movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] One of my fave movies as a kid… can’t believe hardly anyone’s seen this! It’s not as funny as I remember it, though.

LIMERICK REVIEW: People who go to Catholic schools
are often parented by religious fools.
Kids get abused;
Staff gets amused.
Abuse of authority in the name of their religious ghouls.

HAIKU REVIEW: God’s authority!
Do not question it–or else!
You will be beaten!

PEOPLE: Lots of people involved in this! The writer didn’t go on to do anything, but director Michael Dinner directed 2 more movies (I think I’ve heard of Hot To Trot) before being demoted to a TV director who directed on 19 episodes of The Wonder Years and various TV movies. Which is a shame, becuase I thought he did a decent job with this movie.

Cast includes Donald Sutherland (Keifer Sutherland’s dad) as the authoritarian-but-sometimes-fair head priest Brother Thadeus. John Heard (White Chicks, The Pelican Brief, Gladiator, Home Alone, Beaches, C.H.U.D., Prison Break) as “cool” Brother Timothy. Jay Patterson (Death Of A President, McBain) as douchebag Brother Constance. Andrew McCarthy (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Less Than Zero, Weekend At Burnie’s, Mannequin, St. Elmo’s Fire) as transfer student / main character Michael Dunn. Mary Stuart Masterson (The Postman, Fried Green Tomatoes, Some Kind Of Wonderful) as the local working girl/love interest. Kevin Dillon (The Doors, Platoon, A Midnight Clear, 3 eps of 24) as the local homophobic asshole bully who becomes semi-tolerable. Malcolm Danare (Independence Day, Robin Hood:Men In Tights, European Vacation, Christine) as the nerdy kid who has a laminated Doctor’s note preventing him from being beaten by the Catholics.

Smaller roles include Wallace Shawn (“INCONCEIVABLE!” from The Princess Bride, and in Vegas Vacation which we just watched, as well as Toy Story 1-3, The Incredibles) as a priest who lectures everyone about what will happen to them in hell if they dare LUST.

And as a pleasant surprise, we have the film debut of a very young Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson, Herman’s Head, Dharma & Greg, Maximum Overdrive, As Good As It Gets).

And on the topic of The Simpsons — Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson) was in an uncredited small role in ths movie too! Bart AND Lisa! Whoa!!!!!!!

QUIRKS: Insane Catholic schools, authority, abuse of authority, rebellion, bullying, blackmail, chronic masturbation, love, smoking, 1965. Not the usual combination of things I look for in a movie.

SOUNDTRACK: Old 1960s tunes, like Tutti Frutti and My Girl.

MORALS: Inflexible authority is cruel and arbitrary, and should NOT be mindlessly followed!

BAD STUFF: Although billed as a comedy/drama/romance, it’s probably 70% drama, 20% romance, and 10% comedy. It’s not as funny as I remember it. I used to think it was hilarious. I think that’s because this was the first time I was ever exposed to catholic bullshit. The first time I ever saw communion being given. The first time I saw rituals that practically remind me of Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom in their arbitrary randomness. Nowadays, that stuff just isn’t quite as funny, because I’ve been exposed to it and know how much damage Catholicism has done to the world — and doubt that it offsets the good that it’s created, since good can happen in the absence of threatening sky fairies and 2,000 year old dogmatic, sexist writings.

Also, puking while drinking is funnier when you’re a kid than when you’re an adult who’s had to clean up other peoples’ puke multiple times — but never your own.

But these “bad things” are more of a reflection on how *I’ve* changed, than on the movie itself.

CONCLUSION: Growing up, this was pretty much one of my favorite “overcoming inflexible authority” movies ever. I used to find it way more hilarious than I do today, because now I am annoyed by 20 more years of seeing what inflexible authority does to those who are caught up in its machinery. Nonetheless, I still really really liked this movie! And Carolyn hadn’t seen it, so it was great to re-watch it for the first time since college/high school!

RATINGS: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10. It’s not the funniest or most exciting movie, but the way evil authoritarianism is triumphed against really makes this movie quite boosting to one’s spirit. Triumph over adversity.

RECOMMENDATION: Non-Catholics who went to Catholic school might find this especially enjoying. There are a lot of high school comedy elements in it, and it’s a good 1965 period piece as well.

MOVIE QUOTE: Brother Thadeus: We all come to the order, full of ideas… and we often find that we have much to learn ourselves. Nevertheless, authority must never be undermined by the display of dissent among the faculty. For the students’ sake, you understand.
Brother Timothy: No, I don’t understand.
Brother Thadeus: Then you should try to restrain yourself until you do.

COINCIDENCES: (Vegas Vacation, Heaven Help Us) 2 Wallace Shawn (the “inconceivable!” guy from The Princess Bride) movies within 1 week.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Why has no one rated this???

Mood: full
Music: The Church – Buffalo