A 1995 [[ComingOfAgeStory coming-of-age]] teen movie based on Chris Crutcher's short story ''"A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune"'', directed by Patrick Read Johnson and starring Charlie Talbert and a young [[Series/DawsonsCreek James Van]] [[Film/JayAndSilentBobStrikeBack Der Beek]] in their first film roles.

Talbert stars as Angus Bethune, who in his own words is "a fat kid who's good at science and fair at football." He's also got a vicious rivalry with pretty-boy JerkJock Rick Sanford (Van Der Beek), who decides to play a cruel prank on Angus by rigging an election that nominates Angus as the Winter Ball King opposite Rick's girlfriend, Melissa [=LeFevre=] (Ariana Richards). On one hand, Angus knows he's being set up for humiliation and doesn't want to play along, but on the other hand, he's had a crush on the (in his mind) unattainable Melissa for years, leaving him unsure of what to do. Helping him along are his geeky best friend Troy (Chris Owen), his loving and slightly unorthodox mom (Creator/KathyBates) and his equally loving and much less orthodox grandpa, Ivan (Creator/GeorgeCScott).

Much like the similar ''Film/{{Lucas}}'', this film is one of those extremely rare teen movies starring an awkward social outcast who's not portrayed as an object of ridicule for the audience, and like ''Lucas'', the protagonist pursues much more noble and sympathetic ends than the stock teen-flick goal of simply "getting laid." Roger Ebert loved the film for precisely these reasons.

The movie was officially unavailable on DVD for a long time, but can now be purchased as a made-to-order DVD from Warner Bros.

!! This film provides examples of:

* AcademicAthlete: Angus is good enough to be on the football team and excels in academics at the same time.
* AdaptationExpansion: The source material was a short story, so obviously there's a lot of this going on, although it stays true to the original premise.
* ArcWords: "I'm still here!"
** And "Screw 'em" is used to great effect several times.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: "So which is it, Rick: are you normal, or are you just one of us?"
* BullyHunter: Deconstructed. Angus is perfectly capable of taking on Rick mano-a-mano (he pretty much spent his early childhood breaking Rick's nose at least once a grade). However, that's not going to help his immediate situation. It never really did.
** RealityEnsues: Bullies do what they do by seeking out what they perceive to be easy targets. Why doesn't Rick Sanford back down despite having a glass nose? Because Angus is an easy target for Rick in another form: Angus' [[SlobsVsSnobs naturally low social standing]], and the fact that Melissa, Angus' object of obsession, is Rick's girlfriend. A few broken noses is probably worth the sick kicks he's been getting with a killer hand like that.
* CharacterTitle
* CloudCuckooLander: Grandpa's fiancee April is a good-hearted but somewhat odd bird, and not just because she wants to marry a man [[MayDecemberRomance thirty years her senior]].
* DemotedToExtra: Several scenes with Grandpa's fiance April were left on the cutting room floor (they're usually restored in cable TV airings); in the theatrical cut, we don't meet her until the day of their wedding.
* {{Determinator}}: Discussed by Angus' grandpa: Franchise/{{Superman}} is not brave, because he is invincible, and you can't be brave when you're invincible. But it's the people who are destructible and know it, and keep on going, who are truly brave.
** BadassBoast: "I'm still here, asshole!"
* DisappearedDad: Angus's father [[BirthDeathJuxtaposition had a heart attack while Angus' mom was in labor]]. This was changed from the original short story where Angus' parents were alive, but both were gay. WordOfGod states that this was done so that his parents' homosexuality could not be construed as a principal reason Angus is tormented by his peers. (A line still exists in the film where Meg refers to the magnet school Angus is applying for as "somewhere he can go where he won't have to account for who his parents are".)
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Rick's toadies both found the final prank funny, but they draw the line and try to stop him when he loses it and physically attacks Angus. They also both applaud TheReasonYouSuckSpeech Angus gives to Rick right afterwards.
** Much to Rick's anger, they also applaud Angus after he shrugs off the prank and has a less than embarrassing slow dance with Melissa.
* TheFreelanceShameSquad: The squad pops up when Rick runs Angus' boxers up the flagpole, and again when he pulls his prank at the Winter Ball crowning. Troy, Melissa and Principal Metcalf are the only ones unamused by either act.
* GlassCannon: Rick himself is athletic enough to be a star football player and his punches are enough to hurt Angus. However, he himself goes down pretty easily if Angus is pissed off enough to put a hurting on him.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Rick rigs the ball voting so Angus will be humiliated at being matched up with Rick's beautiful girlfriend. [[spoiler: Melissa has far more in common with Angus than Rick realizes and takes a liking to him in the end.]]
* JerkJock: Rick Sanford, all the way.
* KickTheDog: Whether it's playing cruel pranks, lying about Melissa's dread of dancing with Angus just to hurt his feelings, or accidentally breaking Troy's arm when the kid tries to run away, Rick punts several puppies clear through the goalposts in his quest to humiliate Angus.
* LovableJock: Angus counts as this since he's on the football team, being the sympathetic protagonist of the movie. Ironically, being a football player doesn't seem to raise his social status much and he still has to struggle to be able to get the girl and be at peace with himself through it all.
* MoodWhiplash: Ivan and April's wedding.
* NotSoDifferent: Once he gets to know her, Angus learns that despite being a popular, attractive cheerleader, Melissa is just as scared and insecure about herself as he is about himself. She even sweats when she gets nervous, just like he does.
-->'''Melissa:''' Do you ever get tired of being who you are?
-->'''Angus:''' Do you know who you're talking to?
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Principal Metcalf is very sympathetic to Angus, and he frowns heavily on Rick's cruelty.
* RunningGag: "You broke his nose!" [[spoiler:A very humorous IronicEcho of this occurs at the end.]]
** Also, Angus waking up his grandfather with a recording of Reveille. [[spoiler:Becomes MoodWhiplash the last time, when it [[PleaseWakeUp doesn't work]].]]
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Melissa is the force that drives the motivations of Angus throughout the film but she herself doesn't really start getting any real important focus or development until the third act of the film.
* SpotlightStealingSquad: Rick is this for Angus; at the football game at the start of the film, when Rick's pass is intercepted, Angus causes the fumble that Rick recovers and scores the game-winner. The crowd rushes Rick while stepping over a prone Angus.
* StepfordSmiler: Though she seems quite cheerful and always has a smile ready for her friends, Melissa is secretly depressed, suffers from bulimia, and it's suggested that her boyfriend Rick may be abusive to her.
* TackyTuxedo: Since it was the only one in his size, Angus wears a particularly hideous purple one to the Winter Ball.
** [[InsistentTerminology It's]] '''[[InsistentTerminology plum]]'''.
* TalkToTheFist: A particularly heelish one, as Rick sucker punches Angus during the climactic scene.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Angus gives a truly fantastic one to Rick that is easily his CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption: Once Rick realizes his SadistShow he worked so hard to arrange for prom goes well for Angus, he gets vicious and sucker punches Angus. Angus shoves Rick back into the steps of the stage, but then subverts this by stating that despite being quite capable of beating him, [[BeYourself he doesn't feel the need to compete with him at all.]]
** SheatheYourSword
* YourMom: When Rick makes fun of Angus having his clothes stolen ("I'd lend you my shirt, but I'm afraid it might rip"), Troy is quick to fire back, "That's because it's ''cheap''. Like your mother."