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Retro-review: Escaping the bully at 'Three O'Clock High'

TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: My ongoing search for great villains of the '80s led me this weekend to rediscover 1987's Three O'Clock High, starring Casey Siemaszko and Richard Tyson. Directed by Phil Joanou.

THE PLOT: Nerdy Jerry Mitchell (Siemaszko) is assigned to write a piece for the school newspaper about new kid -- Buddy Revell (Tyson), a brickhouse who's rumored to be a psychopathic nutcase. When Jerry accidentally brushes up again Buddy, he's challenged to a fight in the school parking lot ... at 3 o'clock sharp.

MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: Steven Spielberg was the executive producer, but he asked to have his name removed from the credits.

SURELY YOU DIDN'T FORGET: Jeffrey Tambor makes one of his first film appearances in this movie, as a teacher and sponsor of the school store. (Tambor and Tyson would work again in the 1998's There's Something About Mary.)

THE TUNES: Unlike many high school movies of the '80s, the soundtrack doesn't feature songs of the era. Rather it's an instrumental score performed by Tangerine Dream.

WHAT CRITICS SAID: "The most interesting character is the bully. In a 1980 movie named My Bodyguard, a character like this was turned into the hero's best friend because both kids learned to communicate. This time, not a chance." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

WHY WE STILL LOVE IT: Tyson plays the scariest bully that anyone could possibly dream up. Without saying a word, Buddy Revell's dispassionate stare and curled lip makes himself a villain for the ages.


5. "Don't f--- this up, Mitchell!"

4. "Pain is temporary, film is forever."

3. "You know what Mitchell? You're the biggest p---y I've ever seen in my life. Didn't even try. How does that feel?"

2. "Nobody escapes from the Duker!"

1. "You and me, we're gonna have a fight. Today. After school. Three o'clock. In the parking lot. You try and run, I'm gonna track you down. You go to a teacher, it's only gonna get worse. You sneak home, I'm gonna be under your bed."

Posted by Steve Spears at 3:06:07 am on May 17, 2011