• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

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Class Of Nuke ‘Em High

TITLE: Class Of Nuke’ Em High

YEAR: 1986

GENRE: Science Fiction and Horror

When one has a discussion about low budget film making it does not take long for Troma Studios to be mentioned in one way or another. For over forty years this New York City-based studio has been cranking out numerous limited financed projects of varying degrees of quality and talent. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, the gurus behind Troma, have been hiding thinly veiled social themes throughout their productions, but more or less they mostly serve as low brow entertainment for movie fans who appreciate generous amounts of bloodshed, violence, and nudity. A select amount of their films have been considered classics by film critics including The Toxic Avenger and to a lesser extent Tromeo and Juliet. One of their most famous films was Class Of Nuke’ Em High, and in this reviewer’s eyes this is the consummate Troma film experience.

Tromaville High School begins having strange occurrences among its student body after a nuclear power plant is built next door to the place of higher learning. Students start to mutate into hideous monsters including the Honors Society which turns into the Cretins, a distorted gang of leather clad drug dealing thugs. Warren (played by Gil Brenton) and his wholesome girlfriend Chrissy (Janelle Brady) inadvertently take a hit off a joint sold by the Cretins, and the two end up creating a mutant baby in the process. Both start to change including Warren having Incredible Hulk-style episodes of rage against the gang members. Cretins leader Spike (Robert Pritchard) wants revenge against the jock twosome, and plans are created to even the score once and for all. However, the mutant baby has other plans as the Cretins plans to destroy the school.

Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is one of the great 1980’s drive-in classics for many reasons. One aspect is the over the top acting from many of the cast members especially Brad Dunker who plays Gonzo, an Aborigine-type Cretin complete with war paint, a huge nose ring, and a giant leg bone which has been gnawed on repeatedly. Pritchard is also wonderful as the ridiculous gang leader with multi-colored hair and the never absent leather jacket. Troma regular Pat Ryan plays the obese head of the nuclear power plant and adds his usual cheesy panache to his character. The monster effects by Tom Lauten (who later worked on Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong as well as A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master) is fantastic and creates the best example of a B-movie monster in any of Troma’s films. Like most Troma films, many of the scenes are ridiculously fun in their execution, especially when Muffey (Theo Cohan) shakes down an unsuspecting nerd for drug money and literally crushes his private parts with her head, knee, and high heel shoes. Some of the sets are left to be desired especially the nuclear plant and a building explosion scene that literally pieces several demolition videos of obviously different buildings being destroyed, but this is forgivable considering the limited budgets and the ending high quality product.

Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is not the type of film to win Academy Awards, but then again it had no desire to do so and should be judged on different levels. From that viewpoint this raises Class Of Nuke ‘Em High to the level of elite status in the Troma catalog. The reason this film has aged so well compared to other films in the Troma catalog is the fact that Class Of Nuke ‘Em High had some great writing and a fairly timeless theme of youth angst and experimentation which expectantly goes wrong. Fans of drive-in cimema should just skip a rental and purchase Class Of Nuke ‘Em High for their collection as they will find this project to be a classic example of days gone by when a good B-movie was enjoyed with a six-pack of cheap beer well after midnight under a full moon at those outdoor theaters.

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