The Pretenders

Ever dreamt of going back to high school with all the knowledge you have now? How about spending your school days as a living sociological experiment--pretending to be another race or sex? Well, you don't have to dream any more, because your friends in 1980's Hollywood did all the work for you! So don't pull a Treva, just sit back, relax, and watch the schlock.

• Hiding Out (dir. Bob Giraldi, 1987) ...or Ducky's Second Chance--Andrew Morenski (Jon Cryer) is in trouble with the mob. His friends are being knocked off, and he knows he's next. Donning a two-tone mullet-esque coiffure and some bum's jacket, he re-enters high school as Max Hauser. Naturally, he becomes the most popular kid in school, even running for class president. Enter the love interest, Ryan (Annabeth Gish), and now the picture is complete. But wait... this guy is 30 and he's dating a 17-year-old. Umm... that's creepy.

• Soul Man (dir. Steve Miner, 1986) ...or Black Face Paint is Funny! Poor cracker Mark (C. Thomas Howell) needs money to go to Harvard. But it seems all the scholarship funds are going to black people. Actually, it seems the whole Harvard campus is rapidly becoming black! (Quick fact: only six percent of enrolled students at Harvard in 2000 were Black.) So, Mark feels it's time to take back the campus in the name of cracker power! Actually, that's a lie. The film is supposed to tackle racism head-on, but fails miserably, and only goes to show that mainstream Hollywood comedies should steer clear of complex messages, 'cuz they only seem to make matters worse.

Just One of the Guys (dir. Lisa Gottlieb, 1985) ...or, Wait a Minute, That Dude's a Chick! Terry (Joyce Hyser) just isn't getting the respect she deserves from the editor of her high school paper! And boy, is she mad. To top it off, her creepy college boyfriend is only interested in the brains on her chest! What a friggin' jerk! What's a girl to do? Well, try life as a boy, of course. Terry (chick) becomes Terry (dick). It's as easy as: 1. Cut hair. 2. Stuff sock down pants. 3. Talk in a deepish voice. The only problem is, everyone likes her better as a guy, so what's a girl-boy to do? Should she get a plastic pee-pee or maybe just a strap-on... you'll have to watch to find out. M. LON FREE