Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Kenny and Company
Genres: Comedy, Drama
A few days in the life of this boy will have you reliving your childhood. Sit back and enjoy a slushie while Kenny endures the normal highs and lows of boyhood: prank phone calls, Halloween, bullies, cherry bombs, first ... more »
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"Get ready to have a happy day...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...Kenny & Co. are coming your way!" That's the original tagline for the film Kenny & Company (1976). Sounds like something that would have been used to promote one of those Brady Bunch records that came out around the same time, but don't let that put you off from seeing the film, as it's really quite good, probably one of the better movies from the 70's not a lot of people got a chance to see...until now. Produced, written, and directed by Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, The Beastmaster, Bubba Nosferatu), the film features the debut of Dan McCann, in his one and only film. Also appearing is A. Michael Baldwin (Phantasm), Jeff Roth, and Reggie Bannister (Phantasm, Wishmaster), among others.
The film opens during a game of flag football as we meet the principle players in Kenny (McCann) and his best friend Doug (Baldwin). The story is not so much laid out like that in a typical film, as there's not much of a plot, but mainly relates a series of occurrences taking place in the four days leading up to one of the most anticipated events in a child's life in that of Halloween. It's a world of soap box racers, banana seat bicycles, skateboards, cherry bombs, pranks, homemade Halloween costumes, bullies, first crushes, pellet guns, and so on...the film takes place in what appears to be southern California, but if you grew up in the 70's, you'll probably find a lot you can relate to, that is if you weren't that unlucky boy in the bubble (I think his name was John Travolta). If you didn't, there will be specifics in here may seem strange or odd, but many of the overall themes are universal enough to appeal to any generation (friendship, sticking together, standing up to bullies, etc).
Okay, first of all I think this is the first film I've seen where someone has actually had their underwear completely removed in the process of receiving a wedgie (also known as a Grundy, undie grundy, or, in severe cases, an atomic wedgie, as illustrated in an episode of Seinfeld), which is, in case you are unfamiliar, `An upwards pulling of the underwear from the back, usually given by a bully. The victim might then be hung by the underwear from a fence or a hooking device of some sort.' The victim here was a kid named Sherman (Roth), the small, runty, whiney, often annoying, tagalong kid usually found in every neighborhood, along with the bully who actually administered said wedgie...you know the kid...he's the one who's probably been left back a few grades, suffers from a hyperactive thyroid (causing the appearance of a few tufts of course hair to appear on his upper lip which he cultivates to no end), and is dumb as a brick, but rules the neighborhood with a iron fist. Other characters in the film you might recognize from real life is the class spaz (here he's called Pudwell) and the cool teacher, played by Bannister...there's also that creepy house, the one with the crazy old lady/man, the one very few dare to venture near for fear of imminent death. Some of my favorite scenes in the film...Paco, the little foreign exchange student, who doesn't speak a lick of English, learns a new word...M-80 under the trashcan...Sherman's theory on how babies are made (involves getting a pill from the drugstore)...check out the scene where the kid in class is working on the biggest spitball I've ever seen...I think when it gets to that point, its no longer classified as a spitball but a spitwad...probably my most favorite scene was near the end, during Kenny's showdown with the bully...Kenny is being chased down the street by the bully, and behind them is a large group of kids from the school...watch what Doug does to the bully's lackey...one of the things that impressed me about this film was the actors playing the characters felt really genuine and uncontrived. Even the adults portrayed weren't done so in an over the top or unrealistic manner (especially the parents) adding a sense of credibility. A great example is the scenes with Bob, the elderly, sickly family dog. While watching the film you know there's going to be a point where he has to be dealt with, and it did come, but it wasn't played up for schmaltz and sentiment, but rather kept personal an intimate, as would be in real life. Sure, there were some fantastical elements in the film, and to have everything that happened in the film occur in the span of four days may be unrealistic, but it didn't matter much as Coscarelli seems to have taken a great dealt from his own experiences and relayed them in this story. There was one aspect that annoyed me a little in that some of the scenes were shot with a diffuser lens, causing the picture to appear a little hazy (like someone smeared Vaseline on the lens). This seems a prevalent technique used in the mid to late 70's but not so much anymore (thankfully). The one film I've seen it work well on was Summer of '42 and even then I thought it was slightly overused. The music used in this film was very good, although it did get repetitive after awhile, but I won't belabor the point since this was a very low budget production, and it's understandable to loop the music and reuse it rather than to pay someone to score the entire film. These are two entirely minor points (both purely my own opinion), and shouldn't cause one to avoid the film.
