Back to School (1986)

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Released 13-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Scene Selection Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 92:39 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alan Metter

Starring Rodney Dangerfield
Sally Kellerman
Burt Young
Keith Gordon
Robert Downey, Jr.
Paxton Whitehead
Terry Farrell
M. Emmet Walsh
Adrienne Barbeau
William Zabka
Ned Beatty
Severn Darden
Sam Kinison
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Rodney Dangerfield
Danny Elfman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† During the 1980s, Rodney Dangerfield was a bit of an American icon. With those huge bug-eyes, and a loud irascible personality, his face was well known around the comedy circuit. Having seen Dangerfield in this show, I was afraid the poor man had some kind of nervous system disorder, perhaps cerebral palsy. With his constant shakes and tremors, he really looks unwell. That also makes this show hard to enjoy because Iím always worried that heís going to have an attack or fall over and go into respiratory distress.

††† The plot of this show follows rich businessman Thornton Melon (Dangerfield), who divorces his new wife and decides to go to college to help his son Jason (Keith Gordon) who, along with his roommate Derek (Robert Downey, Jr.), is busy failing, while also not hooking up with the girl he likes, Valerie (Terry Farrell), or making it onto the diving team. In steps Dad Melon, who turns college on its head, and with a little sexual interest from a teacher, Dr. Diane Turner (Sally Kellerman), only has to thwart the snobbish Dr. Borozini (Severn Darden) to get his degree.

††† I watched this with my friends hoping for a good beer and pizza movie. They hated it. I got a couple of chuckles, but then I was expecting much worse than what I actually got. That said, with 7 votes against 1, I think Iím outvoted.

††† The real problem with this show is that it hasnít dated entirely well, and while it hovers on the absurd, it never gets to that Monty Python-esque stage that is truly laugh out loud funny. It has its moments, but unless youíve got a nostalgia spot for this one, itís probably not going to win you over.

††† Set for a remake that is, at the time of publishing this review, currently in production, all I have to say is: ďIf that dress had pockets, youíd look like a pool table.Ē Nuff said.

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Transfer Quality


††† Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, I watched it in regular standard definition and upscaled to 1080i at 50Hz (which is best for PAL).

††† This transfer is a touch soft, which probably wonít trouble you on a smaller screen, but blown up on a big screen it started to get to me a little.

††† Shadow detail is a bit murky and inky and can be a bit grainy at times.

††† There is definitely some background aliasing going on here, but nothing too distracting. Thatís the worst of it for film-to-video transfer artefacts, though.

††† There is some dirt and a few hairs here and there. Nothing glaringly awful, though.

††† There are subtitles available in a wide variety of languages as set out above. I watched the subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are quite accurate.

††† This is a single layer disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††† Audio is available in an unremarkable Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (192Kb/s) mix in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Polish. I listened to the English track and sampled the other tracks.

††† The audio tracks are fairly monaural, but not significantly flawed. Considering this film is entirely dialogue driven, thatís not such a bad thing, as you donít really need heavy use of the surrounds and subwoofer.

††† Dialogue is clear and easy to understand.

††† The rears and the subwoofer were silent.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



††† All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, static and silent.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† The R1 release is apparently identical content wise, so that just leaves the NTSC picture format (which explains the different running times) and region coding as a difference. As I donít have an R1 copy, I canít do a direct comparison for you. But, if you want to own this, I recommend buying whichever you find the cheapest.


††† Back To School is a nostalgic 80s trip for those of you who saw this when it first came out. Iím more of The Blues Brothers vintage personally, so this was not quite my thing.

††† This DVD transfer is acceptable if utterly unremarkable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, August 04, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 WXGA LCD Cineza Projector with 100" Longhorn Pro-series 16:9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
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