Three O'Clock High (1987)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Oct 9, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Often mistakenly canonized among the collection of 1980s teen comedies about the joys and horrors of the high school experience (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink, to name a few), director Phil Joanou's darkly humorous tale of an impending after-school fight between the class geek and the school bully, although seemingly innocuous, is a surprisingly stylistic effort. Employing numerous jump cuts and extreme close-ups throughout, Joanou deftly dramatizes (or, rather, melodramatizes) his central character's precarious situation by repeatedly zeroing in on the ever-ominous clock that hangs over him during his six-hour stretch at school. Three O'Clock High, which recalls Martin Scorsese's frenetic 1985 comedy After Hours, winningly captures the bumbling, downward spiral of its adolescent everyman hero. More adroit cinematically than one might assume, Joanou's feature is an unexpectedly smart satire.