Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Back to School"

For some, back-to-school means backpacks, gluesticks and number-two pencils. For others, it's parties with Oingo Boingo, Triple Lindies and William Zabka, King of the Jerks.

At least that's the way school is portrayed in "Back to School," the 1986 flick starring Rodney Dangerfield at his bug-eyed best. And who wouldn't want to enroll in a institution of higher learning like that? Maybe it was because I was headed to college myself the year I first saw this flick, but I'm going on record saying "Back to School" deserves a much better grade than the paltry 2.5 stars TiVo gives it.

Prof. Sam Kinison screaming "Aaaaaaah! Aaaaaaaaaaah!" at a terrifed student accounts for a half-star by itself. So does Dangerfield's millionaire Thornton Melon hiring Kurt Vonnegut to help him with a paper on Kurt Vonnegut. Add to that layup jokes like the head of the college being named Dean Martin, Zabka playing one of his prototypical fluffy-haired jocks (who literally dresses like a caveman), a throaty Sally Kellerman -- post-MASH, but pre-Hidden Valley Ranch voiceover -- and uber-Rodney lines like "I'd like to tame YOUR shrew," and you've got yourself a more-than-minor '80s classic.

What's your favorite "Back to School" moment?


Laura said...

Back to School was filmed (partially) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was a student there at the time. I remember they had casting calls for extras, and I watched a little part of the filming. It generated a lot of excitement on campus. It's fun to watch now and spot the landmarks I was so familiar with back then.

Paxton said...

Yes! I love this movie. Robert Downey, Jr as the best friend ruining competing schools' dives by blowing an air horn and reflecting a mirror in the divers' eyes. CLASSIC.

Sam Kinison of course yelling at Thornton during the oral exam to "SAY IT! SAY IT!" as he slams his fist on the desk.

Great, great movie.