Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Retro Review: JOHNNY BE GOOD (1988)

Hello fellow movie fanatics, Lisa here! I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving! As you may know, I'm a huge fan of 80's movies, so that's why for this week's installment of RETRO REVIEW, I'll be reviewing the 1988 teen comedy JOHNNY BE GOOD. 

I found this movie flipping through the channels before going to dinner at my family's. Two familiar faces made me stop and watch, Paul Gleason and Anthony Michael Hall of Breakfast Club fame. Now, try to imagine Anthony Michael Hall as an all star high school quarterback named Johnny Walker. Weird, right? Well that's the character he plays and he does it well. Robert Downey Jr. (Yes, Iron Man himself) stars as his best friend, Leo and Uma Thurman plays Hall's girlfriend, Georgia. I couldn't get over how young both these actors looked.

I really enjoyed this movie due to the way Hall played a role that I wasn't used to seeing him play. He was usually cast as a nerd or a brainiac. But, Hall is a great actor and adapts to any role given to him. He plays the typical jock well, but as with most jock characters of the 80's, 90's, and today, I don't like how he treats his girlfriend at times. One of my favorite scenes is when he returns from visiting a college and she throws food at him. She was upset because he was around other girls and he didn't seem to give a second thought to her. Johnny, instead, enjoyed all the attention he received from the ladies and college recruiters. And what teenage boy wouldn't? He was also under pressure to help support his family, including his grandfather, siblings and mother.

The writing and directing were well done. The plot was relatable to the average person who has gone through the trials and tribulations of high school, no matter where they were on the totem pole. This was Bud Smith's only credit as a director, which I'm surprised at. He was known for his work on Flashdance and The Karate Kid as an editor. The writers for this film were known for doing big things in the '80s. Steve Zackarias and Jeff Buhai who wrote the screenplay for this film also wrote the screenplay for 1984's The Revenge of the Nerds, which was also one of my favorite movies of the '80s  As you can see there was some serious talent behind the scenes of Johnny Be Good.

This film isn't as well known as most of Hall's other films, but it's just as funny and charming. It explores the pressures of high school and trying to get into the right college. Does the star quarterback go to the college that offers him everything or stay with his girlfriend and go to college with her?

Johnny Be Good did not have the best critical reception, however. It actually has a rating of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, which seems crazy, and was failure at the box office. Despite this, I still enjoyed the film and the performances from the young actors, who, in my opinion, did a great job. Any movie with Anthony Michael Hall is worth a glance at least, and this one is no different.

Lisa's Score: 7/10 

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