All Star Cast! All-Out Fun! High School U.S.A.

High School U.S.A.
1983 | Color | 1 Hr 35 Min | Comedy | TV-G | NBC

Director: Rod Amateau

Writers: Alan Eisenstock, Larry Mintz

Michael J. Fox
Nancy McKeon
Todd Bridges 

The film focuses on the intrigue inside Excelsior Union High School. Michael J. Fox plays J.J. Manners, who becomes enamored with Beth Franklin (Nancy McKeon), the girlfriend of Beau Middleton (Anthony Edwards), the class president and quarterback. Middleton is also the richest student and drives around in a brand-new convertible.

The core story involves Manners and Middleton competing for the affections of Beth. You know a Geek vs Jock scenario. Ultimately this rivalry culminates in a drag race between the two. The result of the race tips the balance and changes the face of the dynamics within the school irrevocably.

From the Bob Cummings Show to Dukes of Hazard director Rod Amateau is more than ready to weave a story of High School misfits taking on the popular kids the big question here after  35 years will the comedy still hold up? With all of TV's big names and a so/so plot, the sad answer is no. I remember really liking this as a kid but then again anything Dana Plano was in had me in front of the tube. 

As a child how could you not watch High School USA with all its stars from all the great tv shows at the time? And your parents were willing to watch as we due to all the past stars of the small screen playing the teachers. Although you would think Michael J. Fox would be the star for me Crispin Glover stole the show. And sadly my sweetheart Dana Plano was only in it briefly.

The one thing really lacking is the nostalgia as High School USA did not take me back to the 80's at all. The set pieces where pretty lame the music not really there even for a made for TV movie leading to a look and feel that falls flat. As a side storyline, Todd Bridges is a genius who has created a robot that he believes to be capable of going into space. Crispin Glover plays Archie Feld, a socially-impaired boy nervous about interacting with girls. And, Beau Middleton's father has created an incentive for the teachers by offering a sizable reward for the best teacher. Subsequently, the teachers focus extra effort on impressing Beau with their worthiness of the reward. All this still falls short of entering. Even the race at the end was boring.

Man the 13-year-old in me is so bummed that this did not hold up! Although I think the pickup lines from HSU are some I still use today, thank you, Mr. Fox. If you remember Square Pegs, Different Strokes, or Leave it to Beaver it is a fun road trip that the pay off falls short but still worth the time and effort just to see your childhood stars all in one place.

2 Childhood Stars out of 5


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