Review by Gordon Justesen
Mark Harmon, Kirstie Alley
Director: Carl Reiner
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Mono, French Dolby Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Length: 97 Minutes
Release Date: June 1, 2004
be teaching remedial English?”
I ain’t no English teacher. See—double negative.”
I’m sure I’d be
lying if I said we all liked hearing the words summer and school in the same
sentence. It represented, for me at least, the kind of disease one always wanted
to avoid contracting at any costs. Ten months of school was always enough for
me, and the summer is the time period to lay back and kick it.
In the opening
moments of Summer School, a group of
high school students are summoned to a personal meeting with the vice principal
on the last day of school. They are then informed that they failed an important
English exam that must be passed and that they will have to re-take the test by
enrolling in Summer School. Each of they students reactions’ resembles the
kind I would’ve had if I was in their shoes.
But the students
aren’t the only ones being forced into this position. When staff availability
is severely low, the vice principal turns to an act of blackmail, by telling gym
teacher Freddy Shoop (Mark Harmon) that he will teach the course if he still
wants a job, as well as his tenure approved. Freddy is stunned by the act of
force, since he was about to endure a summer of fun with his girlfriend in
Hawaii. Nonetheless, the now hapless Shoop finds himself tending to a rag tag
group of underachievers whose minds seem not that far from unmoldable.
School is not to be taken
seriously, like any comedy from the mid 80s, but that’s not to say that the
zaniness can’t be the least bit enjoyable. At no other point in the movie is
the proof of this notion more valid than where Shoop starts taking his class on
spontaneous field trips to go cart racing and some beach fun, etc. Another point
where the teacher, who eventually buckles down to actually teach his students,
begins actually issuing bribes for attending class is crystal proof.
One of the
pleasures of DVD is the fact that you get the chance to see a flick you
haven’t seen since your own personal hay day of pay-cable, and I remember
seeing this movie quite a bit back in the day. Amazingly enough, I forgot many
parts of it, and now found it even immensely funny by today’s standards which,
for a comedy made in 1987, is really saying something.
handling of this flick, with 17 years of age, is pleasantly surprising. The
anamorphic picture is incredibly sharp and clear throughout, with no noticeable
bits of grain, distortion, or any other image flaws. Colors are quite bright and
vibrant as can be, making good use in many of the sunny-based shots in the film.
It’s clear that the studio has been doing their absolute best in rendering the
quality of their many catalogue titles.
The provided 5.1
mix does the movie well in terms of dialogue delivery and music playback.
Periodic background noises will find their way into the mix, and the overall
quality is that of a sharp, crisp level of sound without any of the basic aural
flaws. Very well executed.