DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Robert Carradine as LOUIS SKOLNICK
    Anthony Edwards as GILBERT LOWE
    Timothy Busfield as ARNOLD POINDEXTER
    Andrew Cassese as HAROLD WORMSER
    Curtis Armstrong as BOOGER
    Larry B. Scott as LAMAR LATRELL
    Brian Tochi as TOSHIRO TAKASHI
    Julia Montgomery as BETTY CHILDS
    Ted McGinley as STAN GABLE

    Rated R
    Studio: 20th Century Fox

    Directed by: Jeff Kanew
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“Revenge of the Nerds” was a monumental movie for me because it was one of the few R-rated films that I was allowed to see as a young teenager. This was before every home had a VCR, and we didn’t have cable, so our access to R-rated films was fiercely limited.

Yet somehow, my sister and I convinced my parents to take us to see “Revenge of the Nerds” in the theaters. Sure, there were uncomfortable moments, like watching the panty raid scene sitting next to my mother, but it was all worth it for the other hilarious moments in the film. It was also one of the last R-rated films I had to see with my folks, so it sticks that way in my memory.

Even for a 13-year-old boy, I found the movie hilarious. Sure, I had no idea what hair pie was, or what a wonder joint did, but I knew what a booger was and I could figure out what happens when liquid heat is poured on a jock strap.

“Revenge of the Nerds” is one of those seminal college party movies that has moved into legend. With the possible exception of “Animal House,” “Revenge of the Nerds” is possibly the most well-known movie of its kind. (“Porky’s” doesn’t count because that’s about high school kids.)

The film chronicles the freshman college experience of nerds from around the country as they try to start their sessions at Adams University. Leading the pack is Louis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert Lowe (Anthony Edwards). After the jocks at the college burn down their own frat house, they kick the freshmen out of their dorm.

Due to the housing crunch, students are allowed to pledge fraternities their freshman year. Those left over from rush are the nerdiest ones in the class. Instead of being beaten down, the nerds band together to form their own fraternity and take on the jocks to control the Greek Council the following year.

In watching the special features, it’s clear that 20th Century Fox had no hope for this film (it was considered a write-off after “Return of the Jedi” made phat cash the year before). However, the masses ignored the studio’s bad attitude and saw it anyway. While this attitude at Fox was frowned upon in retrospect, it was probably what saved the film.

Relatively unknown director Jeff Kanew was given an incredibly long leash to push the standards of good taste. Sure, it doesn’t contain something as offensive as the famous “eclair scene” from “Van Wilder,” but it has its moments. It’s got everything for this kind of film – nudity, sex, swearing and dirty jokes. Even today, it’s crass humor and wild comedy lives and keeps us laughing.

It’s also fun to watch the film more than twenty years later to see what’s happened to the cast. Robert Carradine went on to be Lizzie McGuire’s dad. Anthony Edwards went on to be one of the anchor stars from “e.r.” Timothy Busfield is almost unrecognizable as the whiny guy from “thirtysomething.” And who can forget Babe’s owner as Louis’s father. Back then, these guys were just nerds, and they didn’t have anything to prove. That’s what made the film so great. They just had fun.

The DVD comes with commentary from director Jeff Kanew and actors Robert Carradine, Timothy Busfield and Curtis Armstrong. There are also several deleted scenes along with a new retrospective of the film (which, by the way, shows that even though Julia Montgomery aka Betty Childs is pushing 50, she’s still pretty enough to be a target of a panty raid).

Also included was the rarely seen “Revenge of the Nerds” television show pilot, which is so bad it’s funny. Seriously, it makes the “Revenge of the Nerds” sequels look like Oscar contenders in comparison. But when you recast Cousin Oliver as the new Booger, you know there’s going to be a problem.

Specifications: Dolby Digital Stereo and Mono Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1). French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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