Rodney Dangerfield (Caddyshack, Meet Wally Sparks) makes the grade with this laugh-riot comedy that's in a class of its own! Higher education will never be the same when co-stars Sally Kellerman, Robert Downey, Jr., Sam Ki... more »nison, Ned Beatty and more join the maniac as he takes on the brainiacs! Thornton Melon's (Dangerfield) son is a college misfit, so Thornton's lending some fatherly support...by enrolling as a fellow freshman! Who cares if the owner of the "Tall and Fat" clothing empire never finished high school? Thornton's pockets are deep enough to buy a ticket to class...and hire NASA to do his homework! But when he ticks off his professorand then steals his girlfriendThornton takes things just a little too far. Now, he'll have to hit the booksinstead of his bank accountor go back to being the world's wealthiest dropout! "Dangerfield is sensational" (The Hollywood Reporter) in this howlingly funny comedy that scores an A+!« less
Bryan L. (50kmwalk) from PT REYES STA, CA Reviewed on 3/6/2012...
As others have said this is Rodney Dangerfields best comedy and I heartily agree. It has some great one liners and its the perfect vehicle for Rodney to mock everyone he comes in contact with in the movie including Kurt Vonnegut! What's also nice about this movie is the relationship Rodney has with his son throughout the film. When things aren't going well at College for his son he decides to go help him out by enrolling--ergo "Back to School". Rodney it turns out is the Dad we all would have wanted to have; loving, loaded, and a total goofball. Adrienne Barbeau plays Rodney's Wife at the start of the movie and the scenes where Rodney just tears up her rich, snooty friends before they divorce, are priceless. I roll this film out about every 5 years or so to watch and it just gets funnier and sweeter with time. Rodney Dangerfield was a hoot!
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Funny, but make sure you get the NEWER DVD release!
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After his appearance on Leno recently, it seems Rodney Dangerfield is losing his touch due to age and his admitted pot smoking. He still had it in Back to School, however. This has always been a good way to spend 90 minutes or so to get some laughs. Along with Caddyshack and Easy Money, it's his best work.Be careful of which DVD version you buy. There are two floating around out there and they both look the same until you make a close inspection of the back cover. MGM quietly slipped this new transfer out there with the same cover without as much as a peep. The original copy was non-anamorphic widescreen and was a poor transfer with some framing issues. The new one is a great improvement with anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Surround Sound. You have to look at the bottom left of the back cover. You will see 16:9 Widescreen 1.85:1 versus the old one which did not have the '16:9' printed above the word Widescreen. The free booklet with the older copy was nice but the new anamorphic transfer and 5.1 trump the importance of the little booklet included in the older DVD release. I don't know why they didn't throw in the old booklet but its importance is negligible. You don't buy DVDs for booklets anyway.One more thing. Always buy DVD releases of films in their OAR(Original Aspect Ratio). Don't buy Fullscreen copies if the movie was originally released in Widescreen to theaters. The only time you should buy (Fullscreen, 1.33:1, 4X3) is if that was the OAR, which is usually only television these days and much older films from the early 50's and beyond. Why would you want to watch a film with the sides chopped off? You'll learn to live with the 'black bars' and realize that you're not losing any picture on the top or bottom."
Farewell, Rodney, You've Graduated At Last
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 10/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the word reaches us that Rodney Dangerfield has died without waking up from his coma, we take this occasion to salute him by viewing one more time his comedy classic, "BACK TO SCHOOL." Adrienne Barbeau is in it, playing a trophy wife of yesteryear, grasping and unfaithful, she's only in it for the money any more. Thornton Melon runs a men's store called, "TALL AND FAT," and I would have liked to see a whole sequel to BACK TO SCHOOL that focussed on the day to day life of running this haberdashery. Anyway he's rich enough to be able to afford to hire Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. to write a term paper for him. Sam Kinison is in the movie too as the history professor--crazy and out of this world! And Sally Kellerman is more subdued than usual playing Diane Turner, the English professor who, in a memorable scene, makes Rodney analyze the meaning of Dylan Thomas' famous poem, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."
