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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was a big fan of Gary Coleman as a kid, but believe it or not, I did not
see this film until 1998!!! I wanted to see it as a kid, but my mother told
me I couldn't. When I saw it years later, it was a joke. There was nothing
to be scared about (sorry, mom, but when you are wrong, you're wrong). It
was lightweight fluff.
This was Coleman's attempt at drama and it didn't come off well. He plays a kid who is having a rough time in school and at home. His only way of release is to start setting fires to property. The demonic look on his face is laugh out loud hilarious when he sets something on fire.
Yahphet Kotto plays the fire chief of the town. He calls Coleman's disease "revenge fire" and wants to try and straighten him out. But his parents think there is nothing wrong...until he sets their house on fire!!!
At the end, Coleman makes a little PSA announcement not to play with fire. But the truth is, the film is unintentionally funny. It was just NBC once again milking their cash cow by making a lousy Gary Coleman TV movie (almost all of his NBC movies are rated under a 5 on the IMDB, and his box office films are no better). It is really too bad how he was just thrown away when his fame was all said and done.
This one is up there with "Star Wars Holiday Special" only not that bad.
remember watching this as a kid and being bored and amused at the same
I think Gary Coleman was attempting to actually do "drama" in this
ill-written attempt to enlighten the world about arson and it just didn't
Basically, you have Coleman's character who is having trouble in school, friends and family (obviously) and the more stress he comes under, the more fires he sets to public property. No, he doesn't turn to drugs or alcohol or teen suicide... he's got a disease that causes him to set fires! How dramatic! His parents seems incredibly stupid, not realizing that he's mentally anguished and no one suspects Coleman as the arsonist until he gets spotted, blah, blah, blah. It's pretty obvious how the plotline goes as well as the ending.
Probably one of the funniest parts is Coleman's "evil" expression during one of the blazes, his eyes lit up from the flames in front of him with this "burn you bastard, burn!" expression. Can you imagine Arnold as evil? Yeah, I laughed my ass off, too.
If you ever see this on TV again, which you probably won't, watch it if you want to kill two hours of your life. It's incredibly bad, stupid and absurdly funny at the same time.
People have said that this film is unintentionally hilarious and preachy, just another "disease of the week" tv film this one with Gary Coleman as a teenage arsonist. There is nothing funny about pyromania. A few years ago, Malcom X's widow Betty Shabazz was burned to death in an apartment fire that her young grandson set. Its just that Gary Coleman was such a sucky actor! I wish there was a nice way to say this but there is not. I am sorry about the terrible health problems that he has had to live with all his life. (His kidney condition and treatments stunted his growth). Its just a little bit of him goes a very long way. I admit I liked to watch Diffrent Strokes as a kid, but what is that the poet says, "As a man I put away childish things". What I remember about this film is how stupid Coleman's parents were they didn't even realize what an evil little s#$t he was! Its like he could have burned the house down and they wouldn't have said boo. Cicley Tyson and Yaphet Kotto as a fire chief who tries to help Coleman give able support and Coleman makes a nice PSA at the end about arson, but this film is really unintentionally funny in a lot of ways. I remember when it was first shown on NBC, they had one of those "parental discretion advised" warnings at the beginning and I couldn't understand why after seeing it.
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