The ButterCream Gang is a 1992 direct-to-video movie, distributed by an independent producer known as Feature Films For Families.
The titular gang started in the 1800s, when young men would help local Civil War widows do household tasks (such as churning butter - hence the name) and has continued into the present day. At the time of the movie, the club consists of Scott, Lenny, Eldon, and Pete who carry on the gang's tradition of helping those in need.
Trouble starts, however, when Pete moves to Chicago and becomes a member of a street gang. He moves back home and spends his time shoplifting, picking on kids, spraying walls with smiley face graffiti, and throwing rocks at bottles on train tracks.
Can Scott, Lanny, and Eldon turn Pete back into a good boy?
The movie mainly focuses on how Scott and Pete's friendship crumbles, and Scott basically going through hell trying to rebuild it. Lenny and Eldon provide some support, but they quickly become disillusioned and are more interested going forward without Pete than in redeeming him. The writers were likely intending to present us with an idealized, cheesy setting and then inject it with a harsh dose of reality. Most people who have seen it, however, would probably say that, whether-or-not the writers succeeded, it still stays cheesy all the way through.
It was followed up by a (once again, Direct-to-Video) sequel, The Buttercream Gang in Secret of Treasure Mountain, which details Eldon discovering gold in a mountain. While the first movie had a somewhat complicated aesop about bad influences and having to be willing to work hard to maintain a friendship (and to be open to the fact that, despite all your best efforts, you might still fail), the sequel had a more generic "believe in yourself" message.
These films contain examples of:
- Being Evil Sucks: Pete talks about how he's not entirely sure exactly how his FaceHeel Turn happened, only that he wishes he could go back to being who he was before it, but considers himself too far gone and incapable of it. He gets better at the very very end of the movie though.
- Big Damn Heroes: Scott coming to Margaret's rescue in the first movie.
- Bittersweet Ending: Pete manages to turn his life around, and even forms his own version of the Buttercream Gang in Chicago—but his friendship with Scott is still broken beyond repair, and nothing is ever the same between them.
- Dad the Veteran: Mr. Carpenter mentions having served in the Vietnam War.
- Damsel in Distress: Margaret briefly becomes this when she ends up surrounded by Pete and his new gang prior to Scott ramming his bike into another member of the gang, sparking a brief confrontation between the two former friends.
- Dead Guy Junior: Scott was named after a man named Scott Paulsen that Mr. Carpenter served with in Vietnam who was killed in action protecting a soldier who hated Paulsen's guts because of Paulsen's faith.
- Deadpan Snarker: Margaret gets a few sarcastic lines in, such as when Scott and Eldon see her extra-credit report on gangs.Scott: "They (the gang in the picture) look pretty mean."Margaret: "That's because they're a real gang, not like you guys."
- Distaff Counterpart: The Buttercreamettes. A bit of a subversion as the older female members refer to themselves as members of the original gang, as opposed to this newer, girls-only gang
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Pete is absolutely confounded by Scott's non-aggressive attitude whenever he's threatened by physical violence, he's even more confused when the store owner outright offers him money when he tries to rob the store, just so he couldn't say he robbed him, which causes him to resort to outright trashing the store, demanding someone retaliate against him. When no one does, he runs away. He can't understand why someone would Turn the Other Cheek instead of defending themselves or seeking revenge.
- Exact Words: Eldon near the end when he stays put to watch Pete when Scott's sister Regina gets him and Margaret when it looks like Pete is about to be kidnapped (actually a scheme for Pete to get his grandfather's gold coins to make a return trip to Chicago, setting up the film's climax)
- FaceHeel Turn: Pete for the majority of the film before it's revealed at the end of the film that he had gone back to a good guy, even turning the gang he had been part of into a Chicago chapter of the Buttercreamers.
- Herald: Regina, Scott's little sister, who can always tell when someone's in trouble for...some reason.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Scott with Margaret. Eldon is also revealed to have a crush on her.
- Identical Grandson: The three bad guys in the second movie are identical to their ancestors.
- Imagine Spot: Eldon has two in the 2nd movie; with both of them depicting Eldon's own crush on Margaret (the latter a medieval-themed incident where the reformed mooks bring the treasure, Margaret as a princess and Scott as the court jester).
- Passing the Torch: The first movie begins with Pete passing the baton as leader of the Buttercream Gang to Scott.
- Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Whether you think it worked, the first movie tried to be a serious drama. The second movie, however, switched genres entirely and became an adventure-comedy.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Margaret for the school dance, with some of the changes remaining as part of her new look (such as going with contacts as opposed to the glasses she was originally seen wearing) for the remainder of the movie.
- Shout-Out: The title screen for the sequel, "Secret of Treasure Mountain", appears to be based strongly on the logo of the Indiana Jones franchise.
- Suspiciously Specific Sermon: The Buttercreamers openly speculate whether Coach Wilde (also a minister) found out about the near-fight at the school dance the night before and tailored the message on the Golden Rule specifically to address that.
- That Came Out Wrong: Lanny in the second movie while trying to cheer Eldon up.Eldon: I'm the clown and the Buttercreamers don't need a clown!Lanny: Sure we do. [beat, realizes how that sounds, frowns, and shakes his head] No we don't.
- Verbal Tic: The wife of an author of a get-rich-quick book in the second movie has a habit of constantly using the word "cute".