to have been done in a good humour with a fair amount of tongue in cheek. Grease 2 does a remarkably bad work at establishing the early 60s setting and the movie never seizes to feel like 80s kids doing a cosplay of the former era.
Personally I count this only as a definitely plus for the movie.
Based on Father Sky, a Novel by Devery Freeman, I had Taps figured out before I started watching it: A movie about the youngsters in Military Academy where they obey the strict rules, turn loose in their free time and talk about girls and growing up. Some of them rebel against the powers that be, but in the end they are faced with a harsh situation where they learn all about the honour and end up graduating as valiant young men with tons of self respect.
How was I led on. And the movie didn’t stop there. After the tragic events the movie seemed to become a light-hearted coming to age story where the mischievous boys take a stand for their school and become a true band of brothers.
I loved every surprise the movie had to offer. Although I didn’t really score the movie high when first watching it – my bet is that the original novel still betters the movie – it did leave an impression that has stuck for days, and the movie’s value has certainly grown interest since I watched it. Timothy Hutton is a spot on choice for the upright cadet who takes the lead in the exceptional situation while trying to hide from everyone – including himself – how lost he really is. Sean Penn and Tom Cruise star in minor roles, latter of them showing some real, chilling acting prowess in the few passing moments he’s featured on screen.
Hiding Out follows a Boston stock broker escaping to a small town and disguising himself as a teen punk to lead off the hired killers trying to bump him off. Instead of staying put in a safe house he then rolls himself into a high school in a baffling plot twist sure there only to make the movie more interesting. And yes; all sorts of unnecessary mishaps do start unraveling as a result.
Equally utilitarian is the approach with his cousin who’s there only to provide comedic whirl to the mix. Unfortunately these recurring mishaps – like the driving school bit – never actually drive the plot ahead, and thus feel plastered on.
If you can overlook its ridiculous premise, Hiding Out does offer an above average 80s drama comedy that’s still a good fun to spend 90 minutes with, despite its shortcomings.
We’ve seen our fair share of movies based on the payback / revenge aspect as well as portrayals of bullies who terrorise an entire school and community around it. But The New Kids makes for a original and enjoyable stab at the genre by gracefully steering around most of the clichés of the genre.
Not only do the leads manage to stand up for themselves, but the antagonists also fail to spin the public opinion and blame against the new kids. The leads Shannon Presby and Lori Loughlin perform well as the clean cut all american kids while James Spader steals the show as a truly chilling juvenile delinquent with borderline psychopathic traits.
The New kids took me positively by surprise by mixing in some old and some new to an interesting and entertaining 90 minuter.
I’ve never seen a movie capture a teenage crush in such a honest, pure way.
Lucas is a movie about a boy of the same name whose peculiar life revolving around his peculiar hobbies changes the moment she meets Maggie who’s just moved in to the neighbourhood. They find themselves sharing the last days of the summer together before the start of a new school year and form an unlikely friendship that soon turns to a one-sided, hopeless love.
Corey Haim has never actually wowed me, but here he captures the essence of the misfit character in a magnificently three dimensional way, managing to make Lucas a tangible and often contradictory person by never sugar coating his shortcomings nor underlining his virtues.
The movie wanders too far into fiction towards its last minutes, but even that can’t diminish its accomplishments as one of the most heart warming portrayals of the high school life and of coming to age. Lucas reminds us of what was it like once to be hopelessly, head over heels in love, and in that sense it’s a truly a triumph.
There are plenty of movies done in the eighties that reminisce 50s and 60s, an era when many of the film makers were young. Sometimes the trip back in time does make sense story wise – like in the Vietnam war depictions – but more often the period picture approach contributes only to the nostalgic value and doesn’t bring much more else to the table.
Heaven Help Us is one of these titles where the justification of an older time period is debatable. Sure, the catholic schools were more strict back then, but the story of the mischievous students and an abusive teacher is timeless and could’ve as well taken place in the current time. The chosen time period and catholic school theme is alien to me and initially made it harder for me to relate to the events.
But, what lays beneath is a likeable coming to age movie about unlikely friendship between a seemingly random bunch of catholic school boys and their suffocated attempts to rebel against the power that be. Debuting in their first cinematic roles can be seen Patrick Dempsey, Stephen Geoffreys in a weird role of an almost mute chronic masturbator and Kevin Dillon in a leading role as a spiteful and dumb Rooney who might be one of the worst friends one can have, but also someone you’d rather have as an ally instead of your enemy. Mary Stuart Masterson who was a slight miscast in Some Kind of Wonderful does a wonderfully charming role as the object of always likeable Andrew McCarthy’s shy and clumsy romantic attempts.