Class of 1984
THE STORY:When this movie had a theatrical release in the early 80's I went to go see it with my friend, "Doc Wood". (That was his nickname in our rap group, "Dr. Bang and the Funky Two". Thats when I got the nickname "Wilsonstone". Hey, I was like, 15!) If high school was as rough as it was in this movie, I'd have never graduated!
Andy Norrisand his wife Diana move from Nebraska to the inner city because of Andy's new job as a music teacher at Lincoln high school. This school is a madhouse. Metal detectors, armed guards and the like are the norm. (I'm not sure what city it is, but in a pinch, I'll say New York) Andy instantly befriends Terry Corrigan, a biology teacher and instantly becomes public enemy number one to a group of vicious punk students. The gang of students is led by Peter Stegman. Stegman and his posse spray graffiti on Andy's car and cause general havoc in his classes. Andy catches Stegman and the gang selling drugs in the bathroom to two of his students. Actually only Jimmy is buying the drugs, but Arthur was there trying to talk Jimmy out of it. Jimmy snorts the coke and goes nuts, falling from the flagpole killing himself. Andy tries to get Arthur to tell the police who sold Jimmy the drugs, but Arthur is too frightened of retaliation. He has a point. Arthur says nothing but Stegman and his friends attack him afterschool. Luckily, Mr. Corrigan and Andy intervene. They get hurt, but they save the kids. Andy is losing more and more patience dealing with the gang, and Corrigan drinks during the day to cope with the madness. Stegman and pals firebomb Andy's car and trash Corrigan's biology lab. This drives Corrigan to the brink. Andy, too. The police and the principal say they can't really do anything because Stegman is a minor and no one actually saw him do these things. Andy corners Stegman in a bathroom and is ready to beat the [unwrite] out of him, but Stegman is too clever. Stegman bangs his own head into a mirror and a metal towel dispenser so when the security guards show up it looks like Andy has assaulted him! Andy makes an appeal to Stegman's mother, but she believes her son is a 'good boy'. Andy, frustrated finds Stegman's car and wrecks it. When Stegman confronts him, Andy turns the tables on him, telling him that no one saw him do it, so he can't prove anything. The gang, believing that Arthur has told the police about Jimmy's drugs, have another student stab him. Arthur nearly dies, but is hospitalized with a ruptured kidney. Corrigan goes whacko in class and holds his students at gunpoint. He almost shoots Stegman, but Andy stops him. Later that night Corrigan tries to kill Stegman with his car, but fails and ends up dying himself.
Andy's music class is about to give a big performance soon after. While his pregnant wife, Diana, is preparing to meet him at the school auditorium, Stegman and his lackeys break in the house. They rape and torture her and then take her to the school. Just before the music starts they send Andy a Polaroid photo of his wife being tortured. He runs after the messenger into the school's dark hallways. At first it looks like curtains for Andy. But he pulls himself together and manages to kill Stegman's entire gang. When it comes down to Stegman, Andy faces him on the roof. Stegman falls through the skylight. He begs Andy not to let him fall, but when Andy reaches for him Stegman tries to stab him. Andy delivers one last punch that sends Stegman crashing upon the concert below, hung by the rope in the scaffolding. Andy Norris was not prosecuted for this crime as no one claims to have seen him do it.
With the school violence that goes on nowadays, this movie may disturb the faint of heart. But the real life tragedies that happen in today's world are far worse than this movie. Lets face it, this movie was made around 1983 or 84. The students don't use guns, but they use plenty of knives and blunt instruments. The 'bad' students all dress 'punk'. A sign of the time in which it was made. That was scary to people back then. Its pretty violent, and maybe a little unrealistic. Stegman and his friends get away with way too much stuff. If the authorities were so helpless to stop them NO ONE would teach at that school. Parents wouldn't send their kids to a place that bad. I wouldn't. Besides, the "he's under 18" and the "no one saw them do it" stuff wouldn't hold too much water for too long. These kids were out of control. Corrigan was played by Roddy McDowell who has been seen in plenty of other movies on this site, and is famous, kind of, for being Cornelius in the movie Planet of The Apes. Arthur was acted by a very young Michael J. Fox. Fox is famous for being Alex on the sitcom Family ties, the Back to the Future movies and the TV show Spin City. He was also the main character in the movie "The Frighteners". Stegman was played by Timothy Van Patten. This is probably the only role he didn't really suck in. He's best known to Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans as the shmuck who is in the Master Ninja movies. (Those movies are really a few episodes of a TV show called "The Master" meshed together.)
