Dennis suggests My Bodyguard (in Feature Drama). I’ve been thinking about this quiet little 80’s teen flick a lot recently; maybe it’s because I’ve worked with Regan for the last two days and she’s had it on repeat on the store DVD player for nine hours at a stretch, I don’t know. It being wormed into my subconscious all day aside, this one-time HBO staple is a humane, realistically-grubby antidote to the chirpy, smutty, plastic world of the typical high school movie. Chris Makepeace (the nice loner kid from Meatballs …and not much else) plays Clifford, a realistically-puny and insecure, yet principled little guy who’s just transferred to a tough Chicago school terrorized by a delightfully greasy Matt Dillon and his gang of jerks. After one too many lunchtray dumpings and attempted swirlies, Clifford approaches hulking, silent school legend Ricky Linderman (Adam Baldwin, later of “Firefly” fame…and
awesomeness), to act as the titular bodyguard, and, from this sitcommy setup, an unexpectedly human, funny, and moving story unfolds. See, Ricky’s more than he seems, and Clifford becomes a unique sort of teen hero in his own right, and things don’t go exactly as you’d expect. And the supporting cast is stellar, with Kathryn Grody as an understanding teacher, an early Joan Cusack (and her impossibly frizzy hair) as the equally put-upon chatterbox Shelley, Martin Mull as Clifford’s funny, bewildered dad, and the great Ruth Gordon, acting saucy and startlingly wise (in full Harold and Maude mode) as Cliff’s wacky grandmother. Oh, and the music’s good, too. Great little movie.