Detention: The Siege at Johnson High (TV Movie 1997) Poster

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Excellent film
AllisonLVenezio6 June 2003
I'm not one for the movie-of-the-week genre, but this film was surprisingly good, and it's not only for the reason that Freddie Prinze Jr. is one of my favorie actors.

Shortly before Christmas, Jason Copeland (Rick Schroeder) decides to take out his pent-up revenge on Johnson High School, which he failed out of a year earlier. He enters the school heavily armed and begins firing shots, with no intention to kill anyone, and takes 80 students hostage in the music room. One of them Aaron Sullivan, is a troubled student, much like Jason, who soon becomes the middleman to Jason and makeshift hostage negotiator/small town cop/unlikely hero Skip Fine (Henry Winkler, in one of his many great performances). Aaron must speak to Skip on the phone, explain Jason's demands, and keep his classmates alive. He'll be a hero if he can accomplish these tasks, but can Skip help him to break through to Jason?

The performances in this film are exceptional for a TV-movie. At times, I found myself huddling up, especially the part when Jason puts the gun to a crying Samantha's (Katie Wright) head. He forces lookouts into the hallway, and insists that a cop entering the school or a student fleeing will result in bloodshed. I was so scared every time a student fled going to the bathroom. I was particularly freaked out when Darren, the sole African-American student, was killed being selfless by protecting a classmate. My heart skipped a beat as his determined, hysterical mother tried to find out of Darren was alive. We also saw glimpses of Aaron's scared mother, hoping that her son stays one step ahead of Jason to keep himself and his classmates alive. Freddie Prinze Jr. puts on an incredible performance, and looked so young (he still does). He was only about 20 years old then (my age), and I'm glad a better hairstyle was forthcoming for him. Henry Winkler is a great actor, and he's just the kind of unlikely hero you'd expect. In my opinion, casting on his part was a great decision.

If you like true-life dramas (this was based on reality), and like to see an unlikely individual prevail, then this is a great movie for you. It's well-written and smart, and you'll be left cheering for Prinze and Winkler. Rick Schroeder also puts on a great performance, and can scare and shake up the most unnerved person (myself included). If you can find this movie at your video store, definitely pick it up.
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This movie was VERY true to life, down to the finest detail.
adreiumcity23 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I was a senior at Lindhurst High School the day of the shooting in 1992, and this movie, which the story was based, has done its homework. There is not a day that goes by that I am not, in some way, reminded or affected by the horrific events of that May 1 day. I was 19 at the time of the shooting when I lost my first period teacher, which this film portrays. He was more like a lifelong family friend than just my Civics Instructor. He was a true mentor to me and an inspiration to everyone who knew him. He will continue to be missed and never forgotten. This true-to-life epic recaptures the raw terror and horror of the siege. I very highly recommend this movie to everyone.
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Lindhurst High School
amylove7511 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was a Junior at Lindhurst High when this tragic event took place. How dare you people imply that Mr. Brens flunked Eric on purpose and kept him from graduating. Tell it how it is? How do you know what it is? Did you personally know Eric Houston? Did you know Mr. Brens? No body deserves to be killed just cause you didn't graduate from High School. As far as I can see Eric didn't pull his weight in class and show that he was learning the material to deserve a passing grade. I know how it is to be lazy and not do the work or turn assignments in. I'm lucky I even graduated. But to say that this movie didn't tell the truth in the real life event is a load of crap. I lost really good friends due to Eric's selfishness. The movie was pretty good at depicting what happened that day but in all made from real life movies there is a caption at the beginning that states "taken from real life events but names and situations may be changed". The only problem I had with the people who put this film together was that they gave the bad guy (Rick Schroder) the name of one of Eric Houston's victims Jason (White). Talk about bad taste, how can you over look that? Rest In Peace Jason, Beamon, Judy, and Mr. Brens. You did not deserve to be taken from us so soon. Go Blazers....Class of 1993
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Every time I finally stopped crying, something happened to make me cry again
vaela11 October 2003
I just saw this movie on court tv, and I flicked in on it about twenty minutes into the movie. Every two minutes it seemed I was crying and i think I will be depressed for the rest of my life. But it was a good movie. It was really really good... and sooooo sad.
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hostage approved
monsterjunk-126 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
i only watched this movie because i was one of the hostages in this real life event. that being said, it does a good job of telling the story of that day. there were some changes from the real event: names, fewer victims, combining people into one character, i never had a romance with freddy prince jr, etc., but i guess they had to do that to keep from paying us for our life stories. the only thing that really bothered me is that they made it seem like we were having a little pizza party and enjoying ourselves. the mood was definitely more somber and many of the kids were physically sick from stress--migraines, vomiting, etc. the jokes we told were to help relieve the tension, not because we were having fun. even though i don't think this is a high quality movie, i'd recommend it as a rental because with the increased violence in schools, it has become more relevant and it is a problem that needs to be addressed instead of people taking the "it wouldn't happen here" attitude.
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Excellent performances bring true story to the screen.
Xapora5 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Powerful film, inspired by true events, takes us through a school hostage situation step by agonizing step.

