Making The Grade Blu-ray Review: An Unappreciated Comedy That Has Held up Nicely Over the Years

Palmer Woodrow (Dana Olsen) has been thrown out of six different schools in the last three years. His parents are tired of his shenanigans and are threatening to cut off his trust fund if he doesn’t graduate before he becomes older than the teachers. But buckling down and getting good grades is not something he is willing to do. So what’s a spoiled rich kid supposed to do when a massive fortune and his entire way of life is at stake? He hires a poor kid to take his place and get the diploma for him. Eddie Keaton (Judd Nelson) is that kid who also happens to owe a lot of money to his bookie, the Dice Man (Andrew Clay).

With the help of Palmer’s best friend, Rand (Carey Scott), to help Eddie with the transition into preppie student, it seems that the plan will succeed. But they find nothing ever goes as planned. Eddie is becoming too involved in the role, falls for the granddaughter of one of the founding members of the school, gets on the wrong side of a bully named Biff (Scott McGinnis), and receives a visit from his bookie who is trying to run a scam on the school. And if that’s not enough problems for the duo to handle, the real Palmer Woodrow shows up to add to the chaos.

The film is unmistakably from the 1980s from the look, the dialogue, and the cheesy music. While most of that was funny during its time, it adds even more to the experience of watching it now. But it’s not just the homage to the decade that makes it entertaining as there are comical lines and physical comedy occurring every few seconds.

The casting is perfect and the acting is good. Even Andrew Clay who we now know as Andrew Dice Clay does a nice job of acting, topped with a spot-on John Travolta impersonation. There are a few odd spots in the film such as when Eddie first arrives at Hoover Academy and does some strange strut around the yard and also when he decides to breakdance to win the heart of Tracey Hoover (Jonna Lee). But given the time separation from when the film was released back in 1984, it has now turned from awkward to laugh inspiring.

The Blu-ray is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The video is surprisingly clean and looks just as good as most Blu-rays released today. The audio doesn’t use a lot of the surround sound capability for dialogue or sound effects, but it does work with the music track and without any distortion or cracking. There are no Special Features on the disc.

It’s difficult to understand why this film isn’t better known or appreciated. It might be because it came the year before Judd Nelson’s big breakout role in The Breakfast Club, or maybe it was just because the cast was so little known at the time. But whatever the reason, Making The Grade deserves to be in the collection of everyone who enjoys a good ’80s comedy.

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Todd Karella

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