Recap #102: Teen Wolf (1985)
Summary: What’s a high school kid got to do to be popular? Just let down his hair and howl! Starring Michael J. Fox, Teen Wolf is an outrageous comedy about a shy teenager with more than a changing voice to contend with… he’s a budding young werewolf! And when his new-found powers help him score at basketball – and with the popular girls – he has some pretty hairy decisions to make.
Tagline: He always wanted to be special – but he never expected like this!
Note: I am watching the Bluray edition, which I don’t know why that matters but I’m still noting it. We’ll see how well the special effects hold up under the digital transfer. (Spoiler: they don’t.)
Happy Beaver Moon, everyone! This is my half of the initial Snark At the Moon! recaps; Wing published a recap of The Howling on the Full Harvest Moon in October. There’s a reason she gave me the Beaver Moon… and not just because I reside in the Beaver State.
I am not unfamiliar to this film, or its sequel, Teen Wolf, Too. In fact, I am more partial to the cheesy story, bad acting, and over-all shameful antics of the sequel, probably because I had a crush on Jason Bateman for all of five minutes when I was 10. It was the movie character I had eyes for, really; I don’t think I ever watched the sitcom that made him famous back in the day. (Y’know, before Arrested Development revitalized his career.) Anyway.
Teen Wolf was released during the heady days of Michael J. Fox mania, which was already in full swing because of Family Ties and the release of Back to the Future in July of 1985. Again, I wasn’t exactly the target age group at the time, at least not in the sense of thinking him a teen heartthrob or some such. (I was 4 years old when this film hit theaters.) So I didn’t see it, properly, until several years out from its initial release. Nor was I really into werewolves. The sequel was more responsible for spurring that interest in weres, since I’m a vampire girl at heart. I think I also had trouble identifying with the story line that is steeped in popularity cliques, underage drinking/partying, and ‘fitting in’. Plus most of the film involves basketball, which is a sport and I have zero interest in those. (I only know what I know about boxing because, again, of the sequel. Being a super athlete with preternatural abilities is the driving story line in both films. At least Todd, Scott’s cousin, had brains to fall back on!)
Still, this film would trigger the sequel I’ve spent a lot of time talking about, a Saturday morning cartoon series, and a whole MTV scripted series “reboot” decades after its release (which was a whole other beast, honestly, but one I deeply loved, and I have FEELINGS now that it’s ended.) I’m sure it’s safe to say that Teen Wolf is embedded in collective pop culture memory for at least another couple decades.
[Wing: So, here’s the thing. I’d say it’s a secret, except I’ve mentioned it around here before: despite my well-known love of werewolves, I have never seen either of these movies or the cartoon series (and only season one and part of season two of the MTV reboot, which I mostly marathoned over a few days after my mom’s funeral, so don’t remember much about). How I missed this movie, when I love werewolves and horror and horror-comedy and Michael J. Fox? Who the fuck knows. But here I am, all these years later, finally remedying it. I’m so glad y’all are along for the ride.]
Okay, let’s just get to recapping, shall we.
Oh man. For the days when movies started with a black screen and white letter credits. Yeah, we have returned to the mid-80s, people. There’s no music; just weird, distorted echos of something and occasional talking. Gives you no clue on what you’re about to witness.
The sound develops a beat, a rhythm, and becomes almost like a heartbeat. Suddenly we’re looking up at a bright white light, which is soon covered by Scott Howard’s sweat-dripping face.
It’s a basketball game. Scott is up to the free throw line. [Wing: Good lord, he’s so tiny. I mean, I know this, but it is really driven home here.] His high school team, the Beavers, are down 11-49 but he misses the shot. Soon he is knocked to the floor by the opposing team’s defense. Helped up by a member of the Dragons, Scott is informed his team “sucks”.
Ah, high school basketball. [Wing: Whiel I love some sports, I never much cared for basketball until grad school, when a friend of mine who was obsessed with college basketball got our whole group of friends watching it.]
During a timeout, we see a pretty blonde girl looking at Scott, who quickly looks away when he notices. Shortly after, we are introduced to Rupert “Stiles” Stilinski, the loud, obnoxious, “best friend” of Scott. There’s also a brief shot of Lisa “Boof” Marconi, who is the only girl who regularly talks to Scott and, of course, has an unrequited crush on him.
I just want to pause here and say WHO CAME UP WITH THESE NICKNAMES? Seriously? “Boof”? Is that even explained in the film? I guess we’ll find out. (Spoiler: No, we never do.)
How bad are the Beavers? The coach is trying to forfeit the game, something the Dragons’ coach refuses to allow. The Beavers are the laughing-stock of the division (league? SPORTS TALK!) and have a frankly useless coach with no spine who makes excuses for why his team stinks. (“If our team had sneakers like that, there’s no telling what they could do!”)
While scuffling over the ball, Scott growls. Not a human sound but a growl that an animal would make. The other player is startled and releases the ball, allowing Scott to dribble it down the court, four seconds left on the game clock. He throws it into the air, one second left…
… where it bounces off the basket rim, heaping shame and disappointment on those assembled to watch this sad spectacle. Go Beavers!
[Wing: Two things. One, the music gets all YAY SPORTSBALL SLO-MO DRAMA FOR THE WIN, which is hilarious (and, I assume, intentionally hilarious) because of what happens. Two, is the guy he’s fighting with that vampire dude from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie? A quick search makes me think no, but he certainly reminded me of him. Must be those great uniforms.]
Now in the boys locker room, where seriously NONE OF THESE DUDES ARE TEENAGERS ARE YOU KIDDING ME, the coach is giving a ‘pep talk’ about how this was the first game of the season with eleven more to go. This news is not well received and players heap scorn and anger onto one another. We move about the locker room and meet Scott’s friend, Chubby.
Token Fat Friend: 1 (+1)
Scott immediately makes a comment about Chubby supposedly being on a diet, and something smelling like liverwurst. Great. This movie stereotype of ‘fat people’ was rampant in the 1980s, well into the 1990s, and this negative commentary on weight and food will continue through the film. Brace yourself. It’s only gonna pile on.
Proceeding to empty Chubby’s locker of various food cartons, Chubby eventually shoves his smelly, dirty socks into Scott’s face. Well, that’s one way to stop the abuse.
Ridicule ≠ Caring 1 (+1)
You know, I’m gonna throw that in there, because that’s basically what this relationship involves: Chubby takes the ridicule his “friends” pile on him, barely fighting back, suffering their “well-meaning advice”. Dude doesn’t even get a real name, damn it!
Stiles loudly announces his arrival to the locker room. In the background, a dude steps out of the shower stall, wearing a pair of giant black trunks, wrapping a towel around his waist. Well, I guess that alleviated the need to blur the full frontal nudity?
Okay, Scott just took his shirt off, which I’m certain caused several million teenage girls to swoon and scream, and the shock wave of that event back in 1985 just reached me. Stiles demands Scott replay him the seven dollars he borrowed; seems Stiles is in need of cash to buy beer, which he’s not old enough to purchase. (Ah, high school.)
Slapping Chubby on the butt, Stiles asks him, “how’s the diet?”
Ridicule ≠ Caring 1 (+2)
The camera zooms in on Scott, who notices a gigantically long tuft of chest hair. Which, amazingly, confuses him. He rips it out (well, off; it’s obviously fake.) Uh oh, Scott, this is what we call:
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+1)
Stiles, who I’m pretty by now is established as bonifide asshole, continues his tour of making up reasons to “collect funds”, wandering into the side of the locker room that houses the Dragons. He is near-immediately dragged away by Mick, who you will come to know soon enough.
An aside: this version of Stiles is the worst. No joke. If you were hoping for the nuanced, clumsy-yet-brilliant version you are familiar with from the MTV show, no. Not happening. The character changes greatly between the first and second films and is not recognizable between the films and the TV show. You have to suffer through this incarnation. No lie.
We see Scott stop by the Coach’s office (where his desk is covered in KFC takeaway boxes) and Scott tries to explain his problem, which is “complicated”.
The Coach, ever interested in his players, counters: “Is it drugs? Girls? I’d sure like to help but I’m really tapped out this month.”
Ridicule ≠ Caring 1 (+3)
Yeah, way to care about your student athletes.
And yes, the coach’s name is Bobby Finstock; another case of same name, entirely different characters. Only this coach doesn’t quote the speech from Independence Day and isn’t remotely funny.
Scott attempts to explain he’s going through “changes”, which as a viewer you know is not the hormonal changes of puberty. [Wing: The fat hate/food shaming earlier was shit, but I do love how he’s able to smell more than people should. I also love storylines where supernatural kids are going through changes and the adults try to relate it to puberty. Aww, supernatural kids. You’re a delight.] Coach Finstock brushes away Scott’s concerns, refusing to let him quit the team. He spins an emotional tale about a similar incident, then shows how much he does not care, when Scott inquires what happened to the player.
“I dunno, he quit. He was a third-stringer. I didn’t need him.”
Giving up, Scott heads out to his after-school job at his father’s hardware store. Boof catches up, offering to walk along with him. Scott informs her he had a strange dream involving her, his crush Pamela, and a bunch of chickens. [Wing: … a slaughtering dream? Kinky, Scott.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+2)
Scott laments to Boof that the team is a failure, and he’s sick of being “average” and living in a small town. He wants change!
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+3)
Oh, Scott, be careful what you wish.
Pamela’s name comes up, causing Boof to bristle and tell Scott he can do a lot better then Pamela. (Like, namely, Boof, because it is totally obvious she crushes hard on Scott.) Scott, typical utterly oblivious teenage male, doesn’t know he’s put his foot in his mouth. Boof leaves, telling him she’ll see Scott at the party.
We enter Howard’s Hardware, which is cluttered to capacity of all kinds of items, and meet Scott’s father, Harold. A jolly, caring father who alternates teasing humor with true concern, Harold is probably the only character in this film that I actually like. [Wing: “I’m not Sears” he says, and from this future point, I can sadly say that not being Sears is a good thing, the way they’re hemorrhaging stores. Sears is a huge part of the history here, and I will be sad when they finally go. (For personal and historical reasons, really.)]
Suddenly, a piercing noise causes Scott to yelp in pain. Looking around for the source, it finally becomes apparent a young boy is blowing into a whistle. Taking it away, the boy informs Scott the whistle is “broken”.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+4)
“A dog whistle?” Scott is utterly confused. [Wing: OMG YES. I love ridiculous crap like this in werewolf stories.]
Back at the school, Scott is making a delivery, trying to carry a multitude of items and failing, for comical effect. He drops a roll of tape, which vice principal Thorne retrieves and throws at Scott, causing him to drop everything else in order to catch it.
Basically, everyone thinks Scott is a massive loser. That’s how we spend the first twelve and a half minutes of the film, establishing that. Sigh.
Pamela is giving a monologue onstage as the drama teacher sits in the audience, giving weirdly suggestive commentary. Sure enough, Scott enters and becomes immediately flustered by the presence of his crush. Hair suddenly sprouts to cover the backs of his hands, which he tries to hide by cramming them in the back pockets of his jeans.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+5)
Scott tries to ask Pamela to the party, offering her a ride, coming off as a total creeper when he mentions, “I’ve got a van.”
Yeah, that’s gonna get her, Scott.
Mick arrives, taunting Scott about his basketball skills, and Pamela informs Scott she always has a ride. The couple leaves the auditorium, Mick’s hand placed possessively on Pamela’s ass.
Scott, pride wounded, examines his hands. They’re normal.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+6)
In the local liquor store, Stiles is dressed incognito, wearing a leather bomber jacket and trucker hat, an unlit cigarette between his lips. He spins a story that the “boss” sent him to pick up a keg of beer. The liquor store owner, a fastidiously dressed older man in a bow tie, calmly reads his newspaper as Stiles embellishes his tale further and further into the land of “I am lying out of my ass.”
He goes so far as to bribe the owner with cash, which the older man takes before informing Stiles he still needs to see I.D. Stiles, bested, storms out of the store.
Harold and Scott are having dinner, when Scott brings up quitting the basketball team. Harold seems concerned, asking Scott what he would do instead. “The school play?”
Uh huh. Sure, Scott.
When his son vaguely brings up weird things happening to him, Howard attempts to begin a conversation but Stiles arrives just in time to interrupt. He’s wearing a shirt that reads OBNOXIOUS across the chest.
“Nice shirt,” Harold observes, even though he never physically sees it.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+7)
Does Harold have eyes in the back of his head? I wonder…
The boys return to the liquor store; Scott in Harold’s work van, Stiles in his second-hand convertible. Stiles has a marvelous plan involving Scott putting a plastic water pistol in his jacket pocket and pretending to be armed, and demanding a keg.
But, here’s the kicker, he wants Scott to pay for it. Stiles can’t do it, because he is known to the owner.
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+1)
Scott agrees, takes the plastic water pistol.
What the hell kind of plan is this?! Are you kidding me?? You are a loser, Scott!
Scott proceeds to take the cash from Stiles, throws the water gun into the van, and heads into the store to try and buy the keg.
Okay, maybe not a loser. Hangs around a loser, that’s for sure.
Waiting in line, Scott tries to appear not nervous, as the store owner serves two women in line. As he approaches the counter, the owner’s demeanor changes. Scott is pleasant and asks for a keg. The owner goes on a ripping rant about how the local teens won’t give up, that he won’t sell to them because they’re obviously underage.
Leaning in, Scott’s voice drops and becomes unearthly, his eyes glowing red, as he states clearly: “Give me a keg of beer.”
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+8)
Gee, I don’t think this is puberty-related.
Terrified, the store owner does as ordered. Next, we see Stiles singing as he’s driving down the highway, the key sitting in the passenger seat. Success!
Louis, who is Stiles’ younger brother and who’s presence I have failed to mention because it’s been very brief, is now stuck riding with Scott in the van. He is in disbelief that Scott walked in to the liquor store and was so easily handed the beer. Me, too, buddy. [Wing: … no one would ever sell to underage kids even without the werewolf part. *whistles innocently*]
Scott, high on his success, is busy talking about seeing Pamela at the party. Louis reminds him that Mick will be there, since they are dating. Scott is in deep denial about this fact.
Seriously, for a “teen comedy” this movie deals deeply with denial and eventual acceptance.
Ah, we have reached the hilarious hi-jinxs involving automobiles portion. This was before the powers that be would have plastered the screen with DO NOT TRY AT HOME warnings.
Stiles pulls alongside the van, yelling at Scott to pull over, while literally standing in the convertible. He zooms ahead and pulls to the side of the road, Scott following while heatedly arguing with Louis over the status of Mick and Pamela. (Louis told Scott to date Boof; “you sound like my dad!” MAYBE BECAUSE YOUR DAD IS SMART, SCOTT?)
Oh this gets so much better! Stiles insists Louis drive the convertible, you know the one with the keg of beer! Which would still be problematic, but made worse by the fact that Louis is an underage driver without a license! SMART!
Why does Stiles want him to do this, you ask?
Donning a gaudy Hawaiian style shirt and ditching his shoes, Stiles climbs on top of the van’s roof to participate in SURFING!
Yes, decades before the appearance of MTV’s Jackass, we were treated to a precursor, watching an obnoxious white boy standing atop a moving van and pretending to “surf” while the Beach Boys’ Surfin’ USA plays.
(The fact the van passes the same Jack In the Box restaurant twice? Well… we’ll just chalk that up to there’s a lot of them located in California, where this was filmed? Even though it’s actually supposed to be taking place in Nebraska??) [Wing: There was a time not all that long ago that it was nearly impossible to find Jack in the Box in the midwest. Which is a shame, because I generally love them. We have more now.]
In a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moment, or what could be a continuity error, you can see Scott’s left ear has grown very pointed…
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+9)
Nope, not an error. Scott, grooving out while driving, suddenly notices his ears in the side mirror. He takes his hands off the wheel, causing the van to swerve serve, making Stiles land on his back. “Wipe out!”
Don’t, do not, try this at home, kids.
“You’ll never catch me up there!” Scott declares to Stiles, refusing to go Surfing.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+10)
Stiles stays on top of the van, Scott’s ears return to normal shape, and they arrive at the party. A house swarmed with teenagers, spilling out into great clumps of people on the lawn, lights strung between the trees. A kind of party I’ve never experienced.
(Considering I had all of ~200 people in my entire high school, grades 9-12, the whole damn school would have had to turn up to a party like this, and I’m still not sure it would be as many people packed into this scene.) [Wing: I never saw parties quite this big in high school, but definitely starting freshman year of college, which was in a bigger town.]
Scott immediately homes in on Pamela, as the viewer is treated to a typical 80s montage of people lighting up joints and passing out cans of beer.
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+2)
Scott lurks until Pamela is alone, leaning against the door jam so he’s up in her personal space. Dude, you are such a creeper! Pamela is unamused by his actions, and the corny one-liner, leaving him to be greeted by a jubilant Boof.
“There you go! She said two words to you!”
Ridicule ≠ Caring 1 (+4)
So far there are like zero supportive relationships in this film.
Stiles manages to carry the keg into the kitchen, announcing how amazing he is for scoring it, and is directed to the literal mountain of kegs in the corner. /sad trombone noise
Oh look, party games!
…what the hell?
A guy and a girl, clad only in their underwear, are lying on the floor, their wrists tied together behind their backs. They are covered in… whipped cream. They are wriggling while the crowd counts in unison. Stiles, of course, is lying on the floor, acting as some sort of judge slash referee.
There is no point to this “game”? I honestly can’t figure it out, no matter how many times I rewind it. [Wing: On the one hand, nearly naked party games are a thing. On the other hand, why in the world is Stiles in charge of this game?]
Chubby and Scott watch from the sidelines. Scott is still itching all over. Chubby loudly announces, “You got a rash?” Scott dumps his cup of beer into Chubby’s, who gladly slurps it down.
Token Fat Friend: 1 (+2)
Stiles announces the next game, the contestants being Chubby and a girl named Ronda. Chubby has to eat a whole bowl of green Jello, which Stiles dumps down Ronda’s shirt.
Token Fat Friend: 1 (+3)
Ridicule ≠ Caring 1 (+5)
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+3)
There are so many things wrong with this, I can’t even begin to list them.
Boof looks at her slip of paper, which has MALCOM written on it. Pamela does the same, finding SCOTT. She rolls her eyes. Scott, sweating like a pig, looks uncomfortable. Her name is drawn from the hat; Boof’s turn at the party games is here. She calls Scott’s name.
On the one hand, good for Boof. On the other hand ….??? Girl, you could do so much better.
Scott protests, but Stiles won’t let him back out, shoving Scott into the closet with Boof before locking the door. “Don’t disappoint us!”
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+4)
Standing among the coats, Boof admits that she lied about getting Scott’s name. Boof becomes the aggressor, promising she won’t bite.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+11)
The really fucked up party games continue (the couple tied together and coated with whipped cream are still on the floor) while Scott and Boof have a heavy “seven minutes in heaven”-style make out in the coat closet. Mick appears, pushing his way through the crowd, before dragging Pamela out. For once I’m gonna side with Mick. This party is stupid.
Scott claws Boof’s back, leading her to slap him. [Wing: Again, this is getting kinky. Get you some, y’all.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+12)
Stiles opens the door, asking the couple, “what’s it like to come out of the closet?” Boof makes a general positive assessment before dodging into the crowd. As she walks away, we can see the back of her dress is shredded open, her skin bloodied, as though a wolf has clawed her! [Wing: And yet no one seems to notice this.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+13)
Scott got all hot and bothered in that closet, yo.
Typically in the werewolf genre, scratching someone would be enough to turn / infect them, but in this film series, I believe they subscribe to the “passed down genetically” theory. Which is an interesting take, because teenagers always complain about their genetics!
Having left the party, Scott heads home. But he’s in bad shape, lurching out of the van, running into the house with nary a word to his father. [Wing: This sporadic music reminds me of something else, but I’m not sure what.]