Robert Downey Jr is in the movie too, he's always good for a laugh or two. And Keith Gordon plays the son, maybe his best part after the young son of Angie Dickinson in DRESSED TO KILL. But most of all the picture belongs to the one and only Rodney Dangerfield. Rodney, we will miss your attitude and your "I get no respect" whining. You always saw things the way the common man did. We salute you for your tremendous achievements. As Dylan Thomas said,
"And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.""
Rodney's All Time Best Comedy Get's Straight A's!
Mr. | USA | 06/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't you just miss 80's movies like Back To School? A film starring one of the funniest men on the planet (Mr. Rodney Dangerfield) with an ensemble cast of famous names unto themselves, has got to have SMASH MOVIE written all over it, and it does! A simple premise: Thornton Melon (Dangerfield) has become a wealthy millionaire even though he dropped out of high school, and now his son, Jason (Keith Gordon) wants to drop out of college, so in order to keep him from leaving, Thornton decides to go to college too! There are so many hysterical moments I just can't print them all. But some favorites are the big scene with Sam Kinison as the crazed history teacher, Professor Terguson ("Good teacher. He really seems to care. About what I have no idea".), Thornton doing the Triple Lindey swimming dive (with Derek[Robert Downey Jr.]distracting the rival diving team with loud noise and reflecting light to the face), Thornton's rendition of "Twist And Shout" at a local bar, and of course, the party in Thornton's dorm room, with Danny Elfman's band, Oingo Boingo and a killer hot tub, complete with BUBBLES! ("Now that's what I call marine biology".) But a truly winning comedy can't be completely great without heart, which is what this film has. Keith Gordon (John Carpenter's Christine), who is sorely missed in the acting world since he changed his profession to directing, is great as Thornton's son, Jason, who loves his father a lot but feels like Dad's always trying to do too much to make him happy when all he wants to do is live his own life. Terry Farrell (TVs Star Trek: DS9 & Becker) makes a good love interest for him too. I always knew she'd make a name for herself one day. Of course you can't make this sort of film without the bad guys and both father and son have each of their own: William Zabka (who we all should remember as bad boy Johnnie from The Karate Kid) as Chas, the snotty swim diver, and Paxton Whitehead as Philip Barbay, Thornton's economics professor are both out to give our duo a not so sweet time at college. But with Sally Kellerman as the funloving literature teacher, Diane, helping Thornton with reading (and biology) just made things a whole lot more fun. This film has such a great mix of comic chemistry and one-liners that you may miss after the first viewing from laughing so hard. But it's also a movie that just makes you feel good when it's all over.The DVD isn't much on special features, only a trailer, which has a scene not in the film of Thornton and his bodyguard, Lou (Burt Young of the "Rocky" movies as Paulie) looking at a college sex book ("Well, they left out the most important thing...where to get it"). But at least they give you a letterboxed version (1.85:1) as well as a full framed version. But for the asking price, this disc is worth it. Maybe someday they'll get the gang together and make a documentary and audio commentary. Until then get this DVD. I haven't seen the picture look this good in years. The VHS pales in comparison. So, if you're tired of all the bland humor that seems to be coming out of the Hollywood machine these days, go Back To School with Rodney Dangerfield, who will show you just how funny Comedies should be. "Ooh, I'd love to tame your shrew!""
