Up the Creek (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
January 29, 2012 by Dennis Amith
“Up the Creek” may not be one of the better “college romp” films from the ’80s, but for those who are nostalgic for this film, may want to check out the MOD DVD release.
© 1984 Orion Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Up the Creek
FILM RELEASE DATE: 1984
DURATION: 96 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: Color, 1:85:1 Letterbox, Dolby Digital
COMPANY: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Twentieth Century Fox
RELEASE DATE: January 2012
Directed by Robert Butler
Screenplay by Jim Kouf
Story by Jim Kouf, Jeff Sherman, Douglass Grossman
Produced by Michael L. Meltzer
Co-Produced by Fred Baum
Executive Produced: Lou Arkoff, Samuel Z. Arkoff
Music by William Goldstein
Cinematography by James Glennon
Edited by Bill Butler
Casting by Harriet B. Helberg, Jessica Overwise
Production Design by William Hiney
Set Decoration by Gary Moreno
Costume Design by Robert Turturice
Tim Matheson as Bob McGraw
Jennifer Runyon as Heather Merriweather
Stephen Furst as Gonzer
Dan Monahan as Max
Sandy Helberg as Irwin
Jeff East as Rex Crandall
Blaine Novak as Capt. Braverman
James Sikking as Tozer
John Hillerman as Dean Burch
Mark Andrews as Rocky
Will Bledsoe as Roger van Dyke
Grant Wilson as Reggie
Julia Montgomery as Lisa
Jeana Tomasina as Molly
Romy Windsor as Corky
Tom Nolan as Whitney
Jason Court as Powers
Jesse D. Goins as Brown
Tim Jones as Johnson
Four delinquens from the worst university in the area have once chance to bring honor to their institution, in this hilarious and titillating whitewater raft race flick.
The 1980′s, a decade known for its many “college romp” films. Some good, some bad, but if their was one thing they all had in common…all were sexual comedies with plenty of nudity.
And in 1984, one of those films that many people would catch on cable was “Up the Creek”, a film directed by Robert Butler (best known for directing TV series episodes such as “Reminton Steele” and “Hill Street Blues”) and an earlier film written by Jim Kouf (“Rush Hour”, “National Treasure” films, “Grimm” and “Ghost Whisperer” TV series).
The film would star Tim Matheson (“Van Wilder”, “Animal House”, “Fletch”), Jennifer Runyon (“Ghostbusters”, “Charles in Charge”, “Carnosaur”), Stephen Furst (“Animal House”, “Babylon 5″), Dan Monohan (“Porkys” films) Sandy Helberg (“Mortal Kombat”, “This is Spinal Tap”, “Spaceballs”), Jeff East (“Superman”, “The Day After”) and James Sikking (“Hill Street Blues”, “General Hospital”, “Doogie Howser, M.D.”).
“Up the Creek” features four friends Bob (played by Tim Matheson), Max (played by Don Monahan), Irwin (played by Sandy Helberg) and Gonzer (played by Stephen Furst) who attend Lepetomane University (aka Lobotomy U), the worst university in the area , and each happen to be the worst students on campus. They are forcefully recruited by Dean Burch (played by John Hillerman) to compete in the collegiate raft race and bring some recognition to the university.
In return, if they win, he will offer them degrees in the major of their choice.
So, the four friends along with their dog Chuck (voiced by Frank Welker) head to the collegiate raft race. But the team that is heavily favored to win are the Ivy University prep schoolers who have the support of Ivy alumnus Dr. Roland Tozer, who wants to ensure that the group cheats their way to the #1 spot.
Also competing are the military squad known as Washington Military Institute who’s leader Captain Braverman (played by Blaine Novak), wants revenge against Bob because he continually thwarts the group’s plan of sabotage. Also, entered are the co-eds, which include Heather Merriweather (played by Jennifer Runyon) who has had enough of her boyfriend (a member of the Ivy University) messing around with other women, so she starts to show interest in Bob.
With Ivy University trying to cheat their way to the top, do the underachieving students of Lepetomane University have a chance of winning the competition?
Part of the worry of viewers who had bad experiences with MOD DVD’s is its manufacturing. Granted, those problems were a long time ago but so far, I have not had any problems with MGM’s Limited Edition Collection.
With “The Magnetic Monster”, its printed quite well with printing on top of the DVD, it’s not a plain silver disc with letters. If you didn’t know it was MOD, you would think it was an actual DVD release.
As for playability, I played “The Magnetic Monster” on my Blu-ray player and DVD player with no problems. I then played it on my Mac and PC, no problems whatsoever.
VIDEO AND AUDIO:
“Up the Creek” is presented in color (1:85:1 full frame). As far as picture quality goes, you can see a bit of black specks throughout the film but they are small and probably will not be noticed by most people. There is a fine layer of grain and for the most part, for an ’80s film, the movie looks very good for its age. There is some softness but considering its age, “Up the Creek” looks good on DVD.
As for audio, audio is presented in Dolby Digital. But the film is notable for its soundtrack featuring Cheap Trick, Heart and The Beach Boys.
“Up the Creek” comes with a theatrical trailer.
As a person who grew up with late ’70s and ’80s college romp films such as “Animal House”, “Porky’s”, “Private School”, “Back to School”, “Revenge of the Nerds” are among the titles that people tend to remember.
Comedies that feature a lot of beer, a lot of women and a lot of sex…and of course, the main attraction to a lot of guys back then…nudity.
“Up the Creek” is a film I remember watching on cable back when I was in high school and remember wanting to watching this film primarily for actress Jennifer Runyon. This was her first film that she had starred in before he appearance on “Ghostbusters” and becoming part of the cast of “Charles in Charge”, but as a teenager, I was big fan and watched this film just for her.
So, here we are nearly 30-years-later since the film made its debut in theaters and watching “Up the Creek” once again.
Needless to say, the film is kitschy. The whole premise of four bad students of one of the worst universities academically and the four being offered free diplomas if they win a rafting contest is ridiculous.
But still, ’80s “college romps” were never meant to be deep films, they were films about characters partying, having fun and getting laid and these films were indeed the sign of the times.
And of course, there is the banality of the underdogs going against the athletes or tough guys (in this case of this film, it’s the “preps”) and one of the underdogs hooking up with the hot girl that dated a prep.
“Up the Creek” is a film which one knows how it’s going to end, but you just wonder how crazy or how much sex will be in this film. In terms of craziness, well…aside from the character of Gonzer wanting to eat all the time and the main character Bob, having a dog named Chuck (who seems to be smarter than most of the guys on the Lepetomane team), you have a military school trying to sabotage the competition and preppies who try to cheat their way to the top. So, in terms of overall craziness, “Up the Creek” was a little weak in that regard.
As for nudity, sure you see a lot of topless girls but when you watched films such as “Porky’s”, “Private School” and “Animal House”, even the nudity is a bit subdued for this film.
While “Up the Creek” may be nostalgic for some… for those wondering if this was one of the good “college romp” films of the ’80s, my answer would be “no”. Granted, I can imagine my teenage self saying “yes, watch it for Jennifer Runyon”, watching it today, I felt that “Up the Creek” was too subdued in comedy and hijinks for an ’80s “college romp”.
Recommended only if you are a fan of the film, otherwise, you can find better “college romp” films out there!
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