Seriously. Who the fuck remembers “E.T.”? A couple of years ago, I talked the owners of a local tavern into letting me screen Mark Lester’s mindblowing “Class Of 1984” as part of a makeshift birthday party/film festival. “Who doesn’t want to see Michael J. Fox get stabbed?” I asked, though as it turned out, attention spans amongst my friends were running low, the volume on the bar’s TV was lower, or perhaps Michael J. Fox wasn’t stabbed nearly enough times. Either way, this film remains an all-time favorite of mine, and if it couldn’t be part of a holiday tradition for me, perhaps it will become one for you.
There’s much to recommend about “Class Of 1984” ; the ferocious, self-righteous over-acting of Perry King as concerned educator Andrew Norris ; Timothy Van Patten (son of dog-food magnate Dick, “Salami” from the equally brilliant “The White Shadow” and in more recent years, a key, behind-the-scenes contributor to “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire”) as faux-punk gangleader Stegman ; Roddy McDowell as an increasingly cynical science teacher who ultimately turns a gun on his teenage tormentors ; a musical cameo from Teenage Head, essentially giving away the film’s Toronto location. But why listen to me? If I celebrated Xmas and/or hadn’t already purchased a copy, I’d be asking Satan Santa for the newly published “Destroy All Movies!” (Fantagraphics Books), in which the amazing tome’s co-author, Zack Carlson, hails “Class Of 1984” as “just a perfect exploitation movie.”
“Originally slapped with an X rating, it’s relentlessly seedy, overflowing with assault, suicide, racism, grimy sex, drug use and crime crime crime, all of which is perpetrated by minors! Exaggerated or not, the gang practically wrote the textbook for countless delinquent groups that would terrorize big-screen high schools through the 80’s and beyond. There’s a consistent, pervasive air of innocent helplessness and leather-clad heartlessness that makes this movie the flat-out best in its genre.”