Remember kids. Autistic people are magic!
This one takes us way, way back. Back to rainy lunch breaks and dull Friday afternoons in elementary school in 1987-ish. When the big AV cart with it’s terrifying/fascinating “don’t let little kids near this thing because they may be crushed if it tips over” stickers was wheeled in, and we got to watch some “enriching” movie for the third or fourth time.
And if you asked me, back then and even to this day, I haven’t the slightest idea what the hell we were supposed to learn from “The Boy Who Could Fly”. Or “The Small One” – which is certainly a story for another time in itself – or “Free to Be You and Me” or “Escape to Witch Mountain” or whatever for that matter. Actually, it just hit me that all of these films are the one thing every movie shown in a classroom during the 80’s needs to be:
Their educational content may be questionable, their appropriateness for young children may be dubious, but they’re all short.
Anyone wondering why there is a surprisingly large number of Emo kids on the Interwebs with a distressingly clueless view of what it means to be on the Autism Spectrum would do well to dig this chestnut up. Aside from that, feel free to compare and contrast “The Wizard“.
The Best Parts:
2 minutes in – Hey, it’s That Dog! That one dog who was in every 80’s movie ever!
6 minutes in – Oh damn. It’s a gang of “Twilight” fan girls!
10 minutes in – How Spielbergian! (I repeat, every 80’s movie secretly wanted to be “E.T.” Yes, even “St. Elmo’s Fire”.)
13 minutes in – LOL, “St. Elmo’s Fire”.
18 minutes in – Well, that was a fun story for a classroom full of nine year olds.
24 minutes in – AUGH!!!
25 minutes in – “Well, OK, I’ll help you. I’ll just leave my stalker alone in my room.”
30 minutes in – By the way, Milli?
33 minutes in – “Please, please tell me that’s your belt…” :(
34 minutes in – 80’s Drunken Teen Montage! (Why did every 80’s movie have one of these?)
38 minutes in – “Aww, that’s adorable! And not the least bit unnerving or condescending either!”
42 minutes in – “So what? Where’s Vanilli?”
48 minutes in – I have just now noticed the cavalcade of ridiculous 80’s clothing and hair.
55 minutes in – “Well, we WERE all angry at each other, but now that Magical Flying Autistic Boy has set up an awkward situation for us to stumble upon…”
1 hour, 3 minutes in – This here is just about the only part anyone really remembers.
1 hour, 5 minutes in – And hey, do you kids want some Nightmare Fuel to top off your super-happy fun scene?
1 hour, 9 minutes in – You’re sure he’s not just really good at aiming for the ground and missing?
1 hour, 10 minutes in – You know, even twenty-odd years ago as a kid, I never understood what happened to the dad here. I have to assume something happened as he was attempting to drug Dragon.
1 hour, 15 minutes in – “Oh no! What if they’ve already destroyed his beautiful spirit!!!”
1 hour, 19 minutes in – Now unless I am confusing this with a different totally depressing 80’s movie that wasn’t really for kids but we watched it a lot in school anyway because it involved kids and wasn’t rated R and was short, this does not end well at all.
1 hour, 20 minutes in – Oh come on! I really hate being right. :(
1 hour, 23 minutes in – LEWIS’ MELTDOWN! (Though you can’t blame him, really. And this is about the only other part anyone remembers.)
1 hour, 25 minutes in – “Oh no! I’m not sane yet!”
1 hour, 32 minutes in – Well, this is a set-up.
1 hour, 34 minutes in –
OK, it isn’t like the title doesn’t prepare you, but this is what Mood Whiplash looks like.
1 hour, 36 minutes in – “So you saw it happening too?”
1 hour, 38 minutes in – “I gotta go! I’m going to be an annoying character in the second Volume of ‘Heroes’!”
1 hour, 39 minutes in – He was just too beautiful for this stupid world.
1 hour, 40 minutes in – Or… that. That he believed hard enough. Because you can do anything you want to if you believe hard enough.
I’m not really sure if showing a guy jumping off of buildings and out of windows and not getting hurt is the best way to teach that particular lesson to a classroom full of kids, but whatever.
1 hour, 45 minutes in – AUGH!!! THAT’S where this song is from!!!
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“You can’t be in love with a retard! It’s just not done!” – Natalie
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but remember I watched this with mind-numbing frequency in school. So what haven’t I learned?
* – Autistic people can fly. They are like magic.
* – Also, they never ever talk or make a sound, they do not have any problem with personal space, and they will mimic you with the enthusiasm of a baby chimpanzee. (You… don’t exactly get the most sensitive or accurate portrayal of the Autism Spectrum here.)
* – ALSO, neither Autistic people nor anyone else with any kind of disability no matter how bad it is should EVER be put in an institution. Those are horrible places that will destroy your beautiful spirit.
* – It’s okay for a teenager to be a student aid, though.
* – Roses grow on trees. (And not like one of those rose shrubs that *looks* like a tree either.)
* – It is TOTALLY worth it to risk falling off a bridge that is above a giant rocky waterfall to get the one prettiest rose. Your Magical Autistic Boyfriend will save you.
* – Clouds are solid. Unless you need them not to be.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? That one dog who was in every 80’s movie and more than a few TV shows. I think his name’s Jake.
Good Soundtrack? The minute the DVD came on and the theme music started up, I thought, “ARGH, THAT’S where that tune is from!” So yeah.
Hot Guys? Jason Priestly in a tiny role, where you will not recognize him.
Pretty Scenery? Canada! With trees that have roses growing out of them!
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Uh…
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when something ludicrously depressing happens. For the record, this isn’t as bad as “One Magic Christmas” – but only because it doesn’t happen around Christmas.
Head Movie Potential? You might as well. Because if you recall the hilarious/scary/insulting and two screen long disclaimer that the Disney Channel preceded this movie with, you know that we Norms can’t get high the same way Eric does.
Danny standing on a cloud that is only solid when he wants it to be.
A Lorimar Pictures Film released by 20’th Century Fox in 1986. Written and directed by Nick Castle.
Man, are you ready for this? Jay Underwood, Fred Savage, Fred Gwynne, Jason Priestly, Mindy Cohn, Colleen Dewhurst, Bonny Bedelia, and Lucy Deakins.