A Movie A Day: THE NEW KIDS (1985)
You want crazy? I’ll show you crazy!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection or from my DVR and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
Today we follow both producer/director Sean S. Cunningham and composer Lalo Schifrin over from yesterday’s A STRANGER IS WATCHING to THE NEW KIDS starring Lori Loughlin, Shannon Presby, James Spader, Eric Stoltz and the great Tom Atkins.
I grew up watching Lori Laughlin on FULL HOUSE and boy did I have a crush on her. I’ve always had a thing for brunettes with almond eyes… I guess it might have been weird, an 8 or 9 year old crushing on Uncle Jesse’s woman, but I also had a thing for Jodi Sweetin on that show, too… and she was my age, so I’m not completely weird.
So it was a special treat to see 21 year old Lori Loughlin (playing a teenager) being cute as hell in this incredibly ‘80s movie.
THE NEW KIDS is another weird bird from Sean S. Cunningham. It’s odd to see these off-kilter movies from him since FRIDAY THE 13TH was so specifically one type of movie. A STRANGER IS WATCHING is kind of a mix between psycho voyeur/stalker and kidnapping crime flick. THE NEW KIDS is teen romance/coming of age/stalker/home invasion movie… but instead of a home, James Spader and his Florida hick gang invade an amusement park where Loughlin lives with her brother (Presby).
The flick opens up with… wait for it… a montage. Tom Atkins plays Loughlin and Presby’s dad, a military hero, who gets up butt-ass early in the morning, waking up his kids to go do some family fun work outs.
In an interesting twist, they love this stuff, gleefully running and attacking punching bags with their dad. In a glorious ‘80s montage.
An immediate disappointment to me is that Tom Atkins dies just after the opening credits. Both the kids’ parents die in a plane crash, causing them to move to Florida with relations that live in a broken down amusement park called Santa Land.
I have an unabashed admiration for Tom Atkins. NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, HALLOWEEN 3, LETHAL WEAPON, MANIAC COP… the dude was the epitome of hard-ass cop for me.
So I was rather upset that he’s knocked off so early on, but I forgive you Sean S. Cunningham. You might have taken Tom Atkins away from me, but you gave me a crazy platinum blond psycho version of James Spader, so I can’t complain. And with that hairstyle he even looks like the asshole frat brother, Brad, from NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, so that’s close enough to Tom Atkins…
But before we move on, I do have to take issue with the opening montage if for no other reason then for how Cunningham shot the running sequences. I love montages, so no worries there, but damn it, dude… It was like JUNO watching Atkins and Presby run in slow motion, watching their schlongs bounce from one side to the other in their sweat pants. I appreciate the montage, but maybe a wardrobe change was in order or less on the slow-mo… or frame up a tad? At least give the guys something to look at, too. Being fair is all I ask… Ms. Loughlin seemed pretty… secure.
Anyhow, the trouble begins with Presby and Loughlin start going to school after the move to Asscrack, Florida. The local band of dipshits, led by Spader (of course) start harassing the poor girl after she turns down his offer to be his date to the school dance.
Being the stereotypical James Spader ‘80s nice guy, he breaks the shit out of their creepy little Santa Land amusement park which is just about ready to open up again and start making their relatives some much-needed money. Things escalate and things get deadly… a blood-thirsty pitbull is brought in and then things culminate in a shotgun fight in the amusement park (no shit).
The relation is (I believe) a crazy uncle played by ‘80s character actor icon Eddie Jones (the Chief in CHUD, INVASION U.S.A., YEAR OF THE DRAGON, THE ROCKETEER, etc) in case you need more ‘80s awesomeness to love in this movie.
It’s also really interesting to see Eric Stoltz in this era, right around the time the whole BACK TO THE FUTURE craziness happened. In this film he is the nice kid, quiet and completely unthreatening love interest for Loughlin. It’s not a good character for Stoltz at all. He has almost no impact on the story. He never stands up to the goons, he doesn’t give us any useful interest… he’s just there to be charming and nice, I guess giving us proof that all Floridians are inbred drug addicted raping shotgun maniacs. Stoltz does imbue the character with a good amount of charisma, he just doesn’t have much to do with it.
Steven Poster, Cunningham’s DoP, shoots this movie oddly. PRETTY IN PINK has more atmosphere. I know it was a conscious decision, but it’s an odd one, especially considering just how damn creepy the halfway broken down Santa Land is even in the day time, with it’s overgrown grounds and little elf mannequins peppering the landscape, I think it was a missed opportunity, especially for the finale where the gloves come off, the shotguns get loaded and a hunting the drugged up prep assholes go.
