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DVD Review

DVD cover

Catholic Boys (aka Heaven Help Us) 1985


Starring: Andrew McCarthy, Kevin Dillon, Mary Stuart Masterton, John Heard and Donald Sutherland
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 06 April 2009

Michael Dunn, just turned 16, has been newly dispatched to live with his grandparents in Brooklyn and attend the exalted St Basil’s Catholic school for boys. There he wastes no time in befriending the local misfits, including the class swat and one reluctant young monk. Along the way Michael also falls for Dani, the streetwise daughter of the owner of the local hangout. However the repressive leadership at St Basils, headed by the formidable Brother Thadeus, will stop at nothing to maintain order and their word is law. If that has to spell the end of Michael and Dani’s relationship, then so be it...

Catholic Boys (aka Heaven Help Us) was released in cinemas in 1985 and is set at an all-boys Catholic High School in New York in 1965.

Andrew McCarthy plays Michael Dunn who has just started attending St Basil’s Catholic school for boys. He and his sister have just moved to the area, to live with their grandparents, after their parents were killed. On his first day Dunn befriends the class swot, and it's not long before he also impresses the class bully, by taking punishment rather than grass him up. He also attempts to win the affections of the girl who runs the local public house.

My biggest complaint about this movie is that it never really tackles any of its plot threads in any depth. The buddy aspect is never really fully exploited, nor is the romantic element. The disillusioned monk, who wants to do the right thing, is also a background element that could have been pushed forward a little more. I suppose that by not concentrating on any one aspect overly long it makes this movie feel more like a collection of real events rather than trying to focus on anyone aspect, but I still thought a little more could have been made of the various elements.

Fans of The Simpson's should look out for an appearance of a young Yeardley Smith (who would later go on to voice Lisa Simpson) and an almost unrecognisable Patrick Dempsey. Wallace Shawn (who Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans will recognise for playing Grand Nagus Zek) also makes a brief appearance.

The only extra is the original theatrical trailer.

As most of the online stores are offering this at just under £8, those who fondly remember this film won't be disappointed. While not one of the greatest films to come out of the '80s, it's still entertaining viewing.


Nick Smithson

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