Back to School

(Alan Metter, USA, 1986)


Thornton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield) on his ex-wife: "She gives great headache." On the state of his health: "I’m donating my body to science fiction." On the novels of Joyce: "She’s my favourite writer."

Dangerfield (died 2004) is a one-liner comedian who never really took off beyond America. This film showcases his populist persona beautifully.

With his bulging eyes and obese, ever-jiggling frame, Dangerfield plays Melon, an ordinary guy who has made himself into a fun-loving millionaire.

Buying his way into a place at college beside his teenage son (Keith Gordon), Melon learns about fine literature from Sally Kellerman, whilst one-upping the ivory-tower snobs of academe.

It’s even more fun than the similarly-themed Australian drama Petersen (1974).

© Adrian Martin January 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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