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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

 

High School USA

High School USA is probably the greatest thing you've never seen. I can say this with absolute certainty since it's the only made-for-TV movie in existence featuring Michael J. Fox, Crispin Glover, Nancy McKeon Bob Denver, Todd Bridges AND a dancing robot. If a cast like that doesn't stir your interest, you sir have no soul. Either that or you weren't raised on a steady diet of early '80s sitcoms.

This forgotten 1983 mini-classic stars Fox as a teenage rebel out to snag the heart of a rival's girlfriend. He's aided in his quest by Bridges, Glover, the robot and a Trans Am. Blocking their path on the road to triumph is an ex-Nazi history teacher and Dana Plato. The budget is almost nonexistent, the cast indifferent, the plot as banal as it gets but the laughs are big, big, big.

Actually, on second thought, they're small, small, small. So what's the appeal of High School USA? Nostalgia? Probably. The cheesy production values? Maybe. The scene where Fox takes gets into a fight with a seeing-eye dog? Definitely.

Really, words don't do something like this justice. If you're still unconvinced this early-'80s peculiarity isn't worth a Netflix rental, have a look at the DVD case.




For a closer look, click here.

It's certainly isn't a testament to the film's greatness. For reasons unknown, the company that owns the rights to High School USA stuck the Trans Am and a minor character's face on the cover instead of playing the nostalgia card by exploiting Marty McFly to fullest extent. Is the film, as the cover implies, a gritty football movie along the lines of The Program? Not even close.

This may not be worthy of the cults surrounding films like Back to the Future but it deserves at least a Labyrinth-size following. Give the film a try and help spread the word.

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