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MGM Studios DVD presents
Class (1983)

"Jonathan, desperate circumstances require desperate measures. Sexually, you're finished in this part of the state. Here, take this ticket. Go to Rush Street, to the Free and Easy Club. And there you will meet the girl of your dreams - and if she ain't there take what you can get."
- Skip (Rob Lowe)

Review By: Justin Stephen   
Published: November 16, 2000

Stars: Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Jacqueline Bisset
Other Stars: John Cusack, Alan Ruck, Cliff Robertson, Remak Ramsey, Stuart Margolin, Virginia Madsen
Director: Lewis John Carlino

MPAA Rating: R for nudity, profanity, adult situations, mild violence and marijuana use.
Run Time: 01h:38m:13s
Release Date: November 21, 2000
UPC: 027616854759
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+CD+ D

DVD Review

Jonathan began feeling a bit out of his element the moment he set foot on the grounds of Vernon Academy, a prestigious preparatory school in Illinois. A nerdish academic overachiever, he is the progeny of the Pittsburgh public school system. Intent on getting into Harvard, he has earned a scholarship to Vernon Academy for his senior year of high school. He is a stark contrast to his new classmates, most of whom have been at Vernon all four years and come from wealthy families. Within thirty minutes of his arrival, he is ridiculed for his clothes, chided for being clumsy, and humiliated in front of much of the student body by way of a hideous (albeit clever) prank crafted by his new roommate, Skip, whom he has just met.

Jonathan is made of strong stuff, however, and shortly pays his new roommate back with an extremely clever and intricate prank of his own. This earns the respect of Skip and the other boys and all are soon fast on their way to becoming good friends. As a token of their new friendship, Skip begins dedicating much of his energy towards finding a way for Jonathan to lose his virginity. Alas, an unfortunate mishap causes Jonathan to be banned for life from the grounds of a nearby boarding school for young women, effectively closing off his access to the "only girls within a hundred miles." Since Jonathan will therefore be unable to attend the gala Halloween dance between the two schools, Skip gives him some money and a bus ticket to Chicago so that he can venture to Rush Street to get himself some experience. "None of us are safe until you get laid," he informs Jonathan. Reluctant at first, Jonathan finally submits.

At first, his adventures on Rush Street seem doomed as he is again humiliated, this time by women. His luck suddenly changes when he meets a mysterious older woman and they spend a romantic weekend together. His standing among his classmates skyrockets when they learn of his achievements. A romance with an attractive, older woman is the stuff of legends in the minds of adolescent boys. He begins going to Chicago with regularity to meet her. However, she soon deserts him when she discovers that he is only a senior in a preparatory school and not the Northwestern grad student he claimed to be. Jonathan returns home, heartbroken, having convinced himself that he is in love with her. In an effort to cheer him up, Skip invites him to accompany him to his family's country estate for a few days over Christmas break. There, Jonathan meets Skip's parents and discovers, much to his shock and amazement, that the woman he has been having his romantic fling with is Skip's mother!

1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, besides being one of the most popular comedies of the 1980s, is also noteworthy in that it launched, or helped launch, the careers of so many famous names (it was the first theatrical film for such actors as Eric Stoltz, Nicolas Cage, and Anthony Edwards). 1983's Class, while ultimately not as well-known, is noteworthy in much the same way. This film marked the feature film debut of Rob Lowe (Skip), Andrew McCarthy (Jonathan), John Cusack, and Casey Siemaszko and is only the second feature film for Virginia Madsen and Alan Ruck. Class was also the first film, of what has proven to be many, in which John and Joan Cusack appear on screen together.

Class is just one of the slew of sex-laden teen comedies released in the 1980s, but compared to most of its peers, it is a deliberate and thoughtful film. Both Lowe and McCarthy do quite well in their debuts, delivering committed and believable performances. Lewis John Carlino, probably best known for directing 1979's The Great Santini has crafted a delightful comedy which really delivers on the laughs. Class, like McCarthy's second film Heaven Help Us, belongs in a select group of lesser-known, quality comedies from that decade.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: The image transfer of Class, while anamorphic, really shows its age. MGM does not appear to have made much of an effort, if any, to clean up this transfer from the original seventeen year-old master. The image is very soft, with muted colors, extremely grainy, and laden with dirt. MGM should have done more to beautify the image as they have with other recent catalog title releases.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Class is not a film that lives or dies by its sound, and it's a good thing it isn't. Like the image transfer, very little, if any, effort seems to have gone into the audio presentation. Presented in 2-channel mono, the audio is very muddied and lacks crispness. Dialogue from characters off screen is often very difficult to understand, especially when competing with any other background noise. For example, in the early scene wherein Jonathan storms from the cafeteria, tears in his eyes, and the headmaster asks a fellow administrator what is going on, the answer he receives in almost inaudible. The last time I saw this film on HBO, the answer was clearly discernible.

Audio Transfer Grade: D+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in French, Spanish, English [CC] with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Alpha
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single
Layers Switch: n/a

Extras Review: Class comes only with the original theatrical trailer.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

MGM has given us a perfunctory and all-around unimpressive release of one of the better teen comedies from the 1980s. With an anamorphic transfer, it is an improvement over the VHS release, but only marginally so.

 


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