Deeply troubled Jason Copeland decides to go on a rampage at his former high school out of revenge for failing to be awarded his high school diploma. His life has been a mess ever since then and he blames one teacher in particular, Mr Kroft, whose classroom he enters first.

The situation escalates and Jason winds up with 60 hostages and several casualties in his wake. Rick Schroder plays the part of Jason brilliantly as we witness his transition from crazed, gun-toting lunatic to a defeated and broken man. What happens in between is fascinating.

Henry Winkler turns in a great performance as a dedicated (yet inexperienced) cop who finds himself thrust into the unenviable position of negotiating with Jason.

Rick Schroder (who seems to have effortlessly made the transition from cute child star to credible adult actor), Freddie Prinze Jr (in one of his earlier roles) and the lovely, luminous and under-used actress Katie Wright all give fine performances they should be proud of.
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Good movie
TheEtherWalk13 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER This is a really good movie, great acting all around. It deals with a school shooting back in the early nineties with a guy who looks an awful lot like Kurt Cobain. The hostage negotiator had to talk him down and make him believe he would only get 4 years. It is all very sad when we see that he was put on death row. That makes the ending a bit of a downer.
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Watch with care.
clwjlwsgn6 August 2009
The movie was so good that i actually wrote to him. He actually wrote back. I found out a lot that was left out of the movie and some things that should have been left in. I ended up writing to him for 2 years. And am actually thinking about trying to write to him again. remember that the movies always add more or leave something out. And think about what you would do. NOT SAYING HE WAS RIGHT!!!!!! But let him tell you his side before he's not around to tell it anymore. He's still on death row. And if you wonder like I did at the end of the movie, write him and Ask him why like I did. You might be surprised like I was. Watch the movie with an open mind and take in every detail. Including the fact they changed the name of it. My copy is called Hostage High.
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i loved it
sweetsugar_1329 December 2006
to be honest i practically loved that the time i rented it i think i watched it about 12 times. The sad thing is now that most of the movie rental stores got rid of it. i was so angry i tried to go rent it last night, i went to three stores and none of them had it. But i don't think i have ever cried so hard in a movie, ever. It is a movie that makes you think, but get scared all at the same time, it makes you wonder would someone i know ever do this? but it's doubtful. i tried to make a lot of my friends watch this movie, but most of them said no, and like me, agree that it is an amazing movie and think that the way is made and how the actors act in it is completely brilliant. i don't think there is any other movie that i've seen like it yet.
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The Real story
faceless_haven2 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen this movie and it is about 15% true.. Why I say that is because my wife is the ex-girlfriend to Eric Houston the one portrayed in the original release. She was there and she knows the truth. If your gonna make a movie about something or someone tell the truth don't embellish it! The 15% that was true was the fact that he did murder a teach and a lot of students but that's it. The lies are how he did it and what really took place inside the school and his personal life. Also what drove him to do it was never really told. Tell the truth people stop covering up the truth!!! Stop protecting those who fail our kids in the school system!! Stop make villains into hero's and hero's into villains!! I am in no way excusing Eric's behavior that awful day but let's be honest if nothing else! My heart goes out to the families of those poor kids that were murdered that horrible day.... God be with you!!!!
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Outstanding Performances!
xroadsflooring4 March 2005
This is one movie that will never be forgotten in my mind. Rick Schroder commanded the screen with his performance, and the entire cast brought you into their terrified thoughts and feelings for 2 terrifying hours. A must-see movie for anyone willing to give up 2 hours of their time and a lot of tears!! I keep checking to see when it will come on again, so that my husband can watch it with me. Don't get up for anything when you finally get the chance to watch it, or you will miss something. The only thing I wish they had done was give us a little more background into Jason's past high school experiences. Whether it was at the beginning of the movie, or in flashbacks. That would have made him just a little more "Connectible" to the audience. But it was a fantastic movie all the way around! BRAVO!!!
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Very Good Movie
duhnelsons17 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Really a good piece of work. The director should have focused more on Jason's experiences that led up to his siege of the high school. I think the scariest sequence was when Jason had all of the bullets lined up on his desk at home. That was really the point that caught my attention. It pulled me into the story right away with just that little scene. It shows that he actually means to go through with his plan. One moment I thought might ruin the movie was when Jason took off his shirt and came down with the object behind his back. I thought it might be the cell phone and that they might shoot him. If that would have happened, the movie would have been worthless. But it might have been better than him waiting for his time to be up.
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just saw it, very impressed
RebelGurl4Eva15 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers

well i just got done watching this movie on tv and i have to saw i am really impressed. everybody did a great acting job, especially rick schroder and alexis cruz.

it's about a guy, jason copeland, who goes back to his high school to shoot the teachers who flunked him out of school. he thinks they've ruined his life, especially one mr..something..can't remember his name. a local cop, skip (henry winkler), must convince jason (rick) to let go of the 60 some odd kids he's holding hostage.

i'm amazed by schroder's acting job. he developed/portrayed a charactor that you wanted to hate but couldn't help feeling sorry for. through everything he had done, i was still sorry to learn at the end of the movie that he was on death row. he mixed terrifying outbursts and vulnerability with dark humor that still made you laugh. (on the phone with skip, jason demands food for his hostages: "i want 15 pepperoni pizzas, 5 packs of root beer, 5 of cola, and i want it all here in less than 15 minutes!!" meanwhile the kids are all clapping and cheering behind him).

i would recommend this movie to everybody. it's very very good. plus, schroder's charactor looked a lot like kurt cobain (who i personally think is very good looking).

