film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Principal 1987 * * * Stars


1987's The Principal is like an updated version of '82's Class of 1984. You know, stuff in which an educator has to work in a rundown school where gangs and druggie students run afoul. The only difference is that the latter ditches the punk element, doesn't feature Michael J. Fox, and is a little less demented. Take heed though, The Principal is still a metaled, razor blade of a movie, rough around the edges, remorseless, unkind, and unwashed. "No more". Yeah you tell 'em headmaster Rick Latimer.

Now I know what you're thinking, I'm about to proclaim "Principal" to be a cinematic masterpiece. Not so fast as Lee Corso would say. The first two acts are solid before the last 15 minutes bogs down into a flag-waving ending, devoid of being heavy-handed and sort of morphed into a sudden, parodied way of wrapping things up. Great. You got rid of the head ruffian at your grubby institution and you get to ride off into the sunset with your beaming chopper. But hey, there's still much more work to be done. Much much more.

Distributed by TriStar Pictures and shot in a portent vapor via Oakland, CA, The Principal stars Jim Belushi (as Rick Latimer mentioned earlier), Louis Gossett Jr., and Rae Dawn Chong. They compliment each other and give raw performances in a flick that would rather depict 7 school periods in daylight purgatory than hold your hand as a viewer. "Principal's" director (South Dakota native Christopher Cain), well he isn't impressed by Saturday morning sitcoms, senior Brad Hamilton, or all things Aaron Spelling. Nah, he shoots for the atmospherics and the unease, showing that "Principal's" fictional school (Brandel High) can be the unequivocal star while looking like modern-day Beirut. Beatings, ganja selling, and attempted rape oh my! "Brave it through a little bit". Uh okay, if you say so. Remaining "principal" balanced.

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment