Three O'Clock High
is a high school comedy from The Eighties
. A riff on classic westerns like High Noon
, the film centers on the geeky Jerry, who inadvertantly angers the new bully at school, Buddy Revell, and gets challenged to a fight at the end of class. Jerry has until 3 pm to get out of the fight, or face certain destruction.
This film provides examples of:
- The Bully: Buddy Revell
- Bully Hunter: Subverted. Local jock Craig Mattey is famous for beating up on a bully, but only because the bully's victim paid him. Jerry buys his services, but doesn't get his money's worth.
- Dawson Casting: The actors playing Buddy and Jerry were both 25 at the time of filming. They look it.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Buddy returns Jerry's money in the end and even gives him the faintest of smiles, suggesting that Jerry has at least earned his respect for standing up for himself.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Initially subverted, but eventually played somewhat straight. Nemeses Jerry and Buddy get caught cheating on a math test. After the ordeal, Jerry tries to invoke the trope, saying that they've been through a lot together and should be friends. Buddy insists that nothing will prevent Jerry's inevitable pummeling. However, after the fight, Buddy shows up to return Jerry's money and gives him the very faintest of smiles, indicating that Jerry has at least earned his respect.
- Genius Bruiser: Hinted at with Buddy. When Craig goes looking for him, he finds Buddy quietly reading in the library. Later, Buddy tries to cheat on Jerry's math test, but then reveals that he could have easily solved the problems himself. Buddy seems to prefer being a feared bully over being recognized as intelligent.
- Hates Being Touched: Buddy. He wants to fight Jerry because he had the audacity to put a hand on his shoulder. When Craig threatens Buddy, it's the fact that Craig pokes him in the chest that causes Buddy to flip out.
- Hidden Depths: Hinted at with Buddy due to the way he seems to hide his intelligence.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Buddy gets knocked out by his own brass knuckles.
- Ironic Nickname: Buddy is a real jerk.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: In spite of being twice Jerry's size, as well as a Bad Ass, Buddy sees it necessary to bring a pair of brass knuckles to the showdown. During the brawl, Jerry gets possession of them and uses them to knock Buddy out.
- Showdown at High Noon: Jerry and Buddy have a duel scheduled for 3:00. The name of the film is a riff on "high noon" and "high school."
- The So-Called Coward: Jerry is a wimp, and spends most of the film trying to avoid fighting. Ultimately he has the opportunity to dodge the fight, but changes his mind and stands up for himself. He actually wins the fight and gains a newfound reputation as a Bad Ass.
- The Worf Effect: Craig and the school security guard seem to exist in part to show how tough Buddy really is.