1999, Kevin Tenney

If I can offer only one piece of advice to the impressionable youths out there in internet land, it is this: Don’t go to university. Or more importantly, don’t go to university if you are going to study anything that doesn’t lead to a specific vocation. Study to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, by all means. Just know that if you study any of the arts or anything where the actual title of the degree requires an explanation, you are doomed to be in the service industry, unemployed, or worse yet a teacher. Take it from someone with a bachelors in Fine Art who has, since graduating, worked in various prestigious fields including bartending, call centre operator and, yes, even teaching. High school teaching, no less. For all the humiliations and indignities I have experienced in my post university life as a scholar, working in various demeaning shitkicker jobs (peppered with prolonged stints of unemployment of course), nothing has come close to how ashamed of myself I was when I took my first job as a teacher. High school was the worst time of my life, Period. I wasn’t bullied or anything and I wasn’t a loner by any means. Just loathed it. Didn’t like the teachers, hated the teenagers. Coming back to high school as a teacher I discovered that I still didn’t like teachers and still hated teenagers. It was a miserable time.

With my above anti-intellectualism (that’s what my very smart dad calls it when I hate on scholarly pursuits and the such) in mind you can imagine my glee when I came across a film called Demolition University, starring my second favourite Corey and directed by the guy who did the awesome Night of the Demons in a dollar bin. I assumed this would be a movie in which Corey Haim literally demolishes a university with his smart-alec antics and maybe some high powered explosives. I mean what a thrill, I’ve always wanted to see a university get destroyed and not from the inside due to mismanagement and misappropriation of funds like most universities, but rather blown to bits, or torn down a brick at a time by disgruntled graduates with student debts that will linger decades longer than their hope of ever using their philosophy degree for anything other than that framed piece of paper covering the hole in the wall between their Ghostbusters poster and the shelf holding all their Nietzsche, Sartre and Twilight books. Unfortunately, like most things in life that seem too good to be true, it was. Crushingly so. Well, not really but I am being extra melodramatic for this blog post. So anyway, I will sum up this movie in the following five disappointments.

Disappointment number one: In spite of the cover of the DVD I got showing what appears to be a university getting blown up, no such event actually occurs in this movie deceptively known as Demolition University. In fact the bulk of this movie doesn’t even take place at a university. Haim goes on a field trip to the city’s water treatment plant and fights a bunch of terrorists there.

Disappointment number two: At the age of somewhere around 30, Haim is a mere shadow of his irritatingly grating yet somehow entertaining teenaged self. Meanwhile, the cover shows a picture of him from like a decade previous looking far less bloated and sluggish. And yes I am a big Coreys fan, which is why this made me extra sad.

Disappointment number three: As usual, the terrorists turn out to be thieves. Boring. Why can’t terrorists actually be terrorists in movies? Surely we’d want to see them killed more if they were proper terrorists and not just some douchebags trying to pull a heist.

Disappointment number four: Not enough Robert Forster.

Disappointment number five: None of Kevin Tenney’s stylish visual flair that made Night of the Demons a ton of schlocky fun is present in this stinker.

In the interest of not being totally negative, there is some entertainingly bad action that is good for a laugh or two. Like this bit that someone kindly put on YouTube…

And my final thought: When I studied fine art at university I had always hoped I would make a living as a painter. Currently, I make my living, working in a furniture factory, painting drab Ikea knock-off home furnishings different shades of grey all day. Be careful what you wish for, kids.

Here’s the trailer. Enjoy.