When a shy teenager's new-found powers help him score at basketball - and with the popular girls - he has some pretty hairy decisions to make.
RELEASED IN 1985 and directed by Rod Daniel, “Teen Wolf” stars Michael J. Fox as a teen in Beacontown, Nebraska, who works at his Dad’s shop in town (James Hampton), plays basketball for his lousy school team and enjoys a friendship with a neighborhood girl (Susan Ursitti) while desiring the popular blonde (Lorie Griffin). Complications result when he starts turning into a werewolf. This was actually Fox’s first theatrical film, made BEFORE the mega-successful “Back to the Future” but released afterward. By comparison it’s a decidedly small movie, but enjoyable for what it is (an 80’s teen flick). The second act takes a turn that I wasn’t expecting. No spoilers, but the movie poster tells all. I liked the closing moral: Don’t lose yourself in your special talent to the point that you lose your family/friends. If people just love you for your extraordinary gift are they truly your friends? A good real-life example is Bobby Knieval who became world famous as ‘Evel’ Knieval, the radical motorcycle daredevil: Family members said they “lost Bobby to Evel” and the negative repercussions of fame (e.g. booze, babes, bucks and pomposity). Thankfully, in his later years he realized this and tried to make amends. Griffin has one notable scene as the “hottie” without falling into tasteless sleaze. THE FILM RUNS 1 hour & 31 minutes and was shot entirely in Southern California: South Pasadena (neighborhood & town), Los Angeles (school), Montrose (bowling alley) & Tujunga (liquor store). The credits acknowledge “Friends in Fremont, Nebraska” because the director traveled there and spent 3 hours talking to seniors for research. WRITERS: Jeph Loeb and Matthew Weisman. ADDITIONAL CAST: Matt Adler plays the protagonist’s bud and Mark Arnold his rival. Jay Tarses plays the coach while James MacKrell appears as Mr. Thorne. GRADE: B-