The Carl Reiner-directed 1987 teen flick with Mark Harmon as an unlikely teacher with a lovable band of delinquent students comes to DVD in a special “Life’s A Beach” edition.
In Summer School, high school gym teacher Freddy Shoop (Mark Harmon) must abandon his Hawaiian vacation plans when the menacing vice principal (Robin Thomas) forces him to teach an English class to failing delinquents during summer recess.
Shoop’s tenure is riding on getting this reluctant band of kids who’d rather be surfing, sleeping, or watching horror movies to pass their exam. To get the students to take their studies seriously, Shoop makes a bargain with them: They attempt to pass and he’ll grant each of them one wish: giving driving lessons to the dyslexic girl; placing a bed in the classroom for a student who has a real good reason for being tired; acting as a lamaze partner; and throwing a house party for his class.
A pre-Cheers Kirstie Alley plays Shoop’s love interest Ms. Bishop, a fellow teacher who helps Shoop in his endeavor.
The students, while unruly and sex-obsessed, have heart and quickly become lovable, especially the two horror-movie-obsessed Iron Maiden-shirt-wearing buddies Chainsaw and Dave. The duo write a report on their hero, make-up artist and creature creator Rick Baker, and even get Shoop to arrange an in-class screening of their favorite movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And it’s really Chainsaw and Dave and their talents with latex that provide some of the greatest scenes in the movie.
This Carl Reiner-directed 1987 comedy stands out amongst the vast selection of typical 80s teen sex-romp flicks of the era and is still relevant and enjoyable 20 years later (can’t say that about Weekend at Bernie’s now, can ya?).
Look for Reiner’s cameo at the beginning of the movie as the lottery-winning teacher who Shoop has to replace. Dig the musical score done by one Danny Elfman back when he was more Oingo Boingo than Nightmare Before Christmas (listen for his tune “Happy”) and rock out to the triumphant sounds of Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily — you’ll remember her distinctive voice belting out “I’d be better off dead than to live without you” from the dance scene in John Cusack comedy Better Off Dead.
Special Edition DVD Extras
- Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Commentary by director Carl Reiner and star Mark Harmon
- Inside the Teacher’s Lounge (interview segment)
- Summer school yearbook
- Original theatrical trailer
- Photo gallery