Locking himself in the bathroom, Scott’s already got noticeable fangs. Oh, dear, being locked in a closet with Boof was the last straw! We watch as Scott visibly changes (the efforts are all practical, no CGI, so it’s all the more fascinating; not gory or painful like An American Werewolf in London, but like a smashcut of a teenager growing fur, fangs, and claws.) [Wing: There’s still some fun body horror in how things move under his skin.]
Ta-da! Scott Howard, you are a werewolf!
Scott stares at himself in the mirror, and this is where Michael J. Fox’s acting abilities shine. You can see every emotion flit across his face, from surprise, shock, anger, and disgust, before he announces: “Jeez, Louise!”
Harold shows up at the bathroom door, which has a giant window in it, though the shade is drawn down. [Wing: WHY? That is not a bathroom door!] He asks if everything is okay, which no it’s not, and Scott tries out a bunch of excuses.
“Uh, no, Dad, no!”
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+14)
Harold plays the parental order card, so Scott slowly makes his way over and opens the door…
…only to find Harold transformed into a grey-furred werewolf.
“An explanation is probably long over due,” Harold laments. [Wing: WELL NO SHIT.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+15)
Scott, rightfully freaked out, continues to freak out as Harold explains he had hoped “the curse” would skip a generation and pass by Scott.
“It didn’t pass me by! It landed on my face!”
Scott refuses to talk to Harold, locking himself in his bedroom. Harold, dejected, returns downstairs. We cut to a close up of a full moon, a wolf howling.
The next morning, Harold is in the kitchen when Scott comes down. The full moon was rough, apparently, but Scott didn’t want to talk about his sudden affliction and Harold respected that. Harold has fixed hot cocoa.
“That’ll help.” Scott gripes.
Dude. Shut up and drink your hot cocoa.
Harold finally gets a starting chance to explain to Scott the advantages and disadvantages of being “what we are”. He reveals that Scott’s mother was also a were, and they dealt with their “condition” privately but successfully.
Then Harold chimes in: “When you want it, you’re gonna have great power. And with great power goes a greater responsibility.”
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+16)
SCOTT IS NOT SPIDERMAN, HAROLD.
All Scott can focus on is chasing mailmen and cars (that’s more dogs than wolves, though), dealing with the full moon, and stealing babies and eating chickens. (???) Harold says he can’t believe everything one sees in the movies.
“With certain exceptions, werewolves are people, just like anyone else.”
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+17)
To counter his father’s simplistic, thoughtful, and rational explanation, Scott rattles off a bunch of #firstworldproblems (a $6 haircut??) before announcing he has to leave for school. He then leaves, totally forgetting his backpack in the kitchen. [Wing: I just thought about the cost of my last haircut. Scariest thing about this movie. Also, Harold is adorable, oh my god.]
At school, Stiles opens his locker and is buried under an avalanche of joke props, toys, and other nonsense. Sometimes the humor in this film is just… stupid.
Scott, apparently doing fine without whatever was in his backpack, is at his locker when Pamela calls out, “Hello.” He immediately fumbles the book he is retrieving. Pamela announces there’s something different about Scott. [Wing: I love the whole sexual attraction rising around werewolves thing (see also, Ginger Snaps, Cursed, Veruca). Also, is Pamela hooking up with the drama teacher? Because it sounds like she’s hooking up with the drama teacher.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+18)
Boof appears, saying she missed Scott at lunch, effectively cock blocking him. Pamela takes off for drama rehearsal. Boof gives Scott a pointed look as she sails past.
“How’s it going, Stiles?” Scott asks, as we see a shoe thrown at the open locker.
Latin class! And, of course, the topic is Romulus and Remus!
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+19)
Somehow, mostly because this is a movie and not an actual high school, Stiles is getting away with wearing a shirt emblazoned: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT DICKNOSE
Look, completely impossible. Even in the mid-80s. I went to a pretty laid back and tolerant arts-centered high school. NO ONE could have worn that and not gotten sent to the principal’s office! So, this is just one of those things that throws me out of the film so hard. I know this version of Stiles is basically an asshole, but way to be blatant. [Wing: Eh, small town Midwest schools didn’t have much of a dress code then. We didn’t have a very strict one well into the 90s.]
Also: where is the punctuation???
The teacher asks Scott what saved the twins from death. He tries to answer but ends up howling the word “wolf”.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+20)
Next class, Thomas Wolfe comes up. Scott causes a small commotion. Everywhere he goes, he is reminded of what he is. In Biology (??) Scott is called to the board to solve a problem. He picks up the chalk and drops it, seeing his claws have once again reappeared unbidden.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+21)
At this point, you might as well equate this with a “regular” guy getting a boner in Math class, because this is what it dissolves into. Scott runs from the class, trying to flee to the bathroom, only to find the janitor blocking him. He ends up sliding, literally, down the wet floors of the hallway to another bathroom. In this one, a nerdy boy is writing on the mirrors in heavy marker. Scott races away, downstairs, to the next bathroom.
“Don’t change!” He orders his reflection. After dousing his face with water, he sees the reflection of vice principal Thorne in the mirror. Thorne demands to see Scott’s hands. Closing his eyes, breathing heavily, Scott complies.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+22)
The vice principal sighs. “You wouldn’t happen to have a marker on you, would you?”
Stunned by the fact his hands appear utterly normal by human standards, Scott is warned by Thorne that the vice principal has his eyes on him. (Looking back, didn’t every 1980s movie principal/vice principal say that exact same line?) Scott runs out of the bathroom, leaving Thorne to find a long piece of unusual fur in the sink.
After school, Stiles is searching the family garage for his big brother’s stash, pawing through piles of junk, basically a pre-cursor to an episode of Hoarders. Scott wants to tell Stiles what’s happening to him, adding “I gotta talk to someone.”
And that’s when Stiles uses a homophobic slur several times, implying that Scott is trying to “come out” to him, leading Scott to insist that no, it isn’t that, using the same slur, and yes readers, this type of scene was commonplace in “comedies” in the 1980s. Ugh.
Ridicule ≠ Caring: 1 (+6)
Slurs For Laughs: 4 (+4)
“I’m a werewolf!” Scott finally announces.
Stiles ignores him, returning to his search for pot, and in the background we hear decidedly weird noises that finally call Stiles to attention. He turns around to find Scott entirely transformed.
After an initial bit of disbelief, then some questioning, Stiles declares: “You’re beautiful.”
“What can a teen wolf, uh, do?”
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+23)
To prove his new-found supernatural abilities, Scott sniffs out the stash of pot. Because, yes, that’s just what a teenager would do with a supernatural sense of smell.
Bad move, Scott. Now Stiles knows your potential, and he immediately begins to plan on how to use and/or capitalize on Scott’s condition, despite Scott protesting this revelation is supposed to be just between him and Stiles.
