High School U.S.A.

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Set in a senior high school class, J.J. pursues the girlfriend of a rival from a higher clique.

ACTORS :  Michael J. Fox, Nancy McKeon, Todd Bridges

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1983

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High School U.S.A.  Set in a senior high school class, J.J. pursues the girlfriend of a rival from a higher clique.

An incredibly entertaining movie!

High School U.S.A.  More people should watch this movie. I’m quite sure they won’t enjoy it as much as my friends or I, but the cast is so fun that it’s worth a look. Rowdy class clown J.J. (double J) Manners (Michael J. Fox) is certainly smitten after he bumps in to Beth Franklin (Nancy McKeon) in the hallway. Big problem though-she’s dating Beau Middleton (Anthony Edwards) the cocky king of the preps! A class struggle ensues and it’s quite wacky to watch it unfold. The supporting cast here is really interesting. You’ve got Todd Bridges and Dana Plato (Different Strokes), Crystal Bernard (future star of Wings) and a plethora of actors and actresses from older TV shows. Bob Denver plays Crispin Glover’s pet supply selling dad. Tony Dow plays the high school’s principle. There’s even a scene where Anthony Edwards pulls and Eddie Haskell on Eddie Haskell himself (Ken Osmond). There’s nothing too original about the plot of this baby (it is a TV movie after all), but it became really addictive for me and a couple of my friends. It’s fun to throw quotes around from it. All in all, well worth a couple bucks to watch on video (although I haven’t found it in too many video stores). Give it a chance with low expectations and I’m quite sure you won’t be too dissatisfied.

The beginning of the 80s teen TV movie phenomenon

 

Come back with us now to the 1980s. While movie companies were cashing in on teen success, NBC decided to take advantage on the teen movie trend by making their own. High School U.S.A. was the beginning. It was originally a TV pilot, but you could hardly tell it was. Still, this movie featured teen stars of the time who went on to big things that included:

Michael J Fox (Family Ties), Nancy McKeon (The Facts of Life), Todd Bridges & the late Dana Plato (Diff’rent Strokes), Lauri Hendler (Gimme a Break), Crystal Bernard & Cathy Silvers (Happy Days), Anthony Edwards (who went to big things), David Packer (V), Crispin Glover (Back to the Future), and the late Tom Villard (who did many supporting & guest roles in movies and TV).

The setting is Excelsior Union High School in Missouri. JJ Manners (Fox) is sort is the somewhat leader of a group of uncool kids. He is likable, but the prep & jocks (led by Beau Middleton, played by Edwards) can’t stand him or his kind. It gets even worse when JJ falls in love with Beth Franklin (McKeon), who was a zero but became part of the A-crowd when she started to date Beau.

There are many subplots as well, which as just as funny. A host of 50s & 60s TV stars show up. It is pretty interesting seeing teen stars from one generation meet up with another.

Do I think it would’ve worked as a TV series? Probably not. Some of the stars were involved in other TV shows and projects. It would’ve been impossible top bring all the cast members back. Still, it stands on its own well as a TV movie. It was probably best it ended that way as well.

It’s worth a look for fans of the 80s and even fans of 50s and 60s.

Pat

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