Delinquent Minors

In 1985, the year before Penguigeddon and the disastrous breakup of Galatea, Harold Ragsdale and Ezekiel Breckenridge decided to dip their beaks into the teenage drama genre. With Ragsdale writing the script and Breckenridge directing, they made Delinquent Minors. Their working relationship was already showing some cracks by this point, so the film is… interestingly unstable.

The film follows high schooler Kelly Page as she spends a day in detention with her friends, all of whom have weird, radical 80’s nicknames like Spikehawk, Crunchberries, Sex Machine (seriously), and Funbits. (Why Kelly doesn’t have a nickname is never given a satisfactory answer.) The first twenty minutes is simply all of them gathered in the school’s gym, talking about the lewdest things while the teacher tells them to cut the crap and stay silent. What follows is the strangest teacher “motivational speech” I’ve ever seen in a film. It’s akin to the 50’s teenage hoodlum warning films (like Rebel