Written by / 11/04/2017 / No comments / , , , , , , , , ,

BEFORE BULLYING WAS A CRIME THERE WAS 'MY BODYGUARD'

Matt Dillon & future Flashdance Jennifer Beals YEAR: 1980
A classy teenage high school bully movie opening with what sounds like a classical music piece and a young kid riding a ten-speed bike through grainy Chicago...

Enter Chris Makepeace, also picked-on then befriended in the previous year's MEATBALLS, a fantastic little actor when he was little. But another semi-newcomer, Matt Dillon, steals the show as Moody, the high school's kingpin despite his being what seems like a sophomore.. anyhow, they ain't seniors: The only "kid" who looks like an adult and/or college student is future FULL METAL JACKET stud Adam Baldwin as Ricky Linderman and, like every town has a haunted house, every school has a kid with a violent yet mysterious background. The plot of MY BODYGUARD is all in the title — alas, the corniest scenes occur in the middle as Makepeace's Clifford Peache... whose father runs a Hotel despite his mom/Cliff's grandma, Ruth Gordon, flirting with any and all male guests/residents... bonds with and rides a motorcycle with Ricky in a prolonged "feel-good" sequence of campy After School Special fare...

Matt's terrific terrible heavy
Thankfully it's always Matt Dillon who provides both the edge and point, and for the girls who loved him and the guys who wish they could hang with him... like in later flicks THE OUTSIDERS, RUMBLE FISH and DRUGSTORE COWBOY... he's a "total dick" to loathe, and he plays it extremely well... 

...Makes No Peace for Chris Makepeace
In OVER THE EDGE, which was made a year earlier but got shelved until turning up on cable when Dillon was a star, he was good enough as a heavy metal masthead of rebellion, mostly playing off of sublime teen actor Michael Kramer. In MY BODYGUARD he is, despite having a troupe of pals, a true maverick and, when he acquires his own thug for protection, and steals the only thing Ricky loves, his motorcycle... "It's Moody's now..." You'll really wanna kill him... Now that's acting...

Paul Quandt & Joan Cusack MYSCORE: ****
Other moments that tae from the high school main frame... all scenes filmed (by Tony Bill) from down-up and making the viewer feel small, insignificant, vulnerable, spooked — like it feels to be the new kid in a big proverbial prison of kids... happens with otherwise talented and likable Martin Mull as Cliff's dad and the aforementioned Ruth Gordon, who, as an established cult fixture from ROSEMARY'S BABY and especially HAROLD AND MAUDE, was resting on her quirky laurels, seeming to please the director more than the audience, making the first half of BODYGUARD, with an abundance of school scenes, work best: ending with Clifford's even smaller, weaker buddy (Paul Quandt) flipping off Dillon with the protection of Baldwin's Linderman, followed by one of the best lines and line-readings ever, "You owe me a year's worth of lunches." The laughter and applause of the audience in 1980, at around ten or eleven-years-old, still reverberates — and thankfully always will.
Hank Salas giving some of the bodyguarding back to Adam Baldwin... again there's a Flashdancer present
Salas takes down Baldwin and the cycle's soon to be "Moody's Now"
When you'll hate Dillon the most, opening the jar that his big bald buddy loosened... MY BODYGUARD Score: ****
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