Not nearly as raunchy as some of the other teen exploitation films that came out around the same time, Summer School is a feel-good movie in which all the characters are clueless, but also kind of likeable for some inexpli... more »cable reason. Mark Harmon stars as Freddy Shoop, a lazy physical education instructor who is forced by his nemesis (aka The Principal) to teach summer school. He's not lucky enough to get the overachiever kids who attend summer school because they want to; Shoop gets the students who have to attend because they've failed. As you might expect, his class is full of lazy losers who don't think of summer school as real school. Actually, Shoop kind of agrees with them. He's not as irresponsible as he would have them believe, although he's not above bribing them to do their best. Released theatrically in 1987, the film stars a very young Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place, According to Jim) as one of the students. And Kirstie Alley (Cheers) appears as Shoop's love interest. Directed by Carl Reiner, Summer School has an almost innocent feel. It's the silly movie trying to pass itself off as naughty, but really it's not. Summer School was released before filmmakers knew they needed to save good outtakes and bloopers for DVDs, so the special features aren't all that special. The most appealing is footage of some of the cast members while the film was being shot. But if you're curious about listening to the audio commentary offered by Harmon and Reiner, take a pass. Though both men are charming on talk shows, neither is particularly insightful here. --Jae-Ha Kim« less
Ronda L. from WEAVERVILLE, NC Reviewed on 3/18/2011...
Love this movie!!! Two thumbs up dude!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Thomas Magnum | NJ, USA | 06/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1987's Summer School is an underrated comedy from the 80's. The plot revolves around reluctant summer school teacher, Freddy Shoop (Mark Harmon), who is forced into the job after the original teacher hits the lottery. Shoop is a gym teacher and he must deal with a classroom full of typical high school misfits. Throughout the summer, Shoop's unconventional teaching methods get him trouble with the school's vice principal, but wins over the kids. The film is carried by the immensely likable cast. Mr. Harmon reactions to the student's quirks and miscues are perfectly timed and the students provide genuine laughs. Dean Cameron & Gary Riley are hilarious as shock meisters Chainsaw and Dave, Richard Steven Horowitz plays the perfect geek as Alan Eakain and a young Courtney Thorne-Smith is alluring as Pam House who develops a big time thing for Shoop. Kirstie Alley shows up as a love interest for Shoop. Summer School is a great, lightweight movie that is small on plot, but big on laughs and fun."
Great film, but a disappointing double-dip DVD release.
Dymon Enlow | 04/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everybody knows SUMMER SCHOOL is an 80's classic, so I'll skip the review and tell you what the "Life's a Beach Edition" features are.
A 2.35:1 widescreen transfer compared to the original DVD's 1.78:1, a trailer, a stills gallery, a boring audio commentary with director Carl Reiner and Mark Harmon and two short featurettes.
The first featurette: "Inside the Teachers Lounge" (14 min.) stars writer Jeff Franklin, director Carl Reiner and cast members Mark Harmon, Patrick Labyorteaux, Robin Thomas, Dean Cameron, and Ken Olandt. The second is "Summer School Yearbook" (10 min.) has some interview clips of the cast. Nothing deep or profound...it's only 10 minutes long.
Is it worth buying if you already have the original DVD? Not really.
Also what's up with the misleading "bikini xing" cover art? The movie's rated PG-13."
Dymon Enlow | 01/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Summer School is by far one of my all-time favorite movies to watch. You can never get bored with it, I must have watched it 200 times or more. The movie is all about a high school gym teacher (Mark Harmon) Freddy Shoop who is forced to teach remedial English class in summer school to a group of social misfits. Shoop has no idea how to teach and instead of hitting the books, they hit the amusement parks, beaches, petting zoos, amongst other places. His students include: Chainsaw & Dave who are obssessed with horror movies and play pranks on the vice president. Larry who sleeps in class throughout the entire movie. Pam who has a crush on her teacher Mr. Shoop. Jerome Watkins who spends 9 weeks in the bathroom because his zipper got stuck! Allen Ekian who is your basic "geek/nerd". Ronda who is pregnant and doesn't know who the father is. Denise Green who is trying to get her drivers license but is a terrible driver to say the least! In order for Shoop to get his students to learn he has to bribe them! Chainsaw & Dave get to have a party at shoops house on the 4th of July, a ride to and from work, plus a in school screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. Larry gets his own bed in the classroom. Pam "needs a place to stay" and gets to move in with Mr. Shoop. Mr. Shoop has to become Ronda's Lamoz coach. He has to give Denise driving lessons. And Mr. Shoop has to be Kevin's "tackling dummy" in case he makes it back on the football team. It's hard to explain in words how funny this movie is, you'll just have to see it for yourself!"
