What better way to spend the wee hours of Sunday Morning watching a movie with Rodney Dangerfield, Sam Kinison, Ned Beatty, William Zabka and Robert Downey Jr.? There is no better way, or at least I couldn't think of any, so I watched Back to School just a few minutes after watching a totally different film, The Third Man. Will I like this movie better? Well, let's see.
The movie's plot is rather simple, as Rodney Dangerfield's character (Thornton Melon) is a rich owner of over 100 tall and fat clothing stores nationwide. After getting a divorce, Thornton decides to pay his son Jason (Keith Gordon)a visit at Great Lakes College. When Jason wants to quit, Thornton implores him to stay, and then decides, since he never went to college, to attend school with his son. In order to get in, Thornton makes a huge donation to the school, which will go to the new school of business. This pleases Dean David Martin (Dean Martin, get it?) but the head of the buisness school, Philip Barbay,(Paxton Whitehead) is not amused. For the rest of film, hyjinx ensue, and Thornton starts to get cozy with the English professor, Diane Turner (Sally Kellarman), who Philip is also interested in Meanwhile, Jason has his own feud with fellow diving teammate Chas Osbourne (Zabka) over a girl named Valerie (Terry Ferrell). Robert Downey Jr. plays the strange roommate of Jason, Derek Lutz. Got all of that? Good. A few notes.
- Originally, the plot called for Dangerfield's character to be poor, but they decided to change that and make him rich. Which is great, because it was quite funny seeing Thornton throw all of his money around by buying books for everyone, having his personal bodyguard Lou whoop up on the football team, and get his paper about Kurt Vonnegut by none other than Kurt Vonnegut. It was even funny hearing Thornton tell off Vonnegut after he failed the paper.
- Robert Downey Jr. was all over the place as Derek Lutz. He had a different hairstyle in nearly every scene he was in, and was talking about 100 mph. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Downey was under the influence of something during the filming of the movie.
- I have a hard time believing that Jason Melon could knock out the much larger Chas Osbourne. I kind of wished that Zabka, the actor playing Osbourne, had whipped out some Karate moves he learned while playing the main bad guy in The Karate Kid. Zabka the's perfect jock jerk, not just in this movie, but in Karate Kid 1 and 2 and in Just One of the Guys. The guy was born to play a jerk. Too bad he's been stuck in movies like Shootfighter 2, Hyper Sonic, and The Man in the Silo since this movie.
- Sam Kinison is also in this movie, as the crazy history professor Mr. Terguson. Not surprisingly, Kinison yells for most of the few minutes he's on the screen. It's quite an interesting scene, I would say, so check it out for yourself.
- The ending might be one of the most ridicolous in cinema history. Not only does Melon have to take an oral exam and pass it (which, obviously, he does), he's also asked to do the world famous Triple Lindy dive after Chas fakes a leg injury just because he's a jerk. The scene is one of the most ricockulous scenes I've ever seen, but because it's such a crazy plot to begin with, it does fit in nicely.
Overall, this movie was never going to win an Oscar, and it was never meant to do that. But as a comedic farce, it does quite well for itself. There are many laughs to be had while watching this movie, and if you in the mood for that, than Back to School will do just fine. I'll give it an 8.1 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading.