Cutting Class (DVD)

Cutting Class (DVD)
Brad Pitt gets an A.
Updated: 10-16-2007

Cutting Class is a totally tubular… er, I mean totally typical 80s teen slasher, but hidden up its Letterman jacket sleeve is the acting debut of one of the now- biggest movie stars in the world: Brad Pitt.


The fresh-faced blonde babe graces the cover of this re-release (for the occasion of Halloween, I suppose; sadly, there is no additional material… but wouldn’t it have been cool of Pitt to do a commentary? DVD sales could have been donated to charity!), and while he does have a substantial role in the movie as entitled jerk Dwight, the real lead is Jill Schoelen as Paula, a good girl with a bad problem.


He’s the cocky jock (at one point offering to compare his penis size against Paula’s dad’s… skeevy!), she’s the straight-A cheerleader (“Two, four, six, eight – who do we decapitate?”), and their friends are (of course) a slut and a funny guy. There’s also the gloomy loner with a past (Donovan Lietch), the pervy school principal (Roddy McDowall), and the dutiful dad (Martin Mull). Now that we have our cast of cardboard cutout characters, what’s left?


Cutting Class definitely didn’t break any new ground in any regard, and there’s no doubt the body count and blood-quotient are woefully low and limp in comparison with its peers who’ve since stood the test of time, I actually enjoyed this little movie from homeroom to final bell.


Not only is it like a time-capsule for fright-flick fromage, it really is quite a kick for Pitt fans to see how much he has changed and yet stayed the same (it’s difficult to describe here, but if you’re on the Brad bandwagon and you have seen all his other movies, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Schoelen is a likeable, sympathetic heroine and Lietch is sufficiently creepy and quirky, but the real stars are McDowall and Mull in tiny, but at least somewhat dimensional roles (not to mention having the best dialogue).


While the death scenes are pretty tame and there’s not as much nudity as one might expect from a gem of this ilk, there was some ingenuity behind the camera: The dialogue is appropriately high-school painful; there’s some show-off cinematography (bad guy’s face distorted behind a water bottle is so bad it’s good); and the score is so dated it’s carbon-dated.


Upon reflection, and a quick glance again at the DVD cover, it seems the “occasion” to re-release Cutting Class was to present an unrated version. All this really means, as far I can recall, is to add some insert shots of naked girls getting dressed after gym class.


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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson

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