Most of America’s little darlings went back to school this week, which got me thinking. Mostly how when I was a lad we didn’t go back until the day after Labor Day and that since I currently go to an all year fast paced online university, I don’t get a summer break. Bastards. It also reminded me of some older movies that I could watch to get parents in the mood to see their little offspring off. Not that the joy of not having the little shits away from them for eight hours a day wouldn’t be bonus enough. Think of this as a little extra credit.
Back to School
Rodney Dangerfield stars in this 80’s comedy as Thornton Melon, a self-made man who, upon his most recent divorce, visits his only son in college. When he gets there, he finds that his son has been less than honest about his achievements and decides to help his son along by enrolling in the school himself.Hilarity ensues as Melon uses his fortune to improve his dorm, pay his staff to do his homework while he runs his business and piss off his ethics professor, who also happens to be dating his love interest, played by Sally Kellerman.
He alienates his son who wishes to get an education by actually earning it while chasing after a pre Star Trek, Terry Farrell. It’s a classic 80’s comedy with requisite snob vs. slobs mentality. You’ll also be reminded that no matter how much screen time he has, Robert Downey Jr. always kills.
Not all of the movies on this list will be fun romps in the park. Taps is the story of a military school that is taken over by some of its more loyal cadets when a land developer wishes to take over and build condos. The subject matter of this movie may hit a bit too close to home for some viewers with its depiction of violence in schools. Granted, the setting of the film is a military academy but it deals with images and subject matter that mirror events that more sensitive viewers may wish to avoid.
Having that said, it is a well-crafted movie that features great acting from old school veterans (no pun intend) George C. Scott and Ronny Cox as well as future Hollywood A-listers Sean Penn and Tom Cruise.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
For the parent who has teenagers entering into high school, take a trip down memory lane with the high jinx of this early 80’s comedy. That is to say, remember when all you wanted to do was wake up in the morning and bone? The film focuses on a few teenagers and their experiences dealing with sex for the first time. Multiple times if you’re Jennifer Jason Leigh.
The film is a classic and easily tops many critics lists of best high school comedy of the 80’s. It no doubt helped in getting the classic John Hughes movies made and cemented itself as the voice of a generation.
Back when Adam Sandler was an up and comer and still gave a shit about the kind of movies he made, Billy Madison came out of the blue and made him a star. Sandler plays the title role of all around screw up who will one day take over his father’s company, much to his father’s chagrin. Billy decides to prove to his father that he can take on the responsibility by going back and repeating all of his classes from first grade to graduation.
Fans of Sandler’s earlier work need no introduction to this film and fans of his newer work should A) get better taste in films and B) check out this earlier work that features comedic heavy hitters, Chris Farley, Norm MacDonald and even a cameo by Steve Buscemi. And let’s not forget Bridgette Wilson, aka Veronica Vaughn. She is after all, one piece of ACE!