A high-school gym teacher has big plans for the summer, but is forced to cancel them to teach a "bonehead" English class for misfit goof-off students. Fortunately, his unconventional brand ...
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Joan Micklin Silver
A high-school gym teacher has big plans for the summer, but is forced to cancel them to teach a "bonehead" English class for misfit goof-off students. Fortunately, his unconventional brand of teaching fun field trips begins to connect with them, and even inspires ardor in some. Written by
Steve Derby <email@example.com>
The casting of Mark Harmon in the lead major role was the idea of director Carl Reiner. Reiner has said: "We originally discussed having a major comedian for the role. However Mark impressed me very much in the mini-series The Deliberate Stranger (1986) in which he portrayed convicted murderer Ted Bundy. When I saw him being interviewed on a news program, he was so personable and had such a winning smile that it was clear he would be well suited for the role of our gym-coach turned instructor. And he brings surprising depth to the character". See more »
When Chainsaw and Dave barge in to scare the potential substitute teacher, they are supposed to be running two chainsaws. Two-stroke chainsaws produce a lot of blueish exhaust smoke. There is no smoke visible in the shot. See more »
This menstruation thing? It's a scam! Women are so lucky.
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Summer School is not your typical Carl Reiner film because it doesn't contain much of the ridiculous stupid-comedy you'd find from say, The Cheap Detective or Fatal Instinct. But Reiner presents a nice film, and a fantastic 80s movie, even if he doesn't stick to his formula.
Summer is approaching at a California high school. Gym teacher, Freddie Shoop, a laid-back surfer type, has the misfortune of having to teach summer school remedial English. He has no choice, as he is up for tenure. Says Shoop, pleading to get out of the dreaded responsibility of having to spend summer in a classroom rather than in Hawaii, "I'm not a real teacher. I had out basketballs, check for jock straps. I'm like real challenged."
And Harmon's students don't help to add any enthusiasm. Many are underachievers who are just as interested in finding more interesting ways to spend their time. It starts out with nothing but good times as Shoop and his class ditch school for fieldtrips to the beach, the petting zoo, and the amusement park. But, Shoop, threatened to be fired after the Vince Principal Gillis (Robin Thomas) learns of this. Desperate to keep Gillis from telling the Principal when he returns from vacation, Shoop bargains with Gillis that he will get every student in his class to pass the English skills test at the end of the term. This isn't going to be easy with a class like Shoop's. It isn't that they're dumb. It's just that they're not interested. It's the summer and summer means good times. So, Shoop, already good with bargaining at this point, must also strike deals with each of his students, who promise to help Shoop fullfill his promise to Gillis, if Shoop grants each of them a favor in return. And this is where the fun begins as Shoop clearly gets in way over his head.
This movie is great because of the various characters. Harmon is perhaps the best I've ever seen him as the happy-go-lucky guy trying to get the attention of fellow teacher, Robin Bishop (Kirstey Alley) who is likewise a good match for Shoop. The students themselves are equally enjoyable, with the most hilarious being Chainsaw (Dean Cameron) and Dave (Gary Riley) two guys with a fondness for grossing people out with a handy supply of fake blood and latex. Surprisingly, the movie never seems to have achieved the recognition of other 80s teen movies, though it should have as it is a film that delivers a load of laughs.
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