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Case Number 04482

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Student Confidential

Troma // 1987 // 99 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 25th, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson thought staying in school was cool, until he saw this movie.

The Charge

A Shocking Story of Hormone-Raging Misfits!
(Don't believe the hype)

Opening Statement

I guarantee you this DVD would catch your eye, if you were to happen upon it in a video store or for sale somewhere. The Troma marketing team really did a bang-up job putting this disc together. The front of the case, done in tabloid format, features a topless woman covering her breasts, a couple of '80s trash girls with hair the size of mesas, a group of soaked and cheering teenagers, and headlines proclaiming the presence of Marlon Jackson and Eric Douglas, siblings of Michael Jackson and Michael Douglas. The disc seems to promise a rollicking, nipple-heavy tale of debauched teens and exploitation. Sorry, boy-o, but the Student Confidential case is writing checks that the Student Confidential movie can't cash.

Facts of the Case

We're dropped into the middle of a Typical American High School, circa 1980-something, on a new guidance counselor's first day. His initiation into the dysfunctional hallways of adolescence will come in the way of four of the most issue-laden students in school.

Our cast of characters:

Michael Drake, the guidance counselor
A former millionaire businessman starting a new career. This guy looks like William the Bruce from Braveheart. He speaks in monotone the entire time, is severely sexually repressed, has a rocky relationship with his wife, and does some really weird things with his eyebrows when he talks.

Johnny, the bad boy (Eric Douglas)
The son of a bastard father who's being forced into accounting, when his skills clearly lie with mechanics. He looks like Orlando Bloom with Down Syndrome.

Susie, the low-self-image girl (former Playmate Susie Scott)
Susie struggles with the fact she has a horrific scar across the left side of her face, and thus feels alienated by her peers. (The fact that she has the personality of a wet Ritz cracker doesn't have anything to do with it?)

Elaine, the slutty girl
Lusting for a career in movies, she is willing to go to whatever lengths possible to get there. Yes, this does include baring her breasts.

Joseph, the computer nerd with no friends (Marlon Jackson)
Joseph longs to escape school and lose himself in a cubicle, with just his computer to be his friend. He brags to Drake about his cool, powerful new computer ("It's 40K!")

It seems Drake has his work cut out for him, huh? Well, fear not. Contorting his eyebrows in physically impossible ways is not the only thing he does well. Drake convinces Johnny to take a mechanical aptitude test, which reveals he's a genius, then goes with the boy to share the news with his psychotic father. For Susie, he arranges a hairstyle to subtly hide her scar by gluing a swath of hair to her frickin' face. He urges Elaine to stop being a whore and physically assaults Joseph until he starts becoming sociable.

Meanwhile, Drake is self-destructing at home. Unable to jump his wife's bones, and dealing with the inevitable infidelity, he ultimately comes to terms with his suicidal tendencies.

What plays out brings Drake and four students together for the climax to the movie! (I hope I made it sound exciting, because the actual ending certainly isn't.)

The Evidence

Talk about your advertising falsehood. As I watched Student Confidential—in essence a 90 minute after-school special with non-erotic nudity and characters who make idiotic decisions—I kept waiting for the Troma shoe to drop. You know, the big happening in a movie that makes you say: "Oh, this is why Troma released the movie!"

Well, it never came.

To my dismay, as the film faded to black, I realized that star/writer/producer/composer/director Richard Horian played his teen exploitation flick straight. Trust me, this was no shocking story and the misfits were not hormone raging. They were stupid.

Johnny sets off the sprinkler system and considers himself a hero. Susie actually thinks that hair pasted to her cheek is an improvement over a scar. Later in the movie, she is surprised to find that men want to have sex with her, when she climbs fully naked into bed with them. Elaine figures that two scrubs who look like college dropouts and want to double-team her, must be high-profile movie producers.

For a teen movie, there sure isn't a heck of a lot of screen time given to the teens. The first 20 minutes focuses on the super-boring aspects of Drake's home-life, particularly his relationship to his icy wife. This all acts as motivation for his courtship with suicide toward the end, but here's the kicker: NO ONE CARES.

Horian wanted to craft an edgy, timely, teen angst movie, but what he ended up with is a surreal, boring mediation on after-school specials and a laughably cheesy ending.

The full-frame video presentation shows its age, as there are many problems with the movie's colors throughout. Audio is a boring stereo mix that often times sounds hollow.

Troma unloads its typical share of bonus materials that have nothing to do with the actual movie—some trailers, some studio plugs, some comedy spots, and few lame music videos.

Closing Statement

The last sentence in the film's synopsis reads: "Student Confidentialhas become a disturbing cult classic." The movie is not disturbing. It's boring and takes itself way too seriously. As far as I can tell, it's no classic, having researched it on the web and found next to nothing about it. It's only "cult," if you're a member of a cult that worships piss-poor '80s movies.

The Verdict

Here's the big secret from Student Confidential: it sucks. Court adjourned.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 80
Acting: 50
Story: 50
Judgment: 66

Perp Profile

Studio: Troma
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Bad
• Drama
• Exploitation

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers
• "Kick in the Head" music video
• Tromadance PSA
• "The Hamster" PSA
• Webmonkey's Bananas


• IMDb

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