So… where do I begin? I’m not a writer, but I’ve definitely seen way more movies than I would like to admit. I spent almost ten years working in and out of video stores on the East Coast and West Coast, so… future Tarantino, here. During that time, I probably rented everything that had a cheesy cover, a bad actor in it, a bad title. Bad is the kind of theme I like. Also at this time, I gained this uncanny ability of recognizing faces in movies, and being able to recall them. So for some reason remember everything people are in. Like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with everyone.
I also generally like to see stuff I have never seen before. I do re-watch a ton of films, but finding something no one has heard of or seen is my mission. I don’t dislike many movies, with the exception of animated films, which is a big blind spot for me as I generally don’t enjoy animated movies. Tough to get me to see it, and it has to be a theme I love. Oh and I actually realize I have another big pet peeve about film, I don’t like kids in movies. So I don’t like movies with the plot centered around children. That is going to be an automatic no, right off the bat. Willy Wonka is the exception, but everything else? Sorry, hard pass. Oka,y now that some of that is explained, let me tell you about my favorite flick of all time.
Three O’Clock High
How do I describe it? Nerd in high school somehow stumbles into a schoolyard fight with the new big bad and tries everything in his high school brain to get out of that fight. It stars Casey Siemaszko and Richard Tyson in those two main roles, but the random cast of actors in this is super-solid. Recently deceased Philip Baker Hall, John P. Ryan, Mitch Pileggi and Jeffrey Tambor, to name a few. The director is Phil Joanou, who Spielberg hand-picks to make this flick after his shorts in Amazing Stories (remember those?) and then goes on to essentially become U2’s exclusive music video director.
But why this flick and why my fav? It really is simple. The whole flick really masters the whole element of a school day, and everything this kid will do to not only get out of the fight but also get out of the school. We can all relate. But this film just continues to find and introduce new and stupendous ways Jerry Mitchell (Casey) will go about to get out of this fight. The film uses this constant shot of the school hallway clock slowly getting closer and closer to three o’clock that before long you think that is another character you are rooting against. As the day progresses and he sits in different subjects, the class lessons are always following the David vs. Goliath mythology. Chef’s Kiss.
My buddy Mark and I love the scene with the note and Mitch Pileggi. Just watch it and you will know what I am talking about. And when three o’clock hits and we get the crescendo… THE FIGHT. The most quoted scene in my life. From “Let’s Finish,” “ Shit, three minutes! Go, Jerry,” “ Don’t F*** this up, Mitchell,” and my favorite: “No one is gonna help you now, Jerry. It’s just you and me.” Perfection. How many times have I seen it? Let’s just say back in NJ, working at a video store, this flick started my day, everyday 5-6 days a week for 2+ years. So I kind of like it. And listen, I don’t know where it is streaming, but it is a $9 buck dvd, so grab it on eBay/Amazon if you see it. Well worth it.