Best Ensemble Cast Of All Time: Back To School

June 29, 2010

Don’t you laugh, now. I’m going to tell you about  the actors who made this Rodney Dangerfield vehicle in 1986, and when I’m done, you’ll say “holy moley.”

This is a cheap ass-and-insults comedy about an aging retail tycoon (Dangerfield) who decides to complete his college education while well into his seventies (Dangerfield appears to think he’s playing a guy in his forties, but You Can Tell.)

This movie came at a pivotal moment in Hollywood. This was the year that the world of entertainment changed — movies got smarter, rock got harder, hair got bigger and I saw my first stripper. And for some reason, the cast of this movie turned out to be the most diverse, yet accomplished, actors on the planet. Consider:

  • Rodney Dangerfield: Okay, don’t.
  • Keith Gordon: This guy played Arnie in the fantastic John Carpenter riff on Stephen King’s Christine, and then he played in this movie, and now he tells people he isn’t me, we just have similar names. That’s too bad. His performance in Christine showed he had range, and this movie showed he could accept a paycheck for sex jokes.

  • M. Emmet Walsh: He’s a “Oh, that guy” actor with the best name to say out loud. I’ve said out loud today, while typing, which would be creepy if I were at the office but is okay since I’m in the basement.
  • Paxton Whitehead: This guy’s name makes you think he’s a really important and distinguished actor, and that’s the joke of it.
  • Terry Farrell: Jadzia Dax plays the campus hottie. Oh yes, she does.
  • Robert Picardo: You will think this is a Star Trek thing, but it isn’t. Robert Picardo has been in pretty much everything ever made. You just have to look closely.
  • Adrienne Barbeau: If you don’t nod when you read that name, you’re too young to be here.
  • Ned Beatty: Otis himself, Squeal Like A Piggie himself, plays Dean Martin. As in, the dean of students. It’s funnier in context, and so is Ned.
  • Burt Young: If you don’t nod when you read that name, you’re too young to be here, and also not Italian enough.
  • Sally Kellerman: If you don’t nod when … hey, it’s Sally Kellerman, and I shouldn’t have to explain.

  • Robert Downey Jr.: He’s playing the same guy he played in Weird Science, complete with big-shouldered blazer, tall hair and a smirk. He still has all those things, but now the shoulders are made of iron and shoot little rockets at bad guys.
  • Sam Kinison: Oh, I miss this guy. This is the movie that made him famous, and opened the door for a whole generation of rage comics and angry bloggers. Fuck angry bloggers! I hate those fuckers.
  • William Zabka: I hate this guy, too.
  • Edie McClurg: You know who this is, and you love her. You probably had her picture in your locker. I know I did.
  • Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: Seriously. This is a Rodney Dangerfield campus comedy with boobs, featuring Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Like I said: Best Ensemble Cast Of All Time. A warning, though … there is poetry in this film.

“How about tomorrow night?”

“I have class then, too.”

“Why don’t you call me sometime when you have no class?”


One comment

  1. holy shit you’re right

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