Clifford Peache (Makepeace) is the new kid in the tough Chicago high school of Lake View. Melvin Moody (Dillon) and his gang pretty much rule the roost by extorting lunch money from weaker kids, partly under the guise of "protecting" them from the most fearsome kid in the school -- huge, brooding Ricky Linderman (Baldwin), who doesn't seem to bother anyone but is rumored to have killed his brother in cold blood. Clifford gradually befriends Ricky and hires him to be a bodyguard against Moody's gang of bullies. But Moody presses the issue, and both Clifford and Ricky have to decide whether it's worth shoving back and risking their respective safety and reputation. This 1980 sleeper is an oddly sweet and honest tale, given its rough subject (though the ending is of course foreordained and a mite oversweet). There are some terrific cameos: Ruth Gordon as Gramma Peache, Martin Mull as Clifford's father, John Houseman, 18-year-old Joan Cusack (with braces!), and an uncredited Jennifer Beals as an extra/friend of Clifford's. Director Tony Bill made his debut here; he and writer Alan Orsmby have mostly worked in TV since, which is a shame. This is a fine character study, not a cheap teen comedy, that is worth checking out.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus