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Freddy Shoop (Mark Harmon), Ocean Front High School's fun-loving and popular gym teacher is prepping for a relaxing and perfect summer in Hawaii with his gal pal Kim. But in a moment's notice, all of that changes - the English teacher wins big on a lotto ticket and quits. The principal then blackmails Freddy to teach remedial English so whole class of students can try to a pass a major English exam they failed. Even if Shoop isn't looking forward to this prospect, it soon becomes a bit more enjoyable and fun thanks to his eclectic students and the history teacher Robin (Kristie Alley). Can all this be better than Hawaii?
Fun Fact: The film's writer, Jeff Franklin, went on to score sitcom success with the sentimental favorite, Olsen Twins-starter "Full House."
Getting the anamorphic widescreen treatment in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1, "Summer School" looks a lot better than I imagined. The print has dirt pieces, blemishes and specks, looks a bit grainy here and there and there is some noise to be found on the image at times. But there's no edge enhancement, detail is particuarly strong and most surprising is just how much the image pops out at you - there's quite a bit of depth. Colors are bold and nicely saturated too, making this a pretty impressive transfer for a catalog title.
"Summer School" gets a remixed 5.1 Dolby Digital track that isn't as amazing as the transfer, but still gets the job done. The surrounds don't really boast much or stand out, but they are there at times - such as when Shoop and the students do some fun activities, among other things - like car driving and fireworks. But the surrounds are pretty weak overall, and much of the track is kept to the front channels. Dialogue is very clear and easy to listen to though, and while the music doesn't stand out either - it does fill out the speakers (even if it is in a very straightforward and bland manner). A "restored" English mono track is included (compare it with the 5.1 and you'll realize quickly that the 5.1 is this track padded out) plus a mono track in French. English subtitles and closed captions are also on this release.
If it's a cheap Paramount catalog title... it means nothing's on there. Come on Mr. Reiner - couldn't have you recorded a commentary commenting on Mark Harmon at his best?
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 is pretty good and while the transfer isn't pefect, it's a bit more than decent. While there are no extras, you can probably find this one for around 10 dollars - which isn't too shabby if you're a fan of this 80s favorite.
Retail Price: $14.99
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Restored Mono, French Mono, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (18 Scenes)
Released: June 1st, 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring: Mark Harmon, Kristie Alley
Screenplay by: Jeff
Directed by: Carl Reiner