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  Teen Wolf Give me.....a keg.....of beer
Year: 1985
Director: Rod Daniel
Stars: Michael J. Fox, James Hampton, Susan Ursitti, Jerry Levine, Matt Adler, Lorie Griffin, Jay Tarses, Doug Savant
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 6 votes)
Review: They don’t make them like this anymore! Genius! Absolute genius! Teen Wolf is to me the very zenith of the 80s High School genre. This film brings a tear to my eye, not so much the poignant story but because I should have been BORN IN THE USA!!!!! A place where school sport actually means something, cheering crowds that bet on your performance, coaches that turn you into athletes, scholarships to Stanford, wearing letter jackets and more cheerleader pussy than you can shake your dick at! Instead I went to a grotty Comp in the arse end of nowhere where the team was run by an alcoholic P.E teacher in a Dunlop track suit who assembled the team on a scrap of paper half an hour before the game, the kit stunk of stale body odour ‘cos no one could be fucked to wash it, you slogged it out on a waterlogged pitch with teams that just wanted to fight you, while my dad in his anorak was the only one who came to watch and there’d be a brief mention of our 12-0 defeat at the end of Friday assembly. My school was all about the lowest common denominator. It was about getting the fat kids with ‘weak ankles’ to do a forward roll. Who gives a shit! Just sit 'em in front of a plate of chips in the canteen, they’re happy. In the meantime I saw some great athletes go to waste. 'What time did he get?' 'Er dunno I dropped t' stop watch'.

Teen Wolf is set in the luscious Beacon Town High School where the hallways seem to go on forever and they actually have facilities!!!!! Fuck-off big prom halls, stage theatres, locker-rooms with sports kit that matches and a basketball court that could host an NBA game. Unfortunately the downside of the elitism in American High Schools and the cult of the athlete is that it produces kids like Scott Howard (and on a darker level Klebold and Harris). Scott is the weedy kid on the periphery of school society who desperately yearns for recognition from his peers. Unfortunately in American High Schools (and often society in general) success is only seen in terms of athletic and social prowess while all else in between is just mediocre. But no one in life wants to be mediocre, what’s the point of being one of life’s statistics?

When Scott begins to experience a few physical changes he just puts it down to puberty, but then one night, under a full moon, he changes into a Werewolf (heavily influenced by Jacko’s Thriller and looking more like a Wookie than a wolf). His dad (James Hampton) has also transformed and explains that Werewolves have been in the family for generations but he had hoped that the affliction would skip his son. Totally freaked out, Scott refuses to accept what he is and tries to resume normal life.

But when things get heated at a school basketball match, Scott transforms into a Werewolf in front of all of his classmates. Now instead of running for their lives, shooting the fucker or even just postponing the game, they carry on playing and it becomes apparent that as 'The Wolf', Scott can shoot hoops and slam-dunk better than anyone else. Seeing its potential for increasing their popularity, Scott's Fonzie-like friend Stiles (Jerry Levine) teaches Scott to use his new persona to their advantage. All you’ve got to do from here on in is accept two things:

1.) In Scott’s community Werewolves are seen as a quirky novelty like someone having a big dick.

2.) America does not exist outside of Scott’s town.

Once you have accepted these facts, you realise that no government agencies are coming for blood samples or to probe too deeply into this strange phenomenon. The film is really about the cult of celebrity with ‘The Wolf’ persona serving as a metaphor for the celebrity mantle and Scott’s school as a microcosm of the world. The film traces Scott’s journey through fame; from adulation (his dream girl suddenly notices him), through to expectancy, jealousy, resentment, and finally acceptance and redemption. All of this is played out to the backdrop of the school sporting and social scene where, no doubt, had ‘The Wolf’ been crap at sports he would have tossed into the corner of the playground and beaten with sticks.

The film is crammed full of memorable characters like Stiles (those Wayfearers are classic), Coach Finstock (Jay Tarses), Pamela (Lorie Griffin - who gave me one of my first erections) and ‘Chubby’ (the morbidly obese 40 year old basketball player who looks like he’s gonna drop dead any second. You can almost smell him through the screen). There are some classic scenes such as Scott getting his keg of beer, Vice Principal Rusty Thorne (Jim McKrell) pissing himself, and of course there’s the spectacle of seeing Michael J Fox (a 25 year old man with a child’s body) scuttle about on the court like a little insect (I would pay to see Fox do one circuit of a basketball court now!!!!! Is that P.C? Who cares!). And how cool is that keg party! Parties when I was a teenager consisted of frigid girls, Super Strongbow and neighbours calling the police.

So okay, the climax at the District Basketball Championships is totally predictable and largely consists of MJF doing hookshots to the tune of ‘Wiiiiiiiiiiiin in the End’ by Mark Safan, but there’s something special there. I think they should play this film during Middle East peace negotiations for its ability to spread a tingle through even the coldest of hearts.

Incidentally, at the end, when everyone in the bleachers goes to congratulate Scott, look to the left of the screen and you will see a guy in a red sweater doing up his fly.

Don’t touch Teen Wolf Too, although it might be worth a look just to see that Chubby's heart made it through to the sequel .

And finally, did you know that there is a U.S porn star called Michael J. Coxx? Whatta name!!!!!
Reviewer: Phil Michaels

 

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Rod Daniel  ( - )

American director who has worked mostly in mainstream TV, but did direct two of the 1980s’ most popular comedies, Teen Wolf and K-9, as well The Super with Joe Pesci and Beethoven’s 2nd.

 
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