BEST LINES:"So was the Marquis De Sade."- Corrigan's answer to Andy telling him that Stegman might be a brilliant student.
"Now, you simply can't afford to fail this class..."- Corrigan asks a question to a student and holds him at gunpoint for the answer. Roddy McDowell had the best lines in this movie.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?:
1.)Andy says it cost him $40.00 to have his car cleaned up after the gag spray paints it. Only $40.00? He must have had the car repainted...but only $40.00! Wow! This must be 1984!
2.)Andy has brass balls! He confronts Stegman and his friends when they outnumber him 3 to 1. Some call it bravery, some call it lack of good judgement!
3.)Now, Andy SAW them firebomb his car! His wife saw it too! But the cops tell him they can't prove anything! This is getting ridiculous. The policeman, Stewiski, even tells Andy that Stegman and his friends have pretty bad records. What do they have to do to be arrested? Kill someone in the police station with the Pope as a witness? This movie stretches it when it comes to that. Obviously Stegman and company are troublemakers in and out of school. Are the police that friggin' helpless?
4.)Stegman's mother really believes that her son is an innocent kid. Well, Petey does put up a good innocent act, but still...if he's been arrested before or suspended from school...as dialogue suggests...she must know he's been up to some no good. Everyone else in the movie can see Stegman is a maniac. So either his mother knows this but lives in a fantasy world where extortion, drug dealing, assault and vandalism are legal, or she's just plain stupid. Um...I'm betting on stupid.
5.)If I was Andy I'd have turned my house into a fortress before the punks got in and got to his wife. Hell, at this point they have come by and [unwrite]ed with him at night at least twice. They firebombed his car! Trust me...after that my home would have been like Ft. Knox.
6.)Stegman's entire plan at the end relies on Andy not showing the photo of his wife with the punks to any of the 200 other people in the auditorium and saying "They have my wife! Call the police!" In his defense though, I can understand his reaction! If someone kidnapped my PREGNANT wife I'd damn sure try to kill them. As a matter of fact, killin' would be too easy. I'd torture the f*** outta them first. But I'm just vicious that way.
NUDITY AND SEX:A girl gets naked trying to make Stegman's prostitute squad.
HUH?:Doesn't Arthur have any parents? When he gets stabbed we see Andy and another student at the hospital but no parents.
After Corrigan almost shoots Stegman in class the principal wants to call the police and get Corrigan to a psych-ward. He's right. Corrigan has gone over the edge. But Andy wants to just drive him home. Corrigan says "I'm alright." and leaves. What the blazes? He pulled a gun on his entire class! He put it in the faces of several students and he almost shot one of them! The man is clearly Coo-Coo for Cocoa puffs and they just let him leave?! Of course later that night Corrigan tries to run Stegman over, wrecking several parked cars and killing himself in the attempt. Morons! Ray Charles could have seen how crazy Corrigan was!
THE TALLY:While not as action packed or violent as "The Warriors", this movie was still darn good for when it was made. Hell, its better than the "Class of 1999". Plus its kind of funny to see the punk rockers and fashion in the early 80's. You know how easy it is to make fun of 70's fashions? For those of us who grew up in the 80's, in a few years time they'll be making fun of us. (Well, they do that now...check out the movie "The Wedding Singer") I think I'll go listen to my Clash Cd now....