Final Thoughts: Points are given for decapitation by rollercoaster, creepy nearly albino James Spader, crazy shotgun fight, awesome cursing little kid in overalls, Tom Atkins even for 4 minutes, young Lorie Loughlin with some baby fat still on her bones, creepy pitbull scene, fucking mannequin Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves and overall bizarre tone. Points are taken away for lack of Loughlin nudity (or even sexy underwear… come on, guys), lack of atmosphere and the abundance of jiggling man-bits. That leaves us above average, I think. This movie is supremely ‘80s. To the max as we’d say back in the day. That’s a good thing for me, maybe not for you, but definitely for me. So this one ends with a thumbs up. No matter its faults, it is definitely not a boring movie.
Here are the final run of A Movie A Day titles:
Tuesday, December 30th: SERIAL (1980)
Wednesday, December 31st: THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1970)
Thursday, January 1st: IRMA LA DOUCE (1963)
Friday, January 2nd: THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE (1974)
Saturday, January 3rd: THE GOODBYE GIRL (1977)
Sunday, January 4th: LOST IN YONKERS (1993)
Monday, January 5th: THE SUNSHINE BOYS (1975)
Tuesday, January 6th: CALIFORNIA SUITE (1978)
Wednesday, January 7th: A BRIDGE TOO FAR (1977)
We are slowly approaching our final week of AMAD. The march continues tomorrow with ‘80s cult comedy SERIAL. See you folks tomorrow for that one!
June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did
October 11th: I Spit On Your Grave
October 12th: Naked You Die
October 13th: The Wraith
October 14th: Silent Night, Bloody Night
October 15th: I Bury The Living
October 16th: The Beast Must Die
October 17th: Hellgate
October 18th: He Knows You’re Alone
October 19th: The Thing From Another World
October 20th: The Fall of the House of Usher
October 21st: Audrey Rose
October 22nd: Who Slew Auntie Roo?
October 23rd: Wait Until Dark
October 24th: Dead & Buried
October 25th: A Bucket of Blood
October 26th: The Bloodstained Shadow
October 27th: I, Madman
October 28th: Return to Horror High
October 29th: Die, Monster, Die
October 30th: Epidemic
October 31st: Student Bodies
November 1st: Black Widow
November 2nd: The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
November 3rd: Flying Tigers
November 4th: Executive Action
November 5th: The Busy Body
November 6th: It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World
November 7th: Libeled Lady
November 8th: Up The River
November 9th: Doctor Bull
November 10th: Judge Priest
November 11th: Ten Little Indians
November 12th: Murder On The Orient Express
November 13th: Daniel
November 14th: El Dorado
November 15th: The Gambler
November 16th: Once Upon A Time In America
November 17th: Salvador
November 18th: Best Seller
November 19th: The Holcroft Covenant
November 20th: Birdman of Alcatraz
November 21st: The Train
November 22nd: Gunfight At The O.K. Corral
November 23rd: Mystery Street
November 24th: Border Incident
November 25th: The Tin Star
November 26th: On The Beach
November 27th: Twelve O’Clock High
November 28th: Gentleman’s Agreement
November 29th: Panic In The Streets
November 30th: The Hot Rock
December 1st: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
December 2nd: The Day of the Dolphin
December 3rd: Carnal Knowledge
December 4th: The Cincinnati Kid
December 5th: Pocketful of Miracles
December 6th: Mikey & Nicky
December 7th: Two-Minute Warning
December 8th: The Sentinel
December 9th: How To Steal A Million
December 10th: What’s New Pussycat?
December 11th: Being There
December 17th: The Party
December 18th: Casino Royale
December 19th: The Stranger
December 20th: Brother Orchid
December 21st: The Petrified Forest
December 22nd: Moontide
December 23rd: Notorious
December 24th: The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
December 25th: The High Commissioner
December 26th: The Silent Partner
December 27th: Payday
December 28th: A Stranger Is Watching
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Dec. 30, 2008, 6:34 a.m. CST
That says a lot... I always love how they do that to sell their product: 'from the studio that brought you...' 'from the executive producer of...' etc. Love the column by the way, keep up the good work in 2009!
Dec. 30, 2008, 7:19 a.m. CST
It's even better on WEED!
Dec. 30, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST
It's like the best column on here, but I'm worried that it's going to get whored out. <br><br>Keep cool, Quint.
Dec. 30, 2008, 7:21 a.m. CST
i thought amad was a permanent fixture.
Dec. 30, 2008, 7:21 a.m. CST
I'll say it. What? What you got, sir? Heh.<br><br>I hear 24 starts soon.
