CHECK OUT OUR DISCUSSION OF CLASS OF 1984 ON THE PODCAST.
Lean on Me, Massacre at Central High, Blackboard Jungle…
All of these movies tackle the question of juvenile delinquency in the context of the classroom, something that’s been bugging society since long before the era of school shootings like Sandy Hook. These films have been around for a really long time, the only thing that’s changed is the level of violence and the moral ambiguity.
Class of 1984 focuses on Lincoln High, a Chicago-area school named after The Great Emancipator that needs to be saved from out-of-control violence and mayhem. Chicagoan Roger Ebert said he was moved by this in 82 at Cannes.
An unwitting music teacher Mr. Norris meets with staunch resistance from hoodlums after his transfer (this was filmed at Central Tech, a Toronto school not far from where the authors of this site live).
Based on a story by co-writer Tom Holland, Mr Holand’s opus here shines the spotlight on school violence, which has gotten so out of hand, teachers are exercising their Second Amendment rights! One such teacher is the unhinged Mr. Corrigan (Roddy McDowall), driven around the bend dealing with all those dangerous minds. Soon, Norris is behaving as badly as the the wayward youth under his charge.
Class of 1984 is surprisingly violent, exploitative, yet engaging.
The flick is perhaps best known for being Michael J Fox’s first film role. He’s a puff-cheeked geek in the school band, exuding the fluid charm that put him on TV in front of millions as the inimitable Reagan conservative Alex P. Keaton. Astute viewers will also catch genre stalwart Lisa Langlois (Deadly Eyes and the bug-addled b-movie we tackled on our podcast, The Nest) and recall that the music teacher is played by Perry King, no stranger to juvenile delinquent movies as “Chico” in The Lords of Flatbush.
A special edition of the film is available through Shout! Factory.
***1/2 (out of 5)