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Private School (1983)

It's my personal opinon that the 1980's showcased some of the more memorable films of any decade.  George Lucas and Steven Spielberg alone brought us over half a dozen films that we've all seen dozens of times and never get tired of.  So while the 1980's brought us the Star Wars sequels, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future (films that will never be matched in overall awesomeness) the 1980's was also birth and the peak of the teenage comedy, films like Bachelor Party, Porky's, Screwballs, and Private School.

Private School takes place at an all girls private school and features Christine (Phoebe Cates) and Jordan (Betsy Russell), as rivals in the main story.  Christine is going steady with Jim (a student in the nearby boys school), and Jordan is extremely jealous of her and she'll do anything she can to break them up because she wants Jim all to herself.  Then there's Jim's two perverted friends (mainly Bubba) who spend the entire film doing whatever it takes to see some skin, even if it means dressing in drag and breaking into the girls dormitory. 

Private School is your typical 80's teen hormone comedy, where the story usually focuses on one decent normal relationship and a bunch of other guys simply trying to get lucky.  Lets face it no one watches these films for the story, you're either in it for the supposed humor or you're in it for the ladies.  Although I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the story simply makes no sense.  Why would the hottest, richest girl in school, Jordan, be remotely interested in Jim the nice, okay looking guy whose two best friends are not only complete perverts but also insanely nerdy.  This scenario breaks all the rules of the teen comedy genre because usually it's the average Joe chasing the hottest girl in school, not the other way around!

Personally I'm not a big fan of what I've termed "teen hormone" comedies and haven't seen many of them (including the ones I listed in the intro paragraph), I look at them for what they truly are... trash.  Usually they're made up of a boring, repetitive story, with bad acting and mediocre looking women.  But Private School slightly stands out among the crowd, at least compared to the very few I've seen.  Both Phoebe Cates and Betsy Russell give pretty convincing performances, for this type of low brow film.  While Cates seems to be universally one of the most beloved teen actresses of the 80's (her most memorable scene being in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, a film I don't get the love for), it's Betsy Russell who really steals the show here, and I also find Russell to be much more attractive than the simply cute Cates.  Russell plays the stuck up rich girl perfectly and she would have been great in an 80's version of Mean Girls.  Nearly every scene Russell is in is memorable, simply due to her stunning physique and yes even her acting, it's too bad it's all wasted on a trashy teen flick.

Russell was my main reason for checking out Private School,  I blame Fletch over at Blog Cabins, it was his Ladies of the 80's tournament that kindled my interest, because I'd never seen one of her films before.  Still I won't go as far to actually recommend Private School, simply because of the type of low brow film it is, and the fact that it has nothing to offer in the way of useful entertainment.  But as a teen comedy you essentially know what your going to be getting, and in comparison to the few I've suffered through (Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and Mischief are the two that come to mind) this one was by far superior, but in the end it's still shallow trash, but trash in which Betsy Russell stands out as the lone diamond.



  1. Its weird to think that prior to the later 'Saw' movies, Besty Russel was a star! Personally, Phoebe Cates is a preference - just because of Gremlins.


  2. Ha! I saw the title of this flick as a post for you and thought "Cool - I just featured Russell!" And here you done watched the movie in part because of the tourney. Awesome! I desperately need to do the same, for, uh, research purposes.

    I don't think Russell was in the first Saw, in which case I don't think I've seen a single one of her films (not that there's a lot of A-list material out there outside of the Saws).

    You must really not like Fast Times, eh? It's got it's slow moments (the JJL-nerdy guy plot that takes up way too much of the film), but most consider it a classic. Judge Reinhold and, of course, Penn, are spectacular in it.

  3. @Fletch - yea my review for Ridgemont was pretty short of blunt.

    I had heard of Russell prior to you having her in the competition and was planning to check out a couple of her films but I kinda forgot about it, so you helped remind me. I actaully picked up a couple of her films off Netflix and found a few other hard to find ones so I'll have a few more of her films to review in the future.

  4. heres a clip i found on youtube


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