Tribes - Terrific TV movie. Hippie versus Marine. . Yo





Maidstone - Norman Mailer really fights Rip Torn.





















The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

The first film of the Dexter Riley series from Walt Disney Studios. As played by Kurt Russell, Riley leads the first generation of hip science geeks who always manage to discover hi-tech miracles while uncovering lo-tech crime. The success of TCWTS led to two other direct sequels -- Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972) and The Strongest Man In The World (1973) -- and helped solidfy Kurt Russell's innocent teen wonder typecasting (until his dramatic turns as Charles Whitman and Elvis Presley led to Snake Plissken along with Iconic Badass status). The Riley Trilogy, as it should be foreverknown, posits a campus universe free of political protest, although the suffering Dean Higgins (Joe Flynn) mentions it as a holy fear. But in a nice twist, it's the students who have put him under surveillance -- and this is pre-Watergate.

TCWTS is notable primarily for what is arguably the first cinematic computer nerd, the main difference being the geek played by Kurt Russell is a far cry from the scruffy reality. 1970's computer whizzes tended to be counterculture with archetypal long hair and beard -- just look at pix of the team from Industrial Light and Magic in 1976 working on some film called The Star Wars. But Dexter Riley isn't allowed much character outside of a concerned young scientist. He does suffer from engorged ego after the school's new supercomputer information is unscientifically transfered to Riley via a lightning storm. This leads to blandly shot and staged shenanigans made interesting by the fun sleazy Cesar Romero as continual villain A.J. Arno.

Oddly, it is Dexter's amiable best friend Schulyer (Michael McGreevy) who remains the major comedic character next to Joe Flynn in the Riley Trilogy. Whenever Schulyer steps out of bounds (literally, such as his invisible soft shoe in NYSHNYD) Riley is there to bring him back to the situation at hand. Nothing outside of science and crime on the minds of these budding Bill Gates, and the only reference to a cultural world outside the Disney Gates is a poster for the Jefferson Airplane briefly seen on a dorm wall. That the poster is for the Airplane's most incediary record "Volunteers" from 1969, containing the immortal line, "Up against the wall motherfuckers" must have amused some young heads at the time. But In the end, scientific and academic order is restored, and the film offers a prescient future of personal computers for all. Of course, Dexter Riley and Co. continue to illegaly monitor the activities of the Dean's offfice. Like the theme song exclaims, "Never met a groovier dude, an electric kind of guy/ a sock and shock and suddenly socked into a real cerebral high..."

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