Summer School: See? Mark Harmon was DiNozzo BEFORE He was Gibbs
What’s going on inside Jimmy D’s head for this Thursday?
I’m in the mood for movies!
So you know what that means! It’s time for another Thrilling Cinema Thursday, hooraaay! 🙂
I’m launching a new sub-set of TCT for the season I like to call, Jimmy D’s MoviesOf Summer, and first up, is a film I spent many an hour watching whilst home sick from school or munching on a grilled cheese lunch break in the middle of a hot summer day watching. A “cheesy” sentimental fav of mine.
Before Mark Harmon was slap-happy doing THIS…
He was THIS guy back in the 1980’s, in a hapless place known to estudiantes the world over as…
Freddy Shoop (Harmon) is a laid-back “jocky-meets-Chris-Issak” surfer dude gym teacher looking forward to his summer vacation in Hawaii when his plans suddenly get derailed by the scheduled teacher of Summer School unexpectedly hitting the lotto and quitting on the spot. Shoop is “shanghai’ed” into teaching a “colorful” group of Remedial English students, and of course, gets WAAY more than he bargained for.
(Otherwise, we wouldn’t have a movie, DUHH! )
“What We Got On The Spacecraft That’s Good?”
Mark Harmon, naturally. Despite the very simple premise of the movie (we’ll get to that in a minute 😛 ) and going through absurd situations, even for a school screwball comedy, he takes it all with an easy grace, “Charmin’ Harmon” like it’s all just a day at the beach. (And by the looks of things, it probably was. 😉 )
It’ll be interesting for folks who have never really known Harmon as anything other than Leroy Jethro Gibbs to watch him in this. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if he cracks more smiles in the runtime of this one little flick than he has in the entire series run of NCIS. Oh, and he just MIGHT remind you of another certain character from that series…any guesses? (PSSsst, in the blog title! )
“Wait-a-minute, why is Gibbs playing VERY Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, as a school teacher??”
You see young squires of cinema, waaaay back 25-30 years ago, this was the “type” that ol’Mark was known for, the wise-cracking hunky All-American broheim guy/lightweight/womanizer. It was only in the 90’s and 2000’s that he gradually transformatized himself into a heavier dramatic rep. Bottomline, he invented the “DiNozzo” type character you see Michael Weatherly and others owning today! When you’re as old as I am (or older, really ancient 😛 lol ) you remember that!
Other great things worth mentioning, some “before they were stars” supporting roles are played here by Melrose Placer/Ally McBealer/According To Jim What-The-Hell-Are-You-Doing-There-er Courtney Thorne-Smith and future “Scream Queen” Shawnee Smith (no relation.) Which is even more ironic seeing as how horror stuff plays such a prominent role in the flick, for laughs.
The “bombshell mode” of Kirstie Alley also appears in this film (and quite well-acted) as Harmon’s booky love interest. (No really kids, Alley was once the new “it girl” of the 1980’s, look into it, if you don’t believe me!! )
See? That’s that “Fat Chick” NOT fat! 😉
Oh yeah, and some of the jokes and bits in the film are…uhh…kinda funny as well. 😛
“Is As If People Do Things Because They’re Paid, And That’s Just Really Sad”
Now, for the downside. Put it this way, there’s probably a good reason why you’ve never heard of School or can only find it in the “discount bin” at your local Wallyworld’s right next to Career Opportunities. Besides it being an old film (which it is, Hello? 1987?) It’s also not particularly original, and most of the scenarios are extremely far-fetched.
There’s no way even a “too cool” teacher like Freddy Shoop would put up with all this crap. The soundtrack is annoyingly 80’s, and the “villain” is way too one-dimensional and pencil-dickish for his own good.
Basically, you’re going to figure out everything 20 minutes or more before the characters on the screen do.
It’s like they were trying to ripoff every school comedy movie out there at the time, without trying to hide at all the fact that they were doing it.
Considering this was directed by master comedy director Carl Reiner (AKA Mr. Princess Bride’s Daddy) we expected something a little better.
I honestly shouldn’t like this film, but nevertheless, I do. 🙂
In the greater scheme of cinema, School is not a memorable film. But for what it is, it is well enough, A throaway goofy summer flick, and a “time capsule” that shows you just how far Harmon as come as an actor.
If you have some time to kill on a lazy summer weekend, check it out! B)
Has never found Bob, but DID find the severed head of Chucky once,