Keith Gordon + College + Rodney Dangerfield = Comedy Classic
Robert J. Schneider | Tacoma, WA USA | 03/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Coming three years after making a big splash with his first-ever starring role, in the 1983 Horror classic CHRISTINE, Keith Gordon returned in this, the 1986 Comedy classic BACK TO SCHOOL, starring one of the most beloved comedians of all time, Rodney Dangerfield. The story actually begins in 1940, where young Thornton Meloni (Jason Hervey, who would become famous two years later as Fred Savage's older brother on the TV show "The Wonder Years") is being exhorted by his immigrant father to stay in school and not to take over his tailoring business. The kid ends up not listening to him and becomes a high school dropout, taking over the business and changing it to a "Tall & Fat Store" while taking the "i" off the end of his last name and making a fortune. The fifty-something adult Thornton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield) is having an awful second marriage to Vanessa (Adrienne Barbeau in full vamp mode), but is proud of his college freshman son Jason (Keith Gordon), whom he thinks is in a popular fraternity and on the school's diving team. Soon after arriving for a surprise visit, however, Jason admits the truth that he's not in a frat, is not popular and is, in fact, the 'towel boy' for the diving team. Jason wants to leave school because it's not going the way he thought it would. The tall, beautiful Valerie (Terry Farrell) won't even notice him, and his roommate and only friend Derek (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a complete weirdo with wild hairstyles that appear to change daily. Rich Dad has an idea: he'll enroll as a freshman himself and that will influence Jason to have a better time and to stay in school!After pulling some strings, including donating a huge sum for a brand-new School of Business (it is, after all, not everyday that a well-respected university will take on a student who never finished high school, even someone as rich as Thornton Melon), fun-loving Thornton proceeds to throw his weight around, changing Jason & Derek's room into a plaza suite (complete with a hot tub), throwing awesome parties and even romancing his English professor (Sally Kellerman), much to the chagrin of her uptight boyfriend, Business professor Phillip Barbay (Paxton Whitehead), who would like nothing better than an excuse to drum the impudent Thornton Melon out of the university! Meanwhile, Thornton uses his considerable influence on Coach Turnbull (M. Emmett Walsh) to let Jason officially join the squad, which upsets the snobby star diver Chas (William Zabka) who suddenly finds himself competing for his girlfriend Terry, who begins to take a liking to Jason. If this all sounds like too much plot for this 96-minute movie, let me just say that BACK TO SCHOOL makes very efficient use of its time (no slow points here), and equally good use of Mr. Dangerfield's comedic talents, that the plot itself is almost secondary to the one-liners Rodney uses in his usual self-deprecating way. Plus, the cameos are real fun, especially Kurt Vonnegut Jr. as himself, being hired to write a paper for Jason about--what else?--Kurt Vonnegut Jr.! The music is very upbeat 80's here (as you would expect for a movie of this type); however, it does mark the film scoring debut for Danny Elfman of Oingo Bongo who appears in the film (as themselves) performing their great classic "Dead Man's Party" (which, incidentally, had been on the soundtrack to WEIRD SCIENCE a year earlier). Even if certain occurrences are patently unbelievable, such as the oral exam scene late in the film, BACK TO SCHOOL is so much fun to watch that it doesn't matter what happens, just as long as Rodney's and Gordon's characters win in the end and make us laugh while doing it. It is of definite interest to us Star Trek fans that Terry Farrell would eventually go on to play Lt. Dax on TV in "Deep Space Nine." Also, watch quickly for a cameo by Robert Picardo (who would join the aforementioned Jason Hervey two years later in "The Wonder Years" playing the dreaded Coach Cutlip, then later on joining Ms. Farrell in the Star Trek series in his wonderful role of the holographic Doctor) as the guy Thornton catches Vanessa fooling around with at a big party. Oh, and Sam Kinison is hilarious in a small role, playing himself as a shell-shocked History professor who never quite came out of Vietnam. Everybody is great in this mid-80's comedy classic. Lastly, you have to love a Rodney Dangerfield movie that features a university dean by the name of Dean Martin (the always-wonderful Ned Beatty). BACK TO SCHOOL really takes us back to school on what a great film comedy should be. Add this one to your DVD library! Even with the lack of a lot of extras, it's still very much worth it.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"