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||IMDB Rating: 7.1/10 from votes
||Release: 9 October 1987 (USA) /
||Director: Richard Christian Matheson,
||Stars: Annie Ryan, Casey Siemaszko, Charles Macaulay, Guy Massey, Jeffrey Tambor, John P. Ryan, Jonathan Wise, Liza Morrow, Mike Jolly, Mitch Pileggi, Philip Baker Hall, Richard Tyson, Scott Schutzman Tiler, Stacey Glick, Theron Read
||Synopsis: A high school nerd, Jerry Mitchell (Siemaszko) is assigned to write a piece for the school paper about new boy Buddy Revell (Tyson), who is rumored to be a psychopathic nutcase. When Jerry accidentally touches Buddy, he says that they must fight in the parking lot at 3pm. Jerry will just about do anything to avoid the confrontation. Written by Corey Semple (AdamSandlers8SexyNights)
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3 O'Clock High is a wonderful film. It bears little resemblance to the
80's teen archetypes, such as _Fast Times at Ridgemond High_ or the
Hughes films, excellent as those films may be. 3 O'Clock is purely
plot-based; a sensitive view of teenage angst can be found elsewhere.
The basic plot: Jerry Mitchell, everyman adolescent, manages to get
himself into an after-school fight with the school psychopath Buddy
Revell by 8:00 am, and spends the next 7 hours contriving every scheme
to escape the certain flogging which awaits him at 3pm. The film opens
with a clicking alarm clock (peculiar for an electric clock) and ends
with an image of the school clock; in between, clock dials, and class
bells serve as symbolic death watch beetles.
Jerry's gradual disintegration amongst his friends, the school
administration, and the school store manager as well as his physical
and moral decline as the day wears on is very amusing.
What's memorable about the film is its radical cinematography which we
presume is the contribution of long-time Coen collaborator
cinematographer Barry Sonenfeld. Extreme wide-angle shots, and a clever
technique of high-speed crane shots make for a very distinctive look
(which I have never seen duplicated). While clever technique this could
create a ponderous over-theatrical look (like some of Spielberg's 80's
work as viewed today) or a vapid MTV look, Joanou uses the showy
technique to great effect and the film looks as fresh today as it did
nearly 20 years ago.
The enigmatic Buddy Revell is a wonderful creation, masterfully
introduced by a continuous moving shot following, in succession, three
sets of exchanges between students recounting Buddy's legendary
reputation for psychotic violence. The roving camera threads through
each group of students as deftly as if in a Fellini film, (at the risk
of being bombastic).
As well as a sharp plot and dialog, and an innovative technique and
excellent production values, the assembled cast is uniformly superb.
Casey Siemaszko is perfect for the role, and Richard Tyson gives an
absolutely straight interpretation of Buddy Revell. Seconday roles are
played by character actors Jeffrey Tambor, John P. Ryan, Mitch Pileggi
In conclusion, you know it's a special film because so many of the
images and the dialog stick in one's mind. The cheerleaders tearing
apart the effigy and skull as the horrified Jerry watches, the library
shelves toppling like dominoes to reveal Jerry and Vince cowering in
the corner, all of the scenes with "The Duker", the Dean of
Discipline's dungeon of an office, the educational 8mm insect film, the
sinister retelling of the Iliad, Jerry frantically attempting to break
open a cash register using a world globe and fire extinguisher.
The film probably didn't make it big because no big names were
connected to it. Joanou would go on to do a curiously unrelated string
of projects, some music videos, television documentaries, and even
sitcom work. He did do another mainstream film _State of Grace_ (1990)
with Sean Penn, another excellent and underrated film.
Tags for Three O'Clock High Full Movie
, Casey Siemaszko
, Charles Macaulay
, Guy Massey
, Jeffrey Tambor
, John P. Ryan
, Jonathan Wise
, Liza Morrow
, Mike Jolly
, Mitch Pileggi
, Philip Baker Hall
, Richard Tyson
, Scott Schutzman Tiler
, Stacey Glick
, Theron Read
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