Despite the fact that I had recently done the Back to School Blogathon, I was literally stumped by the topic for this week's Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Let me back up a second. In case you're not familiar with the way things work around here, each Thursday for the last few months I've taken part in the weekly meme mentioned above. Blogger folk like us are invited to suggest three movies based on a topic selected by the host, the wonderful terrific Wanderer. There are just a few rules on that. Just swing over to her place and check them out, then hurry back here to see what I've chosen. After that, go home and post your own picks.
Anyhoo, this week's theme is Movies Set in a Boarding School. I've struggled with several topics, but for some odd reason, this is the first one on which I drew a complete and utter blank that lasted a few hours. Eventually, I just said screw it and asked my best friend for help. By best friend, I mean Google. Then, I thanked my lucky stars that Google doesn't have a mouth with which to call me an idiot, because I found a couple of really exhaustive lists on the subject and spent the next ten or fifteen minutes saying to myself "Oh yeah, I've seen that."
Now that I've jogged my memory, I can successfully recommend some movies for you fine folks that have made your way over to my humble blog. Pouring it on too thick?
Okay. Let's move on.
If you know how I operate these Thursday things, then you know I try to avoid the obvious picks and lean toward hidden gems. I don't know if "gems" is quite the right word this week, but they're not movies you thought of right away when you read the title of this post. Unless, like me, you're some kind of nut. In that case...never mind. Let's get on with it. Chronologically
(1983)The early 1980s is the height of the teen sex farce as a (sub)genre. While Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Porky's were raking the cash at the box office, there were hundreds more making the rounds on late night cable. Private School among them. This one is all about...and pay close attention to these school names, by the way...boys from the Freemount Academy trying to get with the young ladies from the Cherryvale Academy. Fair warning: only attempt to watch this if your tolerance for juvenile humor and gratuitous nudity are high. In other words, those of you more mature than I...probably all of you reading this...might just find this stupid and crass. I will say this one does feature a better cast than most of its ilk. It includes Phoebe Cates, Matthew Modine, and Betsy Russell. And a topless horseback riding scene, so there's that.
(1991)We've all heard the phrase 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,' right? The makers of this 1991 film took that heart and basically remade 1984's Red Dawn. No, it's not technically a remake, but it may as well be. In this case, terrorist swoop into the heartland of the good ol' USA and try to take over Regis High School, a boarding school for young men from well-to-do families. Why? It has something to do some drug-lord in another country or something. Who cares? The only reason to watch this is for the sheer camp and ridiculousness of it all. What's not to love about a bunch of high school dudes fighting off a band of ruthless, heavily armed terrorists? As an added bonus, the cast includes a pre-Rudy Sean Astin and a pre-Star Trek Will Wheaton (but post Stand by Me) alongside the always wonderful Louis Gossett Jr. as their dean. Though I'm not a conservative, I can't help but admire the shameless right wingedness of it all. Wingedness is a word, no? Forget it.
(2001)Odin, O (Mekhi Phifer) for short, is the star player on his boarding schools basketball team. Yup, black dude. He is not only in love, but sexually active with his girlfriend Desi (Julia Stiles). Uh-huh, white girl. Now let's add in O's best friend/teammate Hugo (Josh Hartnett) who happens to have a thing for Desi. Yeah, jealous white guy. If any of this sounds familiar to you, it's because it should. Maybe if I suggest some different names for the characters I've mentioned so far. Instead of Desi and Hugo, how about Desdemona and Iago? If that turned your light bulb on then you figured out that O is actually Othello. Yessir, this is a modernization of a Shakespeare classic. As far as Shakespearian modernizations go, this is a rather underrated one. It's not the greatest movie in the world, but definitely worth a look. Aside from the three in the cast I've mentioned, we also get Martin Sheen and John Heard.
Other topics covered on Thursday Movie Picks:
Movies About Making Movies
Movies About Making Movies