I don't know where Anchor Bay Entertainment dug this film up from, but they deserve a lot of credit for focusing on and releasing those films that might otherwise never be heard from again (is Night of the Comet in the not so distant future?)...and not only do they find them and release them to DVD, but they try to find the very best copy they can (sometimes through restorative efforts), as exhibited here. The widescreen (1.85:1) print on this DVD looks beautiful, and the re-mastered Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track comes through very clear. Special features include TV spots (which exhibits the difficulties in the studios ability to know how to promote the film), a Don Coscarelli bio, a recently made featurette titled `The Story of Kenny' (12 mins), and an audio commentary track featuring the director Coscarelli, associate producer Paul Pepperman, and actor A. Michael Baldwin. Also included is a reproduction of an original movie poster for the film on an insert in the DVD case, with the flipside displaying the chapter stops. Someone mentioned the artwork on the DVD case, and it is definately funky, but it is also in keeping with the times...big-headed caricatures were extremely popular back in the mid 70s...heck, I still have mine...it features my head on a wee body riding a big wheel.
Kenny will be your pal forever
ChefBum | Fremont,, CA United States | 07/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I vaguely remember catching a very cool movie about kids and skateboards doing all the fun things that I was doing at the time, growing up in Northern California. I was probably about nine years old, and the movie made a big impression on me... big enough that I managed to remember the title for almost thirty years and to catch "Kenny and Company" when it was finally released on DVD recently by Anchor Bay.
First off, kudos to Anchor Bay for releasing so many lost gems like this one.
After having only viewed the movie once, many years ago as a child, frankly I wasn't expecting a whole lot out of this movie the second time around as an adult. WOW-- was I in for a special, pleasant surprise.
Kenny and Company is a movie that will always be very close to my heart. Basically, it deals with a 12-year old boy and his growing up in suburban southern California. It is a loving and loveable ode to the wonder and pure excitement of being a kid learning about life.
I know of no other movie that comes close to capturing the spirit of a young boy. The casting is flawless, and all the child actors are superb. I believe Coscarelli's use of narration is done with great effect. The movie is well-paced, and casts a wonderful light on a very special time in life for most boys.
Don McCann plays Kenny, and he is perfectly cast as the wide-eyed, all American mischievous boy. He has a good heart and it shows. His best friend Greg, played by Michael Baldwin, is that same kid that all of us knew when we were growing up... bold, mischievous, smart, and good at everything. He was the kid that we envied a little because he was so good at everything, but he was also a good friend.
And anyone who has ever had a beloved family dog when they were growing up will be touched by this film.
If you are expecting eye-catching special effects or unbelievable thrills in the vein of 'Phantasm', look elsewhere. If you want a period film that perfectly captures the 70's and growing up in suburban California, this is THE film for you.
Oh, and though it is dated, I think that the soundtrack on this movie is PERFECT!"
DVD rescues another forgotten movie
N. P. Stathoulopoulos | Brooklyn, NY | 05/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first film by Phantasm auteur Don Coscarelli, and it's been totally impossible to find for far too long now.
This is a look at young, coming-of-age kids in a suburb where we find everything from bullies to Halloween pranks to asking why people die and where they go.
There is a completely unpretensious, touching quality to the work here, the way Coscarelli treats his appropriately-aged stars. No overaged kids here playing their younger selves; the cast is believable, and despite the age of the film, it touches on all levels as a portrait of that confusing time at the eve of adolescence.
Prayers have been answered by anyone who ever caught this film (usually on TV ages ago) with this DVD release, which is long overdue. While Coscarelli is best known for his original horror flick Phantasm and all of its sequels, this film hints at the childhood-trauma angle he played up in the first Phantasm (loss of brother and strange occurences) while being realistic and not overly sentimental like larger-budget productions. A gem. Highly recommended."
Nice early film from director (and legend) Don Coscarelli.
T. M Rogers | Az United States | 07/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being a HUGE Phantasm fan, I was curious to see this "lost" film that I had heard about but couldn't locate. I was 8 years old when the movie takes place, so I could relate to a lot of what these 12 year olds were going through. I would call this movie a nice little time capsule of the late 70's. I met Mr Coscarelli at a screening of his most recent film, Bubba Ho Tep and he couldn't have been a nicer guy. I also think he is a much better director than many of those making 5 times his salary. Coscarelli manages to take small budgets make them look quite large. As much as I enjoyed Evil Dead II, I have always felt that Mr Coscarelli is twice the talent that Sam Raimi ever was (as most know, Raimi went on to direct BOTH 100 million dollar+ budgeted Spider-Man movies). Even (LOTR trilogy director) Peter Jackson's early work was rather sloppy in my opinion. Coscarelli has the perfect "eye" needed as a director. He had it from day one and this movie is further proof of that. Personal rants aside, this film is about childhood and growing up. Nothing more, nothing less. A good first film that any director could be proud of."