You know what’s a good, underrated flick from the ’80s? Back to School. Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Downey, Jr., Sally Kellerman and Adrienne Barbeau back when they were particularly milf-y, and a brilliant turn from Sam Kinison. It’s one of those movies that’s far better structured than it has a right to be and pretty damn funny.
Oh, and Kurt Vonnegut has a cameo as Kurt Vonnegut. I won’t spoil the bit if you haven’t seen it.
Anyway, this is my homage to that movie.
INT. DORM ROOM – DAY
JEFF BRIDGES, 18, lanky, and looking overwhelmed, is making his bed in a two-person room. Two suitcases sit on the floor mostly empty. RODNEY GOLDMAN, 50s, wearing a goldfish costume and chewing on an unlit stogie, bursts into the room. Rodney is a cross between Rodney Dangerfield and Eddie Murphy’s Gumby.
Let’s get this party started!
Jeff spins too quickly and loses his balance. He falls back, bounces off the bed, and lands on the floor.
Who are--what are you?
Rodney holds out one of his orange flippers to Jeff. Jeff grabs it and pulls himself up to the bed. They shake hand to flipper.
Rodney Goldf--man. Goldman. I’m your new roomie!
Uh, but you’re--
--old? You can say it kid. It ain’t news to me.
I was going to say you’re a fish!
Synthesizer theme music starts. Various still images of Rodney, Jeff, and other STUDENTS appear on the screen.
Jeff thought living at home was a drag / ‘Cause dad was a bully and mom was a nag / So he went away to school to escape their control / And then he met a guy who was from a fishbowl.
The camera freezes on a bulletin board. All the pictures from earlier pinned it.
Title: “That’s Rodney!”
INT. DORM COMMON ROOM – DAY
Jeff, Rodney, and LISA DONOVAN, 18 and unconventionally pretty in a tight t-shirt and unbuttoned cardigan, sit on beat up upholstered chairs eating pizza. Rodney keeps checking out Lisa’s chest none too subtly.
So where are you guys from?
Columbus. Always figured I’d go to OSU but I couldn’t turn down McClain when they offered me a scholarship.
Are you super smart or something?
I play the bassoon and I guess they really needed one.
I knew a bass once. He was an a-hole.
I said bassoon.
Sorry kid. I wasn’t really listening.
Rodney motions with his head to Lisa’s chest. Jeff rolls his eyes. Lisa notices and pulls her sweater closed.
What about you, Rodney?
I’m from a little place near the coast. But enough about me. Tell us about you. You said you were from out chest--I mean breast--west. West. Where out west?
Lisa pulls her sweater tighter.
INT. ALPHA SIGMA SIGMA BASEMENT – NIGHT
Jeff and Rodney stand stripped to their underwear with another SIX PLEDGES. TWO ROBED BROTHERS stand in front of the group.
You six have outlasted and outwitted the pretenders and only one obstacle stands between you and the A Ess Ess brotherhood. I give you...
Brother #2 pulls a sheet off a large FISH TANK. He picks up a net and retrieves a wiggling goldfish.
BROTHER #1 (CONT’D)
Brother #2 pops the fish in his mouth and swallows it whole.
Noooooo!!! You monster!
EXT. ALPHA SIGMA SIGMA FRONT YARD – NIGHT
Rodney and Jeff stumble toward the street carrying their clothes and shoes.
Damn it, Rodney! I really liked those guys.
It’s really hard living with you sometimes.
I know. I bet you wish you had a roommate your own age.
No, because you’re a fish!