THEN WHY THE FUCK DID YOU TELL HIM, SCOTT.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+24)
“With the right angles, we’re going to turn this into something monsterous!”
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+5)
Scott goes home to find Harold and Boof playing a little one-on-one basketball in the driveway. She literally went over there to play a game with Harold? Huh. I would immediately think underlying scheming, but Harold is really, honestly, the best character in this film so why wouldn’t she wanna hang with him?
Although he tries to get out of walking Boof home, Harold presses his son, so away go Scott and Boof.
Boof now knows Scott is thinking of quitting basketball in favor of the school play, in a bid to get close to Pamela. Acting as a best friend, Boof understands Scott’s true motives (something Harold may not?) and informs him that Pamela is off the market.
“It doesn’t matter. With the way things are going, it’d be better if I just stayed away from everyone.” Scott laments.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+25)
Well you went and told Stiles your secret, you dumb ass. That’s on you.
The friends reminisce the time as children when Scott tried to run away and Boof wouldn’t let him go alone, afraid he would get lost. They never got far, because they weren’t allowed to cross the street. Wah-wah.
I’m just sitting here marveling at the oversized denim jacket Boof is wearing. So many popped collars…
Boof reminds Scott he can always talk to her, she won’t judge, but Scott demurs. Because he is a fucking idiot and thinks she’s unable to understand he just happens to be a supernatural.
Up next: high school basketball, this time the Beavers are taking on the Cadets from a military academy. Stiles, Boof, and Louis (who is draped by two older teen girls, wtf??) arrive to watch. Pamela is also there, in the stands. YOU KNOW WHERE THIS IS HEADED!
“It’ll all be over in less than an hour!” is the pep talk Coach Finstock gives his team.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+26)
Considering I still have 45 minutes of this film, I guess it’s true the end is in sight.
Scott is near-immediately fouled, sent to the free throw line, where he misses the first basket. On his second throw, his eyes glow red and he taps into his supernatural gifts, making the point.
Seeing Mick arrive in the stands to talk to Pamela, while his friends cheer his success, Scott tries to steal the ball from the opposing team’s player. A dog pile ensues.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+27)
Mmhm, here we go.
The same growling noises are heard, though it suspiciously sounds more like a low-end motorcycle revving up. Whatever, it draws the attention of everyone in the room, who look over to see the players back up just as Scott jumps up, fully transformed and clutching the basketball.
What I love about films that deal with this type of supernatural occurrence being discovered (The Lost Boys is another example) is the fact that although they are initially taken aback by the revelation, everyone just acts like “WELL OKAY DUDE’S A WEREWOLF, FUCKING AWESOME.” It’s just part of the fabric of their reality. [Wing: It’s like they’re all a bunch of Wings. Werewolf. WEREWOLF. YES PLEASE WEREWOLF. Also, I’m pretty sure he did some traveling with that basketball coming out of the pile-up. And finally, the principal is lurking in the corner and suddenly drops his hands to the front of his pants. DUDE WHAT.]
That’s basically what happens. No one screams, no one runs, a few double-take and look scared, but really, it’s more of a “okay, now what?”
Scott dribbles the ball down the court, allowing everyone to take him in, suddenly perfectly coordinated. He drives down the court and leaps into the air, ala Michael Jordan, and slam dunks the ball!
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+28)
EVERYBODY IN BEACON HILLS HIGH IS ON BOARD WITH THIS AWESOMENESS! [Wing: Just from pop culture osmosis, I knew that this inspired the Cursed wrestling scene, which I love. Despite the cheesiness, this made me grin.]
Energized by Scott’s transformation and sudden skills, we get a musical montage of Scott making basket after basket, stealing the ball, and generally being a badass. Nothing and no one can stop him!
Even Pamela has to applaud.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+29)
The celebrations move to a local diner. Pamela pushes through the crowd to join Scott in the booth, while Mick and Boof look on. Angry, Mick leaves. Trouble abrewin’!
Handed a beer as someone slams two huge pizzas on the table, Scott finally realizes Pamela is sitting next to him. Looking at her, at the crowd, he decides the attention is worth it. He bites into the side of the beer can, spraying the liquid everywhere.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+30)
Oh, Scott, you fool.
Another montage set to the same song, we see Scott walking the halls of high school, totally “wolfed” out. Again, only in this kind of reality-based fantasy does this work. He has now achieved the popularity he so desperately craved; he is “someone”! If that someone is a teen werewolf, wearing a letterman’s jacket, sunglasses and old on the ear orange foam headphones that call attention to his pointed ears.
Even the school newspaper, The Beacon, has bought into the hype and put Scott’s photo on the front page.
Ah, but some are not handling Scott’s new… Reality? Personality? Fursona? Louis can barely say hello to him and vice principal Thorne warns he’s still in charge of things. Scott brushes him off, in a move reminiscent of Stiles, before dropping to the floor to bust out a breakdance move in front of a background African American student. [Wing: Token diversity at its finest.]
The grandstands are packed for the next basketball game. Scott is a scoring machine, now sporting a yellow sweatband. He is crowded for autographs after the game by elementary school kids. A teacher passes out graded tests; Stiles gets a D-, but Scott gets an A and a pat on the head (like he’s a dog?) from the teacher. Pamela is impressed but Boof is incredulous.
Another basketball game. The cheerleading squad has invented a new cheer, clawing their fingers and howling. Clever.
A member of the Beavers is slowly dribbling the ball down the court when Scott speeds past and steals it, scoring. The teammate can only stare, feeling marginalized, as the crowds cheer on Scott. [Wing: Scott could, even, be considered to be hot dogging.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+31)
More trouble a’brewin’!
Here’s a thought: how does Scott maintain a full shift FOR SO LONG? (Simple answers: it’s a fucking movie. Stop trying to poke at and understand the unwritten plot fundamentals, Bat.) [Wing: Well, they don’t really make things very clear as to the rules of this type of werewolf.]
Scott, human for once, runs into Boof in the hall. Their discussion of how the whole town has gone “wolf crazy” is cut short when the come upon Stiles’ selling Teen Wolf t-shirts, stickers, buttons, signed photos, and other memorabilia. He gives Boof a shirt for free.
“Elegant.” Boof quips, showing Scott the drawn design of his transformed face plastered on the t-shirt.
(Wing would probably buy ALL those stickers, TBH. I’m pretty sure WOLF FEVER was meant to be stuck on her car’s bumper.) [Wing: Too true. Too, too true. Why I haven’t made any custom stickers for my car, I don’t know.]
Pamela seeks Scott out, revealing that Kurt (the drama teacher, who she calls by his first name? Super inappropriate!) wants Scott to take a small part in the play, specifically written for Scott. She totally says it in that weird, seductive way that is probably a staple trope but I don’t know if it has a name. Boof gives Pamela the Teen Wolf shirt Stiles gave her, saying the shirt is “too big” for her (implying Pamela has a large chest) and pointing out to Scott there are “some advantages” to being a celebrated supernatural.