Dec. 30, 2008, 7:28 a.m. CST
A bridge too far is the shit.
Dec. 30, 2008, 7:46 a.m. CST
What a great movie!!!
Dec. 30, 2008, 7:51 a.m. CST
You get the back of my hand if you don't. Crazy Spader rules.
Dec. 30, 2008, 8:09 a.m. CST
I'll be following along with this one.
Dec. 30, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST
Oh well... I guess I ought to pay more attention to these things.
Dec. 30, 2008, 8:32 a.m. CST
Dec. 30, 2008, 8:32 a.m. CST
And watch "Murder By Death"
Dec. 30, 2008, 8:59 a.m. CST
by T 1000 xp professional
aunt becky in horror? oh yea it's watched
Dec. 30, 2008, 9:40 a.m. CST
by IndyAbbey Jones
can't say i'm really upset as most of the movies are ones i intentionally will never watch..plus this feature always got me pissed off cause i'd come to the site and have to read though all the AMD posts to get to the real stories<P>still with that said i respect quint for doing it, i personally have a shit load of unwatched movies on my shelf too and if i didn't have a job like quit i'd probabaly do something similar<P>well heres hoping that quint occasionally posts another AMAD..not everyday of course, be he should post these somewhere so that people can read them if they are looking for a movie on a day
Dec. 30, 2008, 9:48 a.m. CST
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:27 a.m. CST
by IndyAbbey Jones
whats wrong with you man?
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:34 a.m. CST
had never heard of it until then
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:37 a.m. CST
by IndyAbbey Jones
hung a poster up never heard of it..cool beans
Dec. 30, 2008, 11:10 a.m. CST
by The Reluctant Austinite
Anyone who hasn't seen "Tuff Turf" should check it out. James Spader, Robert Downey Jr. and a smoking hot Kim Richards (the Witch Mountain girl) star in the most messed up 80s flick ever made. It's kind of like a West Coast version of "The Warriors." James Spader's piano solo of "I Walk the Night" must be seen to be believed.
Dec. 30, 2008, 12:21 p.m. CST
Any one know what movie I'm talking about? It's tone is like New Kids but a school of kids get captured by these goons in masks and have to escape. I remember it being pretty wild back in the day...
Dec. 30, 2008, 1:20 p.m. CST
a naked or near-naked Lori Loughlin out there? I had that crush too.
Dec. 30, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST
That's the movie you are thinking of. It took me a minute to remember her name, then off to imdb and there you go. Good movie that was.
Dec. 30, 2008, 3:25 p.m. CST
...But the Ultimate 80's teen violent flick, in my humble opinion, is "The Class of 1984", which has Roddy McDowell and a young Michael J. Fox in it. Not a great movie, but classic 80's. <p> I will say a "Tuff Turf", "Class or 1984" and "The New Kids" is a pretty craptacular 80's triple feature.
Dec. 30, 2008, 3:33 p.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
the man always does great work, no matter what his role.
Dec. 30, 2008, 4:26 p.m. CST
I need to check Fortress again. I remember it being pretty f-ed up. But then again, maybe that was b/c I was ten.
Dec. 30, 2008, 6:16 p.m. CST
Awesome username, by the way, as one Hammett fan to another. Anyway, I couldn't agree with you more about "Class of 1984"! Absolute, undiluted crap, but it is so perversely violent and over the top, you can't take your eyes off it! Wasn't the head psycho one of the Van Patten boys?! Man, I gotta try and Netflix this shit now.
Dec. 30, 2008, 8 p.m. CST
I, too, was haunted by Fortress... I remember watching it as a kid, sneaking downstairs and watching it on the TV, hidden behind the couch my mother had fallen asleep on for fear of her waking up, catching me and being pissed. I revisited it recently and it still packs a punch.<BR><BR>I forgot to mention in the review that The New Kids was one of the only films written by Stephen Gyllenhaal, father of Jake and Maggie. Interesting, no?
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:09 p.m. CST
by The Reluctant Austinite
I have the awesome "Class of 1984" dvd. It's total grindhouse junk, and I mean that in the best way possible. You're both right, but "Tuff Turf" is the cult classic that's just waiting to be discovered.
Dec. 31, 2008, 12:42 a.m. CST
I watched this on HBO in the 80's, and remember being pleasantly surprised it got as violent as it did. I've got a copy -- definitely going to watch again soon.
Jan. 4, 2009, 7:01 p.m. CST
by The Amazing G
The New Kids On The Block?
Jan. 4, 2009, 7:01 p.m. CST
by The Amazing G
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