Three O'Clock High

Critics Consensus

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67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 12

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,045
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Movie Info

The first feature film from director Phil Joanou (State of Grace), Three O' Clock High chronicles a high school nerd's much hyped after-school bout with the infamous class bully. When the impish Jerry Mitchell (Casey Siemaszko) is assigned to interview the new transfer student with a supposedly violent past, Buddy Revell (Richard Tyson), he makes the fatal mistake of touching his subject. Revell, who hates being touched, responds by challenging the unwilling Mitchell to a fight at three o'clock in the parking lot. Spanning the course of the school day, the film follows the disaster-bound Mitchell as he soils his good-boy image through various misguided attempts at averting the fight. Also making noteworthy appearances in the film are Jeffrey Tambor and Philip Baker Hall.

Cast

Casey Siemaszko
as Jerry Mitchell
Richard Tyson
as Buddy Revell
Stacey Glick
as Brei Mitchell
Annie Ryan
as Franny Perrins
Jonathan Wise
as Vincent Costello
Liza Morrow
as Karen Clarke
John P. Ryan
as Mr. O'Rourke
Philip Baker Hall
as Detective Mulvahill
Scott Tiler
as Bruce Chalmer
Guy Massey
as Scott Cranston
Theron Read
as Mark Bojeekus
Mike Jolly
as Craig Mattey
Mitch Pileggi
as Duke Herman
E. Katherine Kerr
as Mrs. Phillips
Caitlin O'Heaney
as Miss Farmer
Vivian Brown
as Miss Vail
John Rothman
as Mr. Medved
Alice Nunn
as Nurse Palmer
Brian Andrews
as Nerdy Kid
Paul Feig
as Hall Monitor
Yeardley Smith
as Cheerleader
Tom Taylor
as Jock #3
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News & Interviews for Three O'Clock High

Critic Reviews for Three O'Clock High

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for Three O'Clock High

  • Dec 31, 2016
    Looks like the run of movies released post-84 continues with this one. I don't think I'd ever actually heard of this movie before. I probably have heard of it before, but it's not one of the classic high school movies from the 80s, like Pretty In Pink or The Breakfast Club. And it's not one of those movies that became such a huge cult hit in the 30 years after its release that you know of it simply by reputation, like a Big Lebowski-type, though that film made three times its budget when it was first released. I don't know how this one fared in comparison when it was released. But time has certainly been kinder than the mixed reviews it got when it came out and it has somewhat of a cult following. Obviously it's not as big of a following as a The Big Lebowski, but at least it's something. I think perhaps one of the few things this movie has over anything else is that, at the very least, in spite of all the silliness going on here, this movie has a believable plot. Jerry Mitchell pisses off the newcomer in school, a student with a violent past. This pushes Buddy, the student in question, to tell Jerry that they are going to fight at 3 pm when school lets out. He also lets Jerry know that he will find him no matter what Jerry tries to do to get out of the situation. So, essentially, the movie is about Jerry trying to find several ways, without any success, to get himself either thrown out of school or in detention to avoid being murdered by Buddy. Again, there's a lot of silliness, but I can buy that someone in this same situation, someone who doesn't have any experience in fighting or anything, doing what is necessary in order to escape with his or her life. Maybe they wouldn't take it as far as Jerry did in the movie, that's for damn sure, but I can sort of buy into Jerry's attempts. He even goes as far as to make out with one of his teachers, in front of the entire class, in order to get himself thrown in detention. It obviously doesn't work, and unsurprisingly enough, the teacher ends up falling in lust with him. The scene where Jerry causes a ruckus in his book report before making out with the teacher is by far the best scene in the entire film. The problems come in the fact that I, for the most part, didn't think this movie was actually that funny in the slightest. There's a few chuckles here and there. One of Jerry's love interests, Franny, is a sort of new-age hippie type who speaks to a spirit that tells her that she and Jerry are meant to 'bond'. She's probably one of the few interesting characters in the film, along with Buddy. Jerry, our protagonist, on the other hand is kind of a little bland if you want me to be honest. Casey Siemaszko, who portrays Jerry, was good here, but the characterization was a little dull. Jerry isn't at all an interesting character. I like how he eventually overcomes his fear of having his ass kicked and decides to stand up for himself in spite of everything he's gone through during the day in the lead up to the fight. But, other than that, he's not particularly interesting character and it makes getting into him a little difficult. I never had to deal with bullies here, so I don't know, maybe Jerry is more of an everyman and he was purposely left without a real personality so everyone who has gone through a similar situation with a bully can relate to him more. They can claim that, but it'd feel so much like an excuse. The movie isn't bad, in the slightest. I liked the fact that it was actually focused on something. There was very little in the way of distractions or needless subplots. It all served to make Jerry's day just a little bit worse, so he's a little more desperate to escape this situation. So I can appreciate the fact that the movie, while not a consistently funny movie, made an effort to focus on where they wanted to go with its narrative. And, really, I do believe that there's a good movie buried in here somewhere, I just think it needed a more consistent tone than it had. And, more importantly, it needed a main character with a little more personality than Jerry Mitchell. This isn't saying anything about Casey Siemaszko's performance which, I mentioned, was pretty good. But the actual character and his personality do leave a lot to be desired. With that out of the way, like I said, this isn't a bad movie. It's painfully average at best, but it's got a ton of flaws that keep it from being truly good. So watch at your own risk.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 24, 2014
    When you think of classic 80's teen films, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink and all other John Hughes films quickly come to mind. But like the horror genre, there has been other great films overshadowed by the more popular films. I think that this is the case with Three O'clock High. This is a superb Teen comedy that has had the misfortunate of being a forgotten gem of the genre. This is a well acted film, one that has impressive performances from its lead actors, and the film also some well written characters as well. Three O'clock High is a real treat, and everything about the film is very well done in such a way that it capture the feel of high school, along with its dilemmas. The film features an astounding soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, whose music greatly enhances some key scenes, which is only perfected by Cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld. Sonnefeld's camerawork is terrific here, and the way that he has lensed the film adds something quite unique to the atmosphere of the film. Three O'clock High is a terrific picture, one that deserves to be rediscovered. I think it's a great shame that the film got overshadowed by other genre film, but hopefully you can rediscover this hidden gem. This is a very funny film, one that uses its cast quite well, and if you enjoy this genre, you're definitely going to love this film. With some wonderful performances by Casey Siemaszko and Richard Tyson, you have a highly entertaining comedy that is never boring, and even if it's not perfect, you can forget its flaws, and enjoy this film for what it is, a forgotten teen comedy that is well worth a second look. If you've enjoyed all of the films by John Hughes, but want a film of the same decade, that has effective comedy, teen angst and other issues, Three O'clock High is well worth seeing, and is is one of the best forgotten 80's comedies that I have seen.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jan 18, 2011
    Three O'clock High is a funny 80's high school underdog story. So fun!
    Alexis N Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    This hilarious teen comedy is a lot of fun, I love it, it should be added to the list of essential 80s teen movies! I highly recommend it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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