Ridicule ≠ Caring: 1 (+7)
At rehearsal, which I guess is for Gone With the Wind or something involving the Civil War and Southern plantations, werewolf!Scott is wearing a black general’s dress uniform (huh?) and recites his line (poorly) while the drama teacher calls him “wolf person”. Oi. All kinds of problematic here. [Wing: Jesus, this is bad.]
Viewers know what’s coming when it switches to backstage: Pamela, clad only in her underwear and a towel, smiling at herself in the mirror. A knock at the door! It’s only Scott, human Scott, in his costume.
“HI!” He announces, awkwardly.
Pamela removes the towel, telling the teenage boy to relax, that theater groups are one big happy family. Um, I may have never been a theater kid but I have a lot of friends who were and the stories they have told me… uh huh. RUN, SCOTT, RUN. [Wing: Theater kids and band kids. It was a good, good time.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+32)
She begins to inquire about his abilities, how they function (snort), and we can hear the soundtrack imitating a heartbeat that is rising. Scott actually tells Pamela that he sometimes has to get “worked up” to trigger his supernatural gifts.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+33)
You poor teenage idiot.
Pamela ditches her bra. Now, as someone who wears one, I still don’t understand how movies get away with showing someone removing one just by sliding down one of the straps! Like, there is a hook and eye closure on the back! AT NO POINT IS THE ANNOYING ACT OF BENDING YOUR ARMS BACK AND TWISTING THEM TO UNHOOK IT SHOWN.
Nope. Instead, it just magically falls away and Scott gets an eyeful, before Pamela is kissing him.
Pamela says something about wolves being shy, [Wing: She says they’re not supposed to be shy, which is such complete crap, because they are.] while Scott, awkwardly, asks “what are you doing?” before they disappear from the shot. Oi.
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+6)
Scott celebrates getting laid by howling. Seriously. Thorne hears him from the parking lot.
It seems Scott’s supernatural gifts don’t just apply to basketball and getting laid; he bowls a strike at the local bowling alley, receiving a hug and a kiss from Pamela while Mick watches angrily from another lane. Pamela actually gives Mick a look that says, “HA HA, LOSER!” before she and Scott kiss again.
Then there’s a bunch of sexual innuendo, where Pamela throws a gutter ball while Scott stares at her butt, before getting up to help her set up her next throw. YEAH, OKAY. Meanwhile, Mick is STARING THE ANGRY STARE OF THE JEALOUS BOYFRIEND SLASH BAD BOY. At this point, Pamela has proved she’s only dating anyone for attention; save yourself the trouble, Mick.
Scott’s got his hands on her hips, Pamela is rubbing up against him, and Mick’s friend is too late to stop him!
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+34)
Mick threatens Scott, telling him Pamela is his girl and to never touch her again. Scott counters she’s his date for the night.
“You don’t scare me, freak!”
Then it gets weird.
“Your mommy used to steal chickens out of the backyard, until I blew her head off with a shotgun.”
Whoa. Although it is unspoken, as to what happened to her, Scott’s mother is implied to be deceased. So, either there is a grain of truth to what Mick is saying or I’m reading way too far into it. [Wing: That is exactly where I took it, too.]
Scott throws the bowling ball (though we don’t see where the hell it goes?) and the image of his angry countenance fades into the shot of him and Pamela walking up the path to her house. Scott wants to know if Mick is always this angry.
“Well, you can’t blame him. He is my boyfriend.”
“Was your boyfriend.”
“IS my boyfriend.”
Apparently Pamela doesn’t have any feelings towards Scott, much to his bewilderment, even though they had sex in her dressing room that afternoon. For once, the roles are switched; a teen boy now feels used for sex, as opposed to the teen girl that’s usually in that place. Granted, the feelings are the same, but because Scott is a man, he’ll get his “justice”. Sigh.
Scott’s chances to take Pamela to the dance evaporate as she informs him she’s going with Mick. She literally blows him a kiss(off), leaving him confused, bewildered, and used on the front porch. She even turns the lights out on him! [Wing: There are way too many shades of her being a furry in this movie.]
Guess being a werewolf doesn’t mean you can’t be used by people, Scott.
Back to sports! Chubby stands under the basket, eating an apple.
Token Fat Friend: 1 (+4)
The team basically doesn’t bother to play, immediately passing the ball to werewolf!Scott. In the locker room, post-game, dissension is spreading among the ranks. Chubby points out “at least we’re winning”, while another teammate counters by saying the werewolf is winning, the rest barely (if ever) play in games. The championship game is coming up and it’s clear the Beacon Hills Beavers are a shoe-in to play.
Coach Finstock comes by to give the guys a peptalk: “It doesn’t matter how you play, it’s whether you win or lose! And even that doesn’t make all that much difference!”
An interesting thing occurs in the background; we see Scott enter the open shower stall in full were mode. The teammate’s head strategically blocks the shot, allowing the actual Michael J. Fox to pop up from behind the half wall, appearing as though he magically transformed back to human. Oh, practical effects, you so awesome.
Just like I don’t care about Kevin Bacon in bikini briefs, I don’t care about Michael J. Fox in a towel. Again, I’m sure millions of girls (and some guys) did, back in 1985.
Scott tries to make celebration plans with Chubby, offering an ice cream sundae. He passes, saying he’s on a diet. The other teammate passes as well, leading Scott to ask the coach what’s wrong with his friends.
The coach gives some completely off-topic, nonsensical advice (which might apply elsewhere, in a different time/film/place), leaving Scott yet again confused and bewildered by the way people are treating him.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+35)
I dunno, maybe because you’ve become a big jerk, Scott?
Stiles, who we haven’t seen for a while and that was wonderful, turns up again. Now he’s traded in the convertible for a delivery van, with a large decal painted on the side that reads: WOLFMOBILE *courtesy of Harry’s Used Cars*. One thing this Stiles is an expert at is the art of the deal. [Wing: Oh dear lord.]
The friends decide to go “surfing” again, though the moment gets serious when Scott tries to include Louis, only for Stiles to go quiet and not deny that his brother is afraid and/or avoiding Scott. Eventually he convinces Scott to go “surfing” anyway.
Stiles is climbing to the roof of the van, when a clawed, furry hand grabs him. “These waves are mine.” Werewolf!Scott informs him.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+36)
Oh, this will end well.
Atop the van, Scott jams out, pulling off some smooth dance moves while looking like a poster child for 1985 in Nikes and (probably) Jordache Jeans. Below, Stiles drives, drinking a beer. Scott dodges power lines before breaking into multiple back flips and other gymnastic-style moves.
