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Wait! Have You Not Seen… How I Got Into College?

The next one I planned on writing is a flick that I recall seeing early in my movie years. I believe we may have had a copy of this flick copied off of the TV on a VHS tape. Do I remember what the other titles on that VHS were? Man, I bet my Dad still has this in the basement. I was always fascinated by what would get paired with what on those JVC blank tapes. We had one tape with Jaws, The Princess Bride, and one of the Muppet movies. Why? And I assure you that is probably how I watched it. Pushed in the tape and watched until Kermit. Anyway, let’s talk about a film that I absolutely love. The second reason I am picking this title is because I just recently found out that this director made a movie for Disney and it starred Leslie Nielsen. I bought it within 3 minutes of finding that out. Well, let’s talk about his classic I love:

How I Got Into College

A theme of all my movies I love to write about is that they’re set in the 80s. This one is about two high school kids in Michigan who are trying to get into college. The first kid is Marlon: your average student. Nothing out of the ordinary and nothing exceptional. But let’s go to the second student: Jessica. She is the class president, a popular girl, with many options. Her parents want her to go to their alma mater, the University of Michigan. She prefers Ramsey College, a smaller school in Pennsylvania. And Marlon just wants to go where Jessica goes, thinking he has a better chance… out of the high school drama and with her at that school. The movie then goes about the ups and downs of trying to get accepted into a college in the 80s. But let’s talk about the two students. Marlon is played by Corey Parker. Not a huge star, but has been in a bunch of fun movies from my youth. Friday the 13th the New Beginning and Big Man on Campus are highlights for me. He kind of went behind the scenes and became a great acting coach, having worked most recently on Disney’s Ms. Marvel. And Jessica is played by the beautiful Lara Flynn Boyle. She has had an absolute killer career. This is her second film, so you can tell she is going to be a star. She filmed this flick while filming Poltergeist 3, so this is technically her second flick. She was in so much. She is Stacy in Wayne’s World, Serlenna in MIB 2, and not to mention her TV accolades. Donna Heyward in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks in 90. Wow, I am getting old. And 100+ episodes on The Practice. But here she and Corey are figuring it out, but it is a gem. Like I said earlier they are trying to get themselves in Ramsey, and while Jessica has a great shot, Marlon not so much. But Marlon has ambition, and that is where I will leave this on the plot. 

So I tackled the two main actors but the rest of the cast is amazing. Let’s start with one of the Ramsey College admission board members. The first is Kip Hammet, he is a Ramsey College alumni and wants to diversify the admission pool. He is played by the wonderful Anthony Edwards. I will always know him as Gilbert from Revenge of the Nerds, but I am always reminded he is one of the stoners from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He also was amazing on ER where I believe he was in 180 episodes. I am sure that the syndication check is solid. Next is another alumnus turned administrator, Nina, played by Finn Carter. I only know her from Tremors where she plays Rhonda, and looking her up, she kind of didn’t do much in films after those two. A cool fact is she was married to Steven Weber during her acting days and when they divorced she kind of disappeared. Let’s round off the administrators of Ramsey College. The hard-ass Leo Whitmann, who only wants the best of the best. He is played by Charles Rocket. He was a pretty solid background actor in tons of flicks, but I recall him being the #2 on Saturday Night Live the year with Joe Piscopo. I know for sure he is a Weekend Update guy and was in a ton of sketches. Anyway, he was in tons of movies and tons of TV. His face you will 100% recognize. Sadly he passed away in 2005 at his home in Connecticut. Wow, I only recall reading it was suicide, but I just read his throat was slit. Woah, not what I was expecting. Crazy crazy. Sorry, that shocked me a bit. Back to the rest of the cast. There are a ton of other people in this flick, but let’s grab two more. One of the background characters is Coach Evans, played by the always wonderful Brian Doyle-Murray, best known as the writer of Caddyshack and Bill Murray’s Older Brother. Ramsey College Dean Patterson is played by the late great Phillip Baker Hall. Amazing character actor, most known as Bookman from those two perfect Seinfeld episodes. This cast is just bananas and I could keep adding people, but I need to move on

The crew is next and although I won’t go into great detail on everyone, the one I will for sure highlight is the director. Well, technically the second director of this flick. But let’s talk about the director. Savage Steve Holland. He is the genius behind two other masterpieces, Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer. He not only wrote those gems but directed them as well. And if that did not make him a god in my eyes, he also was the animator and creator of the Whammy on Press Your Luck. Nutso. Did I mention he was an assistant director of Saturday Night Live back in the day and wrote a bunch of Kenan & Kel episodes. This guy is amazing and on my short list of people I want to meet and shake his hand. But as I said, he was technically the second director hired for this movie. The first is Jan Eliasberg. She was predominantly a TV director doing tons of shows, such as Wiseguy, Miami Vice, and LA Law. Not sure why she left, but they picked a great replacement for her. This movie was written by Terrel Seltzer, whom I was pretty ignorant of, but read he wrote the George Clooney/Michelle Pfieffer flick One Fine Day, which I recall enjoying, so good for him. I will mention one of the producers, Michael Shamberg. He is a long-time producer, and has been attached to so many great flicks. A Fish Called Wanda, Reality Bites, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Gattaca, and Matilda just to name a few. Solid list just right there, but there are more. A solid group of people making an absolute gem.

Okay, my fav. The Quotes. 

“Girls like her are a dime a dozen. She’s state school material at best.”

• “Marlon Browne? Congratulations.”
“I did it! I got into Ramsey! It’s from Ramsey?”
“No, its from Ed McMahon. You may have already won ten million dollars.”

• “People choose colleges for all kinds of idiotic reasons, like fraternities and Slavic language departments.”

• “ The thing about Ramsey, Dad, is that they actually consider people like me.”
“What does that mean? They’re looking for someone with a definitive collection of Silver Surfer comic books?”

I just rewatched this flick yesterday and it is one that I may need to see if it cracks my top ten. I just love pure comedy and it is fun for fun sake. Two quick extra gems I love about this flick Marlon has to take his SATs and the premise is he is figuring out answers to questions always with an “A’ and a “B”. The “B” is played by Tom Kenny, the voice of Spongebob Squarepants. This is his first movie. “A” is played by Bruce Wagner who wrote Wild Palms, and the screenplay for White Dwarf. Also, he was married to Rebecca De Mornay, for a bit.  How about that for a little nugget? Last last nod. The mailman is played by the late great Taylor Negron, who was in every Savage Steve Holland Flick and plays a Mailman in two of them. Oh and the Pizza Guy in Fast Times. Also know around these parts as a close friend of Glenn Farrington.

So how do you watch it? Great question, because it is not streaming anywhere. And not on Amazon. But I did find it on eBay, so well worth the price. And if you buy it and hate it? Happy to hand you a few bucks. 

Late late late addition. I want to point out that this flick also has Curtis Armstrong, Nora Dunn, and Phil Hartman and I didn’t even mention them. That is how much is going on in this flick.

Steve Uchrin
Steve Uchrin
Steve Uchrin is a former comic shop clerk, a former video store clerk, and current married dad of two girls with zero interest in comics or movies. Owner of 10+ terabytes of flicks and the largest McDonald's "cocaine" spoon collection this side of the Mississippi.


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