You know that you're in for a "Dumb Movie Treat" (aka a "DMT") the minute that goddamn gorilla shows up on screen. Actually, you kind of realize it the minute you see any of the guys act (and they're ALL guys -- I don't think that there's even one girl in the entire flick... Well, except for that one punk's mom, but she was played by the same guy who played her son). And by "act" I mean "completely overact" or "underact." But in a good way.
Everything in Cromartie High School is way over the fucking top: the acting, the plot, the cheeze-factor... But it's a helluva trip. When I found out that it was done by the same director of the just as excellent and stupidly ludicrous Battlefield Baseball I just nodded my head in knowing appreciation and silence... Just like Freddie Mercury would have done. And yes, Freddie Mercury is in this movie... Well, his illegitimate (and not gay) Japanese son is in this movie. And he is so damn awesome.
Cromartie High School is based on a manga which also had an anime made after it. The anime is pretty funny, but the absolute stupidity of the jokes and the absurdity of the situations that take place at this school simply translate so much better into live action film. In anything drawn you expect that anything can happen, but when you see something ridiculous materialize with real people in a real setting... Well that's just total comedy gold, my friend. Take for instance the previously mentioned Freddie Mercury: Sure, in the manga and anime they draw his character to be a hulking, Freddie/(Final Fight) Haggar clone who looks like he could chew you up and spit you out before he even knew he had anything in his teeth, but just to see a real person (who may not look exactly like Mercury, but close enough to) ride into school on a giant steed just like it was an everyday bike... Well, that's just cut-ass rugged. Also, seeing the character of Mechazawa in the anime really doesn't make you shit your pants in fits of giggles as much as seeing him in real life does -- seeing as he's a 4-foot-tall, tin can-shaped, walking, talking robot with glowing eyes. It's just so.... silly. Tee-hee!
Okay, enough girlish tittering from me. On to the review!
Cromartie High is all about the toughest, the most delinquent, thuggish, and the stupidest high school in all of Japan (named after a delinquent, thuggish, and stupid American baseball player who played ball in Japan [who I hope can take a joke]). Well, it's actually all about the school's newest student, one fairly meek Takashi Kamiyama, and his attempt to straighten out his rough and ready-to-rumble classmates by showing them that there's more to life than "being cool, being tough, and smoking." He just can't figure out how to drill this into them since they're all so goddamn dumb. See Cromartie is the kind of place where punks, gorillas and smart-ass robots wander the halls at their leisure, but nary a teacher is to be found. The kids come in to school whenever they feel like it (when and if they even feel like showing up), and each day is just like another short skit, with no real cohesive plot or storyline that runs through the whole of the movie.
At first I found this lack of narrative to be a bit of a pisser. The whole thing had the structure of a daily comic strip. Quick set-up >> Goofiness >> Punchline. Repeat. We'd get introduced to a new character or situation, get set up for a quick joke, laugh. New character or situation, joke, laugh. Over and over again. Yes, the pranks, parodies, puns and payoffs are pretty damn funny at times, but I was expecting something else. Then I let myself go, paused the movie, got fucking ripped on PBR, and sat down for the second half. After this I enjoyed myself IMMENSELY. Let me tell you something: There is absolutely nothing funnier than watching a possessed, tin-can-shaped robot, tied to a bed, spewing out pea soup while shouting out "FUCK YOU! FUCK YOOOOU!" over and over again in broken English while you are trying to chug your tenth can of cheap brew without shooting any of it out your nose. NOTHING FUNNIER. Plus, beer out your nose really fucking burns.
Once I started laughing out loud I just couldn't stop. I laughed at Kamiyama's pitiful and useless attempts to turn his school around. I laughed at that one punk who pondered that show that starred two yakuza-like men dressed up in puffy bear costumes, who talked in "pooh" talk. And I pretty much peed my pants when the hijacker from earlier joined the gang's resistance against the alien gorillas, but he forgot his ski-mask. This movie was so random it was brilliant... When not sober. When sober it's really just okay. They kind of throw everything at the screen at once to see what sticks and what leaves a sticky and disgusting, mucusy trail as it slowly slides off and onto the floor. Yes, after all is said and done there is a big, sick pile of shit and glistening gunk of lame jokes (or jokes that didn't follow through to their fullest potential), but I'd still say it's worth at least a rental. If you loved Battlefield Baseball like I did, you'll enjoy the shit out of Cromartie High School too... While drunk. Or stoned. But I can't recommend taking any acid before viewing this movie. That would just fuck you up.
This movie about juvenile delinquents and the crumbling social structures that supports their aimless ways gave me a great idea for a grand experiment! I decided to lock a bunch of punks that I freed from juvie up in a small room filled with desks and chairs, beer, knives, books, cigarettes, chalk and a blackboard. Then I kept them in this environment for 2 full weeks without food, water, adult supervision, and only one clogged-up toilet between the lot of them. When I came back at the end of the 2 weeks I found that every last one of them was mysteriously dead. Some had knife wounds in their heads and necks; some tied clothes together into a noose and hung themselves; and some even scraped away all the flesh on their fingers while apparently trying to dig their way out of the cement-encased room. It wasn't until I watched the video tape from the camera I installed in the room that I realized what I had done...
No, I knew that I had sent those scummy teenagers to their deaths, but I didn't realize WHY until I saw that tape. Once I watched them beat eachother up and basically slaughter eachother over a few cigarettes and cans of beer I knew that I had done all this simply for my own enjoyment. My God did I hate teaching high school... By the way, I'm selling the DVD on my website, so write to me later if you want a copy. Oh boy, when the big guy with the messed up eyes gets a desk to the head and crumples like a piece of paper like that... I just get the giggles! I can make-believe that that youth was really that Stephenson boy who kept setting my chair on fire in the middle of class, while I was sitting on it. Two bad you can only kill the little bastards once.
I'll be honest with you here... I didn't really get into that whole high school thing like the Rossman and the Wolfman did. Yeah, the Rossman thought he was friends with all those dance team hotties, and the Wolfman just loved terrorizing all the freshman and teachers and custodial staff and seniors, but I... I just didn't quite GET high school.
This Cromoratie High School, on the other hand, I did get. This was the kind of place I would have LOVED to have gone to. Well, maybe with some more chicks and all. But the fact that everybody was dumb as dog shit would have made it so easy for me to have become their god! All the morons in that movie did whatever they were told to do by whoever told them to do it. I so could have done that! Then I would have taught them all how to drink and steal kegs from liquor stores. Oh, just imagine how much I could have led them! I would have been the answer to all their and my prayers! Plus I would have used some of the more attractive guys at C.H.S. to bait and switch a couple of high-school sluts for me. Like, have the guys approach them and be like, "Hey, baby, let's get naked!" And they'd be all like, "With you? Oh yeah!" Then my men would get the chicks into a dark broom closet or something, then I'd sneak in through a secret door while the guys slipped out, then I'd take a ride on the wild side! Oh yeah.... Heh, I might just try that with the Rossman as my pointman now... Or I'll just go out and get another hooker.