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High School USA

Year: 1983
Production Co: Hill/Mandelker Films
Studio: NBC
Director: Rodney Amateau
Producer: Alan Eisenstock
Writer: Alan Eisenstock/Larry Mintz
Cast: Michael J Fox, Mancy McKeown, Todd Bridges, Crispin Glover, Anthony Edwards, Bob Denver, Dana Plato, Crystal Bernard

I came across this movie by accident on TV, (some time around Back to the Future I suspect) and loved it from the very first. It's thinly plotted but good natured, the story of a school clown and all-round good guy, Jay Jay Manors (Fox, in pre-BTTF shaggy hair mode) and his efforts to get the girl of his dreams, Beth (McKeown).

Trouble is, Beth is the girlfriend of the preppy Beau (Edwards), and he's not going to give up on Beth very easily. This score's going to be settled the way high-schoolers have since time immemorial, with a car race. But when Jay Jay plans to use Archie (Glover's) Dad's Corvette and it's suddenly taken out of the picture, the gang better come up with something else, and fast.

But Jay Jay has Archie and his friend Danny to help him along, and Beau has no shortage of girls waiting in the wings to depose Beth, including Anne Marie (Bernard, KC out of Happy Days), who'll do anything for him, no matter how slimy. And surrounding them all are a host of students and teachers all navigating the trials, tribulations and romance of school life...and a robot that does whatever it's told.

It's a light and frothy comedy with none of the nasty cynicism that infuses movies about teenagers nowadays, but it's most notable for the huge range of pairs of stars from TV shows and movies that came before and after. I'm hard pressed to remember them all now – two former cast members of Leave It To Beaver are in there somewhere.

But there's Todd Bridges and Dana Plato, Willis and Kimberley from Diff'rent Strokes, Michael J Fox and Crispin Glover, who'd share the screen in Back to the Future, Fox and McKeown, who'd be in Family Ties together... and I can't remember any more, but I know there were two performers from Happy Days, two from Laverne and Shirley (I think), two from Gilligan's Island (including Bob Denver as Archie's father), two from Happy Days and two from ER.

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