Pretty Bad All Around
During the late 80s and early 90s I had a massive crush on Kirk Cameron. I also had a massive girl crush on Amanda Peterson from Can’t Buy Me Love and Jami Gertz from The Lost Boys fame. Jami Gertz is one of those actresses that, to me, has always looked to be more mature and older than the characters she plays. Almost as if she born 35 years old straight out of the womb.
First things first. I have a completely different take on this movie thirty years later. This movie has not aged well. Dan Schneider is in this movie. If you don’t know who Dan Schneider is, then Google him. He is not a good human. However, he isn’t a major player in this movie, so that is a plus. Also, I am one that can separate the artist from the art.
Kirk Cameron (Tucker) stars as a poor country boy from Oklahoma. He is one of two debate scholarships at a college called Kenmount. Jami Gertz (Monica) is the other debate scholarship recipient from a working class family in Chicago. Roy Schneider stars as Charlie Nichols the debate coach. Apparently, at Kenmont College debate is the big sport, unlike football or basketball.
The real star of this movie is Timothy Quill. I never noticed him back in my teen years. He plays Garson McKellar. He is the debating champion for Kenmont College. Garson is the son of a senator, and it is his senior year of college. His future has already been decided. It is law school and politics. However, Garson doesn’t want this and is desperately trying to get out of his family’s legacy and pursue his passion for writing. The pressure is eating him alive. Charlie knows and really wants to support Garson with his dream, but Garson’s family gives a lot of money to the school. Charlie has been pressured by Garson’s family and the administration of the school to keep Garson in line and make sure he keeps doing debate.
I have so many questions and musings about this movie. I am just going to go over some of my questions and some of the scenes that I enjoyed.
This movie is very immature. Garson drives a vehicle with a bumper sticker reading “Master Debater.” The first meeting of the debate team shows debaters discussing the topic of whether abstinence is realistic. Some guys in the audience blow up some condoms and toss them around the room. Garson is up against another veteran debater at the school (Susan) and asks “Do you masturbate?” Susan replies “that is none of your business, do you?” Garson smiles and says “as rarely as possible.” LOL
Roy Schneider gives a speech about how tough debate is at Kenmont and because women are allowed to play it is nastier and tougher than any sport. Seriously…well, it is the 80s.
Tucker walks in on his roommate having sex in their dorm room because it is an 80s movie and this automatically means an 80s sex scene…now for my question of why? Not to the sex scene, but why would this rich senator’s kid have a roommate…let alone a freshman?
There is a guy in this movie that is all over the place drawing pictures of the debate students. I don’t know if he is on the debate team or if he travels with them to make the drawings…it is odd. Is this a thing? Is this something normal? I truly don’t know. It was just extremely weird. He is in so many scenes just hanging out with a sketchbook. Of course, conversations take place for him to overhear and get documented.
80s montage time set to Tutti Frutti. I love me a good montage. This isn’t the one. Honestly, this is probably the worst one from the 80s.
Forever Young song by a group called Alphaville is played when Tucker and Monica are driving home with Garson to his house for the holidays. I am now listening to this song daily on Amazon Music.
Upon arrival at Garson’s amazing home Tucker says it reminds him of his own. Garson’s parents ask in what ways? Tucker replies it is the exact same color. Haha
Still at home with Garson for the holidays and they have dinner with the parents and his grandparents. Lila Quartermaine from General Hospital plays the grandmother. Garson says “I am not following in the family tradition. I am starting my own. I am writing a play. If Charlie likes it I am dropping out of everything including debate and concentrating totally on my writing.” His mother looks to be somewhat supportive. What a mother should be. Tucker and Monica are in an uncomfortable situation of being present at what is obviously a family fight.
Student asks Charlie how do you sell abortion to a Catholic judge? Charlie tells a story about his mom having an abortion. The guy says I still don’t understand. Charlie says “tell him the story of your mom.” He says, “my mother never had an abortion.” Charlie smiles and says “neither did mine.”
Garson is shown driving like a maniac. Things didn’t go well with his Dad. He drives to the edge of a cliff and looks like he just ends up hitting the brakes in time to not commit suicide.
Charlie is getting an earful from the administration. Charlie says, “if there is any merit in the play I am going to let Garson quit.” The other gentleman says “you do that and your tenure won’t even protect you. I want that boy debating.”
Charlie shows up to Garson and Tucker’s room. Tucker is sleeping. Charlie begins reading the play and finishes it telling Garson he can’t give an honest opinion. Garson has put him in an impossible position and to make his own decisions. Tucker is shown awake having overheard.
There is a scene where the debate team is staying in a hotel that I believe is in the state of New York. Monica runs out the hotel and into the woods. Tucker runs after her. I don’t know how far this woman ran or how she could have gone so far, but they end up owing forty dollars when they ride back to the hotel in a carriage. The whole scene is just ridiculous.
I am going to end the blog post here. This post was an incredible struggle. I didn’t know what to write because I have so many feelings on the movie as a whole. Anyway, thanks for reading. I understand it wasn’t very logical, but it is the post I have for you. Do I recommend you watching this movie? No, I don’t. You aren’t missing anything by choosing to not watch.
If you end up watching this movie please share your thoughts. What was your greatest what the heck am I watching moment?
- @ May 2, 2022 12:18 am