-laura p.s. if you didn't already figure it out, it's a true story.
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This one is better than you may expect. (spoilers)
Jack the Ripper188818 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This is a good hostage film. It reminds me in a way of MASTERMINDS. It also could have been the inspiration for JOHN Q. This is one of the only teen hostage movies out there. Freddie Prinze, Jr. does an okay job of acting. It was one of his less famous roles. And Henry Winkler did a good job also.

On one of the final days of school, Johnson High School is about to behold horror. A former student, Jason Copeland (Rick Schroder) is going to take the school hostage after he was flunked the year before. Through the courage of fellow students and hostage negotiator Skip Fine (Henry Winkler) this madman may just be stopped.

The ending was a little sad. I have seen enough movies to realize that the cops never keep their promises. JOHN Q would be a good example. This is a emotionally involving film that endulges you with the remembrance of the Columbine killings a few years ago now. Actually, that may have been what stirred up the making of this film. Because this one was in production right about the same time the killings happened. What actually got me in the mood to watch this was hearing that stupid P.O.D. song "Youth of the Nation" on the radio. It is supposed to be in memory of the school shootings. The song actually talks more about the killings than it does memory of those who died. It sounds more like it is trying to get you in the mood to shoot up your school than it is trying to remember those who died. HOSTAGE HIGH is in a way like that also. It almost gets you in the mood to shoot up your school. Let's hope that no one crazy enough to do something like this ever sees this film. Because all of the hostage films that deal with cop corruption and hostage situations-- someone could actually create a fool-proof hostage situation because of these movies.

These kinds of films are what create criminals. The earlier FRAILTY deals with a man who was supposedly visited by God and was told to kill people that were supposedly demons disguised as people. And I would bet anything that we will be seeing a number of killings using this same motive. Most motives are usually because profit, revenge, jealousy, or some other alternative. The song that I mentioned earlier talks about knowing why the kids shot the school up was because "We are the youth of the nation". And while I still like the song, what in the hell does being the youth of the nation have to do with shooting up your school? That is the kind of stupid s**t that bothers me. This film will give you some graphic insight to teen hostage situations and school shootings. See this one for any reason. HOSTAGE HIGH: 5/5.
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See a comedy after this film
rricci30 December 2001
Warning: Spoilers

I'm writing this right after I saw this SAD (as in emotional) film. The scene where Frankie sees Travis dead REALLY got me crying and seeing Travis' mom asking anyone who'll listen if they saw her son REALLY had the tears rolling down my cheeks, especially after knowing that she will never see her son alive again I HOPE I NEVER FEEL THAT TYPE OF PAIN!

I was watching the commentary when they said about Jason that he was a victim himself that society just cast aside. One line in the commentary really hit home for me: "You wonder what could of == what kind of intervention could of stopped this from happening before it happened".

Also, for those of you who didn't hear the commentary, this was based on an incident that happened in Northern California on May 1, 1992. I'm planning on heading to the library to look this up in the newspaper.. According to the commentary, this happened during the week of the riots in South Central L.A. That's why we didn't hear of this.

I need a Farley Brothers comedy after this one!
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turtlewax18228 October 2001
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Some parts in this movie confused me... for one it was hard to believe that someone would be so deranged that they come back to their high school and try to kill the teachers who flunked them. But then again, I guess you could do anything if you are a psycho. Then I didn't understand why Jason (Rick Shroder) shot at the students? I mean why not just kill the teachers he came for, the students weren't even there and had nothing to do with him leaving school. And I felt there wasn't enough sub plots, like we didn't really deal with anyone's backgrounds besides Jason's, which only consisted of him failing and taking care of a sick mother and holding down numerous jobs. I felt besides Shroder and Winkler, the acting was pretty flat. I mean Rick is great as a paranoid amateur criminal (I say amateur because he took most of his demands from the students and didn't know what he was doing half the time). And the Fonze suprisingly plays a good cop. I have no idea how Freddie Prinze Jr got cast and he's horrible. What's worse is that you'd think since this was only his third film, he'd get better with time, but his movies are still disappointing and the characters are still one dimensional. The two characters played by Shroder and Winkler are really the only reasons to watch. Some parts were funny to me like how he wanted 15 pizzas as opposed to a plane or a bus, that made me laugh. At the end of the film, I actually felt bad for Jason, which I think was the point. I just couldn't not like someone who was confused and scared and played by such a great actor.
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Very dramtic and suspensful...
neptune_cow27 October 2001
I thought this movie was great. It was really suspensful. I thought the actors did a great job dramatizing the situation. I can't imagine what it was like to make such a movie knowing that it really happened. Trying to portray the students emotions and actions must have been really challenging. Again, I thought the movie was really good.
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