#31 Best of Times

#31 Best of Times
Year: 1981
Director: Don Mischer
MPAA Rating: N/A
Epic Co-stars: Crispin Glover
Running Time: 48 mins
Cage Time: 35%
Cage Kills: 0
Cage Flip-outs: 0
James' Review:  As a 33 year old man in 2012 I can safely say that watching "The Best of Times" was truly some of The Worst of Times spent in the CAGE thus far.  This movie is in fact not a movie at all, but the pilot episode for a teen television series that was never picked up.  The show chronicled a group of friends going through the trials and tribulations of high-school life and was complete with monologues to the camera and cookie cutter personality stereotypes.  

Upon closer inspection it is easy to see that this was the first shot a what eventually turned into "Saved By the Bell".  A loose breakdown of characters is as follows (no need to use the best of times character names, because they are the same damn names as the actors):
  • Zack Morris = Crispen Glover
  • A.C. Slater = Nicolas Coppola (before he changed his name)
  • Kelly Kapowski =  Jill Schoelen
  • Lisa Turtle = Julie Piekarski
  • Screech Powers = David Rambo
  • Jessie Spano = Lisa Hope Ross
  • Mr. Belding = Jackie Mason (who plays Mr. O'Reilly)

Best of Times tried to reach a philosophical and political depth not attained by Saved by the Bell and this could very well be the reason for it's demise.  The show often felt like it was trying a bit too hard with its characters and lacked direction with it's plot.  At times I wasn't sure if I was watching a variety show, or something with an actual plot.

Nicolas Cage's performance has inspired some fan art by
the folks over at Cagealot Castle.

The best part of this viewing was seeing a young and wholesome Nicolas Coppola embracing his Nouveau Shamanic style at such an early age.  Best of Times is also where he originated his one-handed push-ups (later seen again in Red Rocks West) and in cuttoffs on the beach.  His ego is larger than life as a "jock" who seems to bully everyone around him including his "best friend" Crispin.  

The bottom line is that anyone who isn't spending A Year in the Cage should never watch this movie.  If you are craving some hot young Nic Cage and just gotta have it, then just watch this video rather than suffering through the entire uncomfortable thing.  If you are spending a A Year in the Cage you should consider the next 48 minutes of your life a total loss and just realize that in the end you will look back on this as a character building experience...  Here it is, get to it!

Movie quotability:
  • "HAA  That's what turns women on!"
  • "I am the most beautiful man you have ever seen.  My magnificent biceps drive you wild with desire."
Plot Holes:
  • You can see the microphone boom in the mirror when Kevin is on the phone.
  • 3rd degree burns from an iron is funny.
  • The gang goes to a water park fully clothed.
  • Denim was not worn by the Oregon Trail pioneers as suggested in the film (it wasn't invented yet)

!Doesn't stoop to Made for TV material!


Rilifon said...

Review #5


First of all, I have to completly agree with the review from this site, this isn't in fact a Nicoas Cage movie. And to be more specific it isn't even a Nicolas Cage one, it is the only film credited to his original name Nicolas Coppola.
Yes, cinematicaly speaking, it is a pretty bad "movie". It is a forced 80's tv show, with lame jokes and a audience that laughs at every sentence. But I have to say, despite everything, it's one of those movies there are so bad, and believe me when I say BAD, it became awkwardly funny, since you know it's supposed to be a "serious" TV show.
And, oh boy, I think its been a while since I laughed as much as I did the second Nicolas Cage appears, doing one hand push-ups, and being an overall "Jock" character. So I would say the Cage Factor is really high.

I may be a mad man but from a Cage perspective I would give this one a 8 out of 10, since it captures the essence that will in the future grown into the Cage we love. But unfortunatly, it is a really bad pilot, no matter how you look it, so in the end I give:

GRADE: 6.1/10

Rilifon said...

ok, maybe 6.1 is a bit too high,


Rilifon said...

Well, to be honest, it really was a bad pilot, and giving it a 4.7 would be misleading anyone that reads this.


Do as James said and only watch that Nicolas Cage video, it isn't worth watching the whole thing at all

Steve M said...

Really? Are we going to start raiding his collection of home movies next? James hit the nail on the head with his review so I've really got little to say. What got me most was the absolute lack of cohesion or direction and the occasional public service messages for teens and parents of teens. As if I needed more character.

James Ayers said...

Rilifon's grading system is evolving like Nicolas Cages hair. I'm still waiting for the ULTIMATE CROWNING GRADE: 2.4/10. Seriously though I'm glad to see you're taking your voting seriously enough to go back and fix it when you see fit.

Unknown said...

Review #1

We plan on completing A Year in the Cage in order! Our journey begins with Nic Cage's debut film, The Best of Times (1981). Also starring another favourite eccentric, Crispin Glover. It's so bad it's good! Nic and Crispin should do another film together!

KaBluie said...

I just watched this on the 17th. I'm officially going to atempt this. My review of this: I didn't hate it. It wasn't any worse than You Can't Do That On Television.

Post a Comment