Posts Tagged ‘back to school’

Young Warriors

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

tn_youngwarriorsbacktoschoolYOUNG WARRIORS is a crazy fuckin movie released by Cannon in 1983. The description on the back of the VHS box begins like this:

“What do you get if you cross ‘Animal House’ with ‘Death Wish’? Young Warriors– a unique combination of fraternity hijinks, high-speed action, wildly imaginative animation, and hard-drivin’ rock!” (read the rest of this shit…)

early review: Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

tn_nbd2Two years ago give or take a couple days I wrote about NEVER BACK DOWN as part of some back-to-school themed reviews. To commemorate the historic second anniversary of that review they have decided to make a part 2.

If you never saw the first one I forgive you. And I think you’re gonna be okay without it. Of the many mixed martial arts/underground fighting movies of the last few years it’s the slickest and most Hollywood. It’s the standard teen subculture movie but with MMA instead of breakdancing or BMX bikes or whatever. Troubled new kid in town wants girl, she belongs to popular rich bully who also is the king of a notorious underground fighting tournament. I can’t recommend it when BLOOD AND BONE, DAMAGE, UNDISPUTED IIIII and FIGHTING have all come out in recent years, but I did sort of enjoy the absurdity of these allegedly high school age dudes having their own Kumite Lite.

NEVER BACK DOWN 2 is the DTV sequel and it happens to be directed by the star of two of the above-mentioned better underground fight movies, Mr. Michael Jai White. (read the rest of this shit…)

Only the Strong

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

tn_onlythestrongLadies and gentlemen, I present to you the best find of my Back To School Special. Maybe THE SUBSTITUTE is better, but I’d already seen that one before so I knew what to expect. This is a surprisingly natural hybrid of the inspirational teacher movie with the American martial arts star vehicle. It embraces the necessary corniness of both genres and seems a little more sincere about the turning kids around aspect than THE SUBSTITUTE does. And it came out in ’93, three years earlier.

It stars American Iron Chef host Mark Dacascos and it’s directed by long-time Van Damme collaborator Sheldon Lettich. This is his third directational work after LIONHEART and DOUBLE IMPACT. Dacascos plays Louis Stevens, a peace time Green Beret who fell in love with the martial art capoeira while stationed in Brazil. He was apparently some kind of troublemaking kid until a good teacher named Mr. Kerrigan (EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE sidekick Geoffrey Lewis) turned him around and convinced him to join the military. Once he gets out he returns to the school to see if there’s any way he can work there and try to make a difference in other young people’s lives. The school is a hellhole and he pretty much gets tossed out on his ass. (read the rest of this shit…)

Three O’Clock High

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

tn_threeoclockhighIf there’s a more stylish ’80s teen movie than 3 O’CLOCK HIGH I don’t know what it is. This one’s shot like RAISING ARIZONA or an EVIL DEAD with all kinds of cartoonish zooms, energetic cuts and dramatic angles. In fact the internet tells me Barry Sonnenfeld was the cinematographer, although I only noticed him credited as “special lighting consultant,” which seemed kind of weird. Anyway it makes it constantly interesting to look at and sort of shows you the world through the eyes of the characters. To us a real high school would just look like a building but to them it’s real dramatic, some Sam Raimi and some Sergio Leone. (read the rest of this shit…)

Assassination of a High School President

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

tn_aoahspBruceIn ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT Bruce plays Kirkpatrick, a grizzled Gulf War vet turned private high school principal who must use his elite combat skills and overcome great odds to retake the school when it comes under siege by an army of guerillas intent on murdering the student body president because they don’t like the theme for the homecoming dance.

That’s not true. I made up everything after the word “principal.” Bruce does play the principal and he does always talk about Iraq. He could almost be the same character from PLANET TERROR. He’s a hostile disciplinarian who’s driven into a fury when students chew gum. He also leads the school in a singalong of a patriotic song he wrote. But it’s not an action movie and he’s not the star. (read the rest of this shit…)

Porky’s II: The Next Day

Monday, September 28th, 2009

tn_porkys2PORKY’S II: THE NEXT DAY is a weird one – a foolish but also pretty enjoyable shot at catching lightning in a bottle. On one hand the gang from part 1 kind of seem like they’re your buddies, so it feels natural to go back to school with them. On the other hand the fresh feel of the first one came from trying to make a different kind of movie, and from basing it on stories from Bob Clark’s youth. For this one, to a certain extent, he’s trying to make the same kind of movie, and making up new stories that might remind you of the real ones. So it’s kind of forced. (read the rest of this shit…)


Sunday, September 27th, 2009

tn_porkysPORKY’S is a monument to young men and the issues that interest them. It’s about trying to get laid, spying on naked girls, fake IDs, sneaking into titty bars, dick size, the proper use of condoms, practical jokes, convincing cops to let you go, getting in fights, standing up to fathers. But mostly it’s about giggling – lots of giggling about dicks and what not.

It also takes place in the ’50s, and it’s kind of a fantasized nostalgia where men play 16 year old boys (director Bob Clark points out that people looked older back then) and everybody’s friends with everybody else and the boys can pull of anything and get a fantastical revenge on a seedy character they really shouldn’t fuck with if this were real life because somebody would get their legs broken. So it’s a nostalgic look at their coming of age years but it’s not the same type of nostalgia George Lucas and others of this generation had. It mostly ignores the cars, the music, the dances, the hairstyles and all that shit that usually gets fetishized in anything about the ’50s. (read the rest of this shit…)


Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

tn_teachersTEACHERS is kind of like the more realistic, less actiony version of THE PRINCIPAL. Kind of. If you buy that description then Nick Nolte would be Belushi, but before he’s transferred and promoted. He’s a beer drinking, too-hung-over-to-come-in-on-Mondays teacher at a high school where only a small amount of learning occurs. But instead of putting the blame on drug gangs and juvenile delinquents this one points its finger at a system that only focuses on the kids that are easy to teach and neglects the hard ones. The story takes place in the midst of a lawsuit against the school district for graduating a kid who didn’t know how to read. (read the rest of this shit…)

Dangerously Close and Under Cover

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

cannon-stockwellDANGEROUSLY CLOSE

Here’s one from Cannon Films and our friend Albert Pyun, but I’m sorry to say this is the most boring one I’ve seen so far in my back-to-school marathon. The idea behind it, at least, is different from the other ones I’ve seen. This time the school is overrun with troublemakers spraying graffiti and what not, but they’re not the bad guys – that would be The Sentinels, a group of fascist jocks who patrol Vista Verde High School to keep people in line. Their main job at school is just painting over graffiti, but outside of school they actually track people down wearing masks, beat the shit out of them and make them think they’re going to murder them, then leave them crying out in the middle of the woods. Don’t you hate popular kids? (read the rest of this shit…)

The Principal

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

tn_principalThis would’ve been a perfect opportunity for another “is…” movie. James Belushi is… THE PRINCIPAL. But director Christopher Cain (YOUNG GUNS) let that one fly by. Anyway, in this drama-leaning-toward-action James Belushi plays Rich Latimer, a fuckup teacher who’s punished by being “promoted” to principal of Brandel, the crime infested cess pool of an alternative school where all the district’s worst troublemakers get shipped off to after they light a teacher on fire or crash a stolen hot air balloon whatever. Those are not specified but I’m assuming that’s the type of stuff they did. You know this place is bad when Latimer stops by to check it out during non-school hours and gets mixed up in a fight and car chase. (read the rest of this shit…)