"Happy that the world is upside down"
thecableguy | 02/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Summer School" surprised a lot of critics by bringing something new to a genre most people had already had enough of by the time of its release (1987). With a spunky screenplay and Carl Reiner's gift for comedic timing, the film fills in a gap neglected by the majority of the decade's other high school pics, whose styles were polarized between the rebellious, goofy sexcapades found in John Hughes' brat pack series, and more "mature," galvanizing films like "Stand and Deliver."
"Summer School" begins with Danny Elfman's song "Happy" playing as the clock counts down and students prepare for summer. Reiner himself portrays usual summer teacher, Mr. Dearadorian, who happens to win fifty thousand dollars in a scratch off lottery just as the last bell rings. His boss, Vice Principal Phil Gills (Robin Thomas) tries to tell him there is no Island, but he quits anyway.
Gills approaches Freddy Shoop (Mark Harmon), a gym teacher who is ready to spend the summer in Hawaii with his girlfriend -- "We got leis on and everything." Gills threatens his tenure, so he decides to stay. Shoop tries to get his girlfriend to stay by quoting "There's no place like home." She says she understands and will just go without him.
Mr. Shoop's class is made up of group of slackers and misfits who for a variety of reasons failed the English skills test required to graduate.
There are: Dave and Chainsaw, an inseparable pair, one is obsessed with Chainsaw, the other with the film, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"; There's Alan, the black-sheep of a genius family; Anna Maria, a buxom foreign exchange student brushing up on her English skills; Pam House, a spaced-out surfer girl with a thing for Mr. Shoop (I think it's funny the DVD's "Set-up" menu features a picture of her); Kevin, a football player kicked off the team for "being stupid"; Jerome, who spends most of the film in the bathroom; Rhonda, who is pregnant with either Sean Penn or David Lee Roth's child, Denise, a bad driver who suffers from dyslexia, and Larry who sleeps all the time because of his night job.
At first Shoop doesn't take his job seriously and takes the class on field trips to the beach, go-kart races, and theme parks. Then Dave and Chainsaw almost get arrested for drinking on the beach. Mr. Shoop says the booze was his, and gets arrested. Gills tries to fire him, but Dave and Chainsaw put on a Grand Guignol classroom show that scares away the replacement teacher, and the students demand Shoop returns. I'm probably revealing too much plot info here, but I mainly just wanted to note the blood and guts classroom scene doesn't seem as funny now in wake of all the school shootings. Though I know if I hadn't have made splatter films in high school I probably would've blown up the school, so maybe the film will help some people.
Anyway, Shoop seeks the aid of Robin Bishop (Kirstie Alley), who is teaching honor students who are spending their summer voluntarily in a classroom nearby. He likes her. She eventually likes him, even though she's seeing Gills.
Everything turns out okay in the end as you'd expect from this type of film; what's different is that there aren't any real bad guys, just a lot of miscommunication. Gills is presented in the worst light, but even he is spared the humiliation that similar characters in this genre of films usually receive (Ferris Bueller's Ed Rooney for example.) Here, Gills just loses the girl because he's intolerant and inflexible. Shoop and his students learn how to adapt.
Before "Summer School," I always resented Harmon for ruining the TV show "Moonlighting," but now I realize it's probably due more to the show's creators having a brain freeze after David and Maddie said two dirty words and finally slept together. "Summer School" was Harmon's first role after his "Moonlighting" appearances, and it's probably his most memorable and endearing (unless you like Ted Bundy).
There are a few dated references -- for instance, Dave and Chainsaw sing Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time" and Rhonda mentions Sean Penn's marriage to Madonna -- but the film should still entertain audiences young and old - it even includes an homage to "From Here to the Eternity," with Shoop and Robin kissing on the beach, joined by Shoop's dog, Wondermutt, and his favorite toy, a stuffed doll's head named Bob."
Really captures the 80's!!
thecableguy | 02/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mark Harmon at his absolute best. This is a movie that will remind you of the good times you had in the 80's if you were fortunate enough to live them. This is a movie that doesn't take itself seriously and it looked as if the cast had a great time filming it. Paramount needs to release this on DVD ASAP!!!"