Turning onto the main street of town, Scott proceeds to do a handstand, drawing everyone’s attention to the wolf boy showing off on the top of a speeding delivery van. Harold’s attention is drawn by the clink of a beer can that Stiles threw as they drove past, leading him to see his son doing something outrageously dangerous (for man or beast-man.)
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+37)
Back at home, Harold is doing bookkeeping when Scott comes in. Sure enough, Scott’s been shirking responsibilities and not turning up for his job at the hardware store. Scott also seems surprised his dad knows about his extracurricular activities.
“Unless that was another werewolf doing a handstand […] and making a fool of himself.”
YOU TELL HIM, HAROLD.
Scott pulls the typical teenage response, saying he’s just working through his issues. Thorne, Mick, and the entire Beavers basketball team all have Scott on their shit list.
Here’s where we learn some back story: Ol’ Rusty Thorne (LOVE IT) liked Scott’s mother, although she was in love with Harold. No matter how much she told him no, or how much the couple tried to get Thorne to go away, he wouldn’t. So, in a moment of anger, Harold transformed into a werewolf and scared Thorne so bad he pissed himself.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+38)
Although it succeeded in getting Thorne off their backs, Harold’s point is simple. He knows what he did, using his gifts in a moment of anger, to be wrong. Harold tells Scott he has to get a fucking grip and control himself, not use his gifts for the wrong reasons or to maintain power.
I love Harold so much! [Wing: He is really great.]
Next morning! Boof, clad in the most shades of purple I have ever seen anyone wear at one time (and that includes myself, because I went through a purple clothing phase around the age of 4-6) is sitting on the Howard porch waiting for Scott. They head off to school, Boof inquiring about the school dance.
“I’m surprised they haven’t decided to call it ‘Teen Wolf Ball’.” [OH MY GOD, WING, CAN YOU IMAGINE???] [Wing: I’M THROWING A BIRTHDAY BALL AND IT HAS A THEME.]
Scott decides to ask Boof to the dance. She agrees but conditionally: human Scott has to escort her, not Teen Wolf. (They just keep working the title into the dialogue so much at this point. It’s impressive.) Scott balks, of course, because he asserts that’s what “everyone” expects!
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+7)
Decrying being “average”, Scott is obviously unhappy that no one likes the human him but likes “the wolf”. It’s decided that they won’t go to the dance together, but remain friends.
Cue weird 80s montage of werewolf!Scott dressing in a tuxedo. He’s even blow drying his fur into a totally big hair 80s hairstyle. He arrives at the high school gym, the music changing as if on cue, as he makes his way through the parted crowd. Oi, this hasn’t aged well.
As he passes Pamela, she makes another pointed statement about Mick being her date, while Mick threatens Scott (again.) Awkward.
But not as awkward as Stiles! I can’t even describe what the hell he is wearing.
Boof appears, approaching Scott, in a strapless white satin nightmare. The crowd begins to chant “wolf!” while pressing Boof to dance with Scott. [Wing: Boof has no rhythm even as she’s just dancing back and forth, and even less rhythm later.]
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+8)
Oh god, I entirely forgot they do some weird imitation slash spoof involving some dance moves from Thriller but are actually the moves the cheerleading squad “invented”, set to the totally unhip song “Big Bad Wolf” by The Wolf Sisters! Holy cow, it’s like watching a YouTube video from 2007 but set in 1985! The cheese factor… so cheesy… [Wing: Everything is ridiculous, and sort of I love it, and sort of I hate it. It’s not quite cheesy enough to be amazeballs levels of cheese, but it’s not quite terrible enough for me to want to give up, either. Also, has anyone done a dark, twisty cover of that song? Because it could be wicked.]
(Just wait. Teen Wolf, Too completely outdoes this scene. And it is fucking amazing.)
Vice Principal Thorne wanders in, just in time to witness this all-school dance party. Boof grabs a hold of Scott and drags him out of the gym, leaving the rest of continue one of the dumbest dances since Camp Beverly Hills learned to do The Freddy.
In the hallway, the two share a moment. Boof nearly tackles Scott, kissing him. Guess the girl knows what she wants. Meanwhile, Pamela is burning both ends of the bridge by taunting Mick about her continued (faked) interest in Scott. Mick counters something about Pamela having Scott’s “puppies”. Okay. [Wing: SUCH WEIRD ANIMAL SEX STUFF.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+39)
Look, Mick isn’t anything beyond a 2-D baddie, so I’m not expecting great lines. The same will be true of the “bad dude” in the sequel, who has seriously less lines then Mick, and mostly grunts.
Back to the hallway! Apparently Boof’s kiss was enough to excite human!Scott, because he’s turned back to normal! I guess a real love connection has finally been made between these two, because they return to the dance, hugging on each other, and start to dance.
Mick stares hard, conveying both force and anger at the same time, before storming over to Scott and Boof. He’s already removing his coat, Pamela chasing reluctantly after him, when he lands a surprise right hook into Scott’s face! Scott’s down!
Again with the threats, Mick makes it clear Scott needs to stay with his own kind (???) and stick with “that little tramp” aka Boof. What the fuck, buddy? But it’s too much for Scott. His eyes flash red, he’s growling, transforming again, and he swipes his claws at Mick, tearing open the dude’s dress shirt.
Really, the editing on that action sequence was terrible and makes no sense. But that’s what generally happened.
Apparently this is enough to turn everyone against Scott. (?????!!!) Because they start laughing, while Chubby and the other basketball player restrain Mick, Pamela screaming “what’s wrong with you, are you some kind of animal?”
Um, honey, you totally screwed said animal’s brains out just yesterday?
Mick is busy repeatedly calling Scott a freak, while Scott surveys the crowd. His eyes land on Louis, who looks nonplussed and disappointed in Scott. Um, why does Louis’ opinion matter so much? Unwritten subtext?
Scott flees the gym for the hall, where he is stopped by Thorne. Of course Thorne begins some weird villain monologue about catching Scott, telling him he’s never playing basketball again, mainly because Thorne is expelling him from the high school.
Um, super harsh? Way out of line? Personal vendetta? Totally gonna get sued?
“Thorne,” a voice calls from the shadows.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+40)
Harold appears and tells Scott to go home, that he’ll handle Thorne. Scott does as told, leaving Thorne to back himself against the wall as Harold tells him, “you never learn, Rusty.” Harold lays down what’s gonna happen, telling Thorne to leave Scott alone.
Then he growls, long and low.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+41)
Both men look down at the unseen puddle growing on the floor.
“I knew I could count on you, Rusty.” Harold quips.
I LOVE YOU, HAROLD HOWARD!
[Wing: I mean, he is great, but, uh, this is exactly what he’s been telling Scott not to do, so … hypocritical.]
Because no one was smart enough to end the film after that point, and I totally forgot there’s still more SPORTS BALL coming up, we return to yet another dress rehearsal of the stupid school play. Scott appears to say his line, in human form, upsetting the drama teacher. He insists Scott “wolfs out, up, whatever you do.”
Scott says no, he wants to be himself.
“No one wants to see you,” the drama teacher informs him. “No wolf, no part.”
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+42)
Scott leaves the stage, leaving the drama teacher gobsmacked. Pamela just shrugs.
Apparently Scott has decided to quit basketball as well, doing a complete 180 and refusing to be “the wolf” in any capacity. Dude, did Harold not have another fatherly chat with him about this? Or maybe teenage boy Scott refuses to listen to any advice what-so-ever. Either way, this has upset Boof, who wants him to play as a human. And Stiles butts his way in, demanding Scott play with his werewolf powers, because it’s A) the championship and B) everyone is depending on the wolf to win.
Also: What about Stiles! “I’ve a very large investment” he cries. Yeah, capitalizing on your supposed best friend.
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+9)
Ridicule ≠ Caring: 1 (+8)
Scott just wants to do the right thing.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+43)
We join the already-in-progress championship game. Beavers 3, Dragons 22, with 2 minutes left in the first period. The stands are packed, Stiles is doing steady business selling merch, but the Beavers are doing poorly. One of the players goes down hard, coach instructing Chubby to call a time out.
A hush falls over the gym when Scott enters, wearing his uniform, human. Everyone stares. Stiles is greatly disappointed.
Ridicule ≠ Caring: 1 (+9)
Only Harold and Boof are happy to see Scott.
Coach Finstock approaches Scott, asking why he’s human. While Scott explains the wolf isn’t happening, the crowd begins to chant. Finstock thinks it’s some kind of last minute tactic. Coach, you are a fucking idiot.
Scott wants to play, but only as himself. The team doesn’t want to continue, blaming Scott for their poor performance so far (???) even though Scott remains optimistic.
“When do we get to see the wolf?” demands Chubby.
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 1 (+10)
Scott continues to hold out hope, telling the team to be “the wolf”, to believe in themselves. Chubby comes into possession of the ball, Mick yelling at him, “shoot it, fat boy!”
Chubby does… and scores!
The Beavers come alive, working together as a proper basketball team, while upbeat pop music plays over a montage of scores. They’re slowly crawling up from their point deficit. Yawn.
While that’s happening, I’m going to take a moment to point out that the beaver head logo painted on the Beacon Hill team’s gym walls legally belongs to Oregon State University, whose sports teams are known as the Beavers. Granted, the current OSU logo is a more stylized, sleek-looking beaver head, but still, fun fact.
Also, this film took only 21 days to film and it kind of shows. [Wing: Really? Damn, that is not long at all.]
Still playing basketball.
…yep, still sports ball action.
Oh, even Pamela is cheering now. And Chubby just made a hook shot. Wow, can you feel the excitement.
Mick knocks Scott to the ground, receiving his fourth foul. Scott taunts him, saying one more and Mick is out of the game. Mick stands there, rethinking his life choices… nope, that didn’t work.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+44)
FINALLY! We’re down to the final seconds of the game. The Dragons lead by a single point. Scott has the ball, Mick is defending, taunting him yet again. Dude, give it up. Scott passes to Chubby, dodges Mick, collects the ball back from Chubby and goes for the layup…!
Only to be fouled by another Dragon player. Of course everyone starts booing, Stiles has to be restrained by Louis, and there’s a bunch of macho scuffling on the court.
I have roughly five minutes left of this film and I’ve already checked out.
Scott is given two free throws. If he makes them, the Beavers win the game.
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 1 (+45)
Scott makes the first shot, tying the game. For some reason, Mick is allowed to stand behind/under the backboard, while all the rest of the players from both teams are on the sidelines. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND??
BUT I AM TOTALLY DISTRACTED BY THAT TERRIFYING CLOWN FACE SHIRT WORN BY THE WOMAN STANDING BEHIND HAROLD AND BOOF!
The ref hands Scott the ball, all sound fading into silence as he sets up the make-it-or-break-it shot.
Mick stares, both angrily and sweatily, the only way I can possibly describe it.
We watch the basketball arc through the air, hitting the rim twice before it goes in. IT’S GOOD!! TOUCHDOWN!! BEAVERS WIN!!
[Wing: There is way more basketball in this climax than I expected.]
The crowd is on its feet, flooding the court, lifting the players up in celebration. Pamela comes down from the stands, standing at the edge of the crowd, waiting for Scott. Boof sees her and hangs back. Scott pushes past his one-time crush and locks lips with Boof.
Mick appears, sweating all over the place, and demands to leave. Pamela tells him to, “drop dead!” Wow. I have a feeling Pamela is going to end up very unhappy after the end of high school and throughout the rest of her existence.
Harold joins Scott and Boof in the celebration, as the image freezes on the happy trio. Then the credits roll over some really weird slow-mo footage of the celebration.
FINALLY, IT’S OVER!
I forgot how much I honestly dislike this film.
Really, for the time period it was released in, it was probably new and different. The concept of a teenage boy werewolf, which was first introduced in 1957 with I Was a Teenage Werewolf, is kind of expanded here but intended to be for laughs not horror. I’m sure that it sort of worked in 1985; in 2017, not so much.
According to the trivia section on IMDb, Michael J. Fox disliked the film so much he refused to do the sequel. Well, thank the gods, because Jason Bateman was WAY CUTER! Also, I guess there was intention to do a third film, with Alyssa Milano as the titular werewolf, but it never happened and the story was eventually recycled into Teen Witch, which is also as inanely boring and stupid as Teen Wolf. (I should totally recap Teen Witch at some point, even though it might bore me to death.) [Wing: You … you don’t like Teen Witch? You should definitely recap it, then, because I love it and we can brawl throughout. Also, Alyssa Milano as a Teen Wolf lead would have been fab, and I’m heartbroken it didn’t happen.]
Really, the best part of this film is Harold Howard. He’s the aloof seeming yet acutely aware parent who has a secret and knows the pain that secret causes, while doing his best to teach his son how to wield power wisely.
In closing, the best Stiles ever is Dylan O’Brien and I will miss him. The end.
[Wing: I am not a fan of tv show Stiles, either, but this Stiles is infinitely worse. And so now I’ve seen Teen Wolf. It was simultaneously cheesy as hell and not nearly cheesy enough, and way too much basketball. It’s trying to be a horror comedy (well, mostly comedy, so maybe supernatural comedy) and a sports movie all at the same time, and a ton of the time, it flat doesn’t work. Still, I’m glad to have seen it.]
Pointless Foreshadowing For Fun and Profit: 45
80s Peer Pressure – Just Do It!: 10
Ridicule ≠ Caring: 9
Token Fat Friend: 4
Slurs For Laughs: 4