Johnny Be Good (1988) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I've never been very patient with reviewers who just dismiss a film as shit. Oh, I don't mind that they carelessly and thoughtlessly fustigate a work into which some other human being has poured months of work and his very soul, the very innermost longings of his being. Nah. That's OK.

What pisses me off is that they aren't specific enough.

The English language is a complex one, and offers many opportunities for highly precise description. We do not have to refer to a film as simply "shit". We can specify the type of shit.

  • We can say, for example, that a meager film is composed of mere fewmets - deer droppings.
  • Or wormcast, which is like wormshit.
  • The sequels to Jurassic Park are filled with coprolite - dinosaur shit.
  • Most westerns are filled with bodewash or tath - cow shit.
  • Vampire movies are usually filled with guano - batshit (also means birdshit).

So many choices.

Since Johnny Be Good intended to be a rollicking, playful movie, we can probably say that it is full of spraints - otter shit.

Anthony Michael Hall plays a cool guy who is the star of his high school football team. (Yeah, I know. What can I tell you? It's a fantasy.) He's being recruited by every college in the country. The recruiters hover around him 24/7. A general is there from West Point, a priest from Notre Dame, a Cowboy from "Ol' Tex", and so forth. He goes on some recruiting junkets, during which he encounters all kinds of sleazy people who use various slimy techniques to get him to go to their university. Finally, he strips away his metaphorical blindfold and sees things as they really are, or some crap like that.


Traci-Ann Dutton, Karen Cecka, and Barbara Cecka are topless in a motel room.

One of the three cheerleaders exposes a breast. Hayley Ladner, Holly Harrington, and Philisha Sanders. I'm not sure which one exposes a breast.

At times, it seems like the film was trying to be funny, but I'm not really sure. If it was, it failed. The "comical" recruiters are too heavy-handed and unsubtle, and even Snidely Whiplash would find the two heavies (the high school coach and a college president) to be lacking in shading. The only good scenes are between Hall and his family, because those moments have a touch of genuine humanity.

A few interesting bits of trivia:

1. The film features both Robert Downey Sr. and Robert Downey Jr. The kid is always good, but Sr. isn't much of an actor. He plays an NCAA investigator, but it's possible that he's actually an alien robot sent to infiltrate our civilization and learn our curious earthling ways.

2. Both Howard Cosell and Jim McMahon play themselves. Oddly enough, they play themselves as assholes. Or maybe they were trying to be charming but couldn't, because they ARE assholes.

3. This was the screen debut of Uma Thurman, and she looked delicious. (Below center)

4. It features a young, slim Jennifer Tilly. (Below right)

DVD info from Amazon

  • no features

  • no widescreen

The Critics Vote ...    

  • Roger Ebert scored it 0.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • Amazingly enough, this film grossed $17 million in the USA.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D. From the description on the box, it is everything I like: a sports movie, a youth comedy, anti-authoritarian, satirical, with naked chicks. I hated it. Imagine how much you'll hate it if you don't like those things.

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