Case Number 02756: Small Claims Court


Fox // 1986 // 100 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // March 28th, 2003

The Charge

Jocks, geeks, big hair and one of the's love in the '80s!

The Case

Lucas (Corey Haim, The Lost Boys) is a 14-year-old boy who doesn't fit in at school. Instead of being interested in sports and parties, Lucas finds himself fascinated with insects and classical music. One magical summer Lucas runs into Maggie (Keri Green, The Goonies), an adorable 16-year-old girl who is new to the area. Smitten, Lucas quickly befriends Maggie and the two begin a wonderful friendship filled with fun and laughter. When the new school year finally emerges, Maggie finds herself falling for Cappie (Charlie Sheen, Hot Shots!), a star football player who is dating Alise (Courtney Throne-Smith), a cheerleader who doesn't like the way he looks at Maggie. When Alise and Cappie break up, this leaves the two love birds time to get to know each other and -- to no one's surprise -- begin a romantic endeavor. This doesn't go over well with Lucas, who has had eyes for Maggie even though she's always seen him only as a "good friend" (and as most of us guys know, that term is the literal kiss o' death). Determined to win her affections, Lucas decides that if she likes football players, maybe she'll find him more desirable if he tries out for the high school team. Ridiculed and rejected, Lucas continues to fight against all the odds in his quest to show both Maggie and the entire school that sometimes being small doesn't mean you can't walk tall.

I was a big fat dork in high school. I had bad hair. I had a bad complexion. I hadn't a clue how to talk to girls. If life awarded anyone with the "Biggest Boob on Campus" prize, I'd have been one of its strongest contenders. Maybe that's why I liked Lucas so much -- it's about a goofy, brainy boy who likes one of the prettiest girls in school. This could have been retiled "The Patrick Naugle Story," and no one would have been any wiser! Lucas features everyone's favorite '80s teens (Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, and the like) doing what they do best -- emoting! Actually, Lucas is an extremely entertaining yarn that sports fine performances all around. Charlie Sheen is likable and handsome as the football hero, Keri Green is button cute as the girl everyone's pining for, and Corey Haim is...well, Corey Haim (need I say more?). Even Winona Ryder (in her first starring role) gets into the action as the girl voted "Most Likely to Grow Up and Become a Movie Star-slash-Shoplifter." Unlike the teen comedies of today -- I got just two words for you: sperm jokes -- Lucas is filled with warmth and heart. Writer/director David Seltzer (Punchline, Shining Through) never panders to the characters or the audience -- the dialogue is packed with real feeling instead of boob gags and penis references. A great example: While Charlie Sheen's character is taking away Lucas' object of affection (Green), we still like him because...well, he's actually a pretty swell guy. He treats Lucas with respect and isn't a typical meathead quarterback. It's rare to find such a complex character in a movie of this nature, much less a movie of this nature. A gaggle of today's featured stars are got an early start in Lucas, including Gary Cole (The Brady Bunch Movie), Jeremy Piven (Old School), and Courtney Throne-Smith (Ally McBeal). There isn't a whole lot to this movie in terms of showmanship -- the real enjoyment is in the details. For those who've never seen this 1986 gem (much like myself before this review), it's well worth your time.

Lucas is presented in a fine looking, first ever 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Although this picture sports some inconsistencies most likely due to its age (a lack of sharpness, some grain in the image), the bulk of the colors and black levels are all sharp and relatively clear. Overall fans should be happy with how nice this transfer looks. Also included on this disc is a hacked 1.33:1 pan and scan version of the film, but it's not recommended. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround in English, Dolby 1.0 Mono in Spanish, and Dolby 2.0 Stereo in French. The Dolby 4.0 soundtrack is apt for the film it supports, and little else -- while the mix is free of excessive hiss or distortion, it's also pretty dull and lacking in true dynamic range. Dave Grusin's cute music score is the most prominently featured item on this track, though even that's not overly impressive, sound-wise. Also included on this disc are subtitles in English and Spanish.

Arrgh! What's the deal with all these classic '80s movies getting the shaft when it comes to DVD? Regretfully, Lucas's only extra features include a theatrical trailer for the film (presented in anamorphic widescreen and featuring what appears to be rejected music from St. Elmo's Fire), as well as trailers for the Fox flicks Bushwhacked and Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog.

Review content copyright © 2003 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 87

Perp Profile
Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)

* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 1986
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks
* Three Theatrical Trailers

* IMDb