I would rate Teen Wolf a 10

teen wolf michael j fox

When I was in fourth grade, I was part of a gifted learning program that, in addition to making me more identifiable to bullies, gave me the opportunity to write my first movie review as part of our student-produced magazine, Fourth Grade Confidential.  If the review seems a little by the numbers, it’s because my teacher helpfully had given me an article on how to write movie reviews that had sample topics such as: do the characters seem realistic? do the names of the characters give a clue as to their behavior? does the writer prepare you for the climax?  I doubt the author of that article intended each question to be answered in order using those exact words, but that’s what I did.  So here is the unedited, uncorrected review of Teen Wolf.

Teen Wolf is a very touching movie.  The main characters are Scott Howard, Harold Howard, his father, Styles, and Boof.  Styles is argumentative and Scott thinks there is something wrong with him.  His father is easy going.  Boof thinks there is nothing wrong with Scott and is persistent about it.

Just as I did in my review of Top Gun, I describe characters as “easy going” when I maybe don’t know what to say.  A lot of emotional nuance is apparently lost on fourth graders.  But my characterizations of Scott and Boof aren’t bad.

The only unusual thing about Scott and his father is that they are werewolves.  Their names don’t give a clue to their behavior because there is nothing unusual about the names.  I agree with the way the characters act because they act very calmly.  I would not change the main characters in any way.

The minor characters are Pamela, Mick, Mr. Thorne, Chubbs, and Coach Finstock.  These characters are needed for the movie to progress.  The characters seem real because the movie is live action.  The major problems are that Scott is a werewolf and isn’t a very good basketball player.  Scott solves both his problems by getting used to being a werewolf and as a werewolf he is a better athlete and he is better liked.

So far, so good: decent work on the minor characters (I suppose it helps that Teen Wolf isn’t exactly Citizen Kane) and a coherent summary of the plot and themes.  Definitely better than my take on Top Gun.

I wouldn’t of solved the problems the same way Scott did because I’m not a werewolf.

And here things go off the rails a little.  I guess fourth graders don’t really get metaphors.  I imagine I characterized Scott as thinking “something is wrong with him” because something WAS wrong with him, not because all teenagers feel that way from time to time.  For me, there was no subtext to Teen Wolf, just text.

I would of forgotten about Pamela and practiced at basketball.  I agree with the ideas presented in the movie.  Some of the ideas are true to life because some people have a disease that makes them look like werewolves.  I wouldn’t of presented any other ideas if I wrote the script.

I think this sums up a fourth grader’s understanding of lupus.

The plot of the movie is that Scott starts to turn into a werewolf at a basketball game.  Later that night, Scott turns into a werewolf after a party.  In the next basketball games and after that he turns into a werewolf and is the main attraction at high school.  At the end he decides that he will not be the wolf anymore.

I would leave the mushy parts out of the script.

The always disagreeable mushy parts get mentioned again.

The most tension is at the high school championship basketball game.  The writer prepares you for the climax very well.  He does not leave you in the dark.

The setting is Beacontown in 1981.

I have no idea why I thought the movie took place in 1981.  According to IMDB, it was shot in 1984 and released in 1985.  Maybe the copy editor of Fourth Grade Confidential took the day off.

The setting isn’t that believable because I have no information that Beacontown exists.  I don’t have enough information about the setting.

I may be taking the questions suggested to me in the aforementioned article a bit too literally.  Clearly this movie is unrealistic not because its main character turns into a werewolf, but because the name of the town might be made up.

The characters don’t reveal anything about the setting.  I would treat the setting the same way if I wrote the script.  The movie has given me new ideas.  It has changed my thoughts.  I used to think that werewolves were monsters.  I don’t anymore.

I would rate the move very highly.  I would rate Teen Wolf a 10.  I would recommend it to others.

4 thoughts on “I would rate Teen Wolf a 10

    1. Thanks – these were a trip to rediscover. They also have hand-drawn illustrations since Fourth Grade Confidential did not have access to publicity stills.
      What shines through more than anything is my complete dedication to answer all the questions a potential viewer might have (at least according to the list of questions my teacher provided).
      Top Gun is its counterpart:


      1. I wish my school offered something like that. The closest I got was freshman Biology class during standardized testing weeks and we had to answer questions while watching “Medicine Man” and, one of my favorite modern sci-fi movies, “Gattaca.”

        Confession: I have not seen “Top Gun.” I know! I have it on DVD (which I bought last year) so I really don’t have an excuse. I’ll be sure to read your post once I’ve seen it. Hopefully soon.


      2. Top Gun is one of those that is a perfect time capsule of its era. Definitely check out the making of doc on the disc as it’s fascinating how they pieced together the movie from a bunch of flying scenes and by re-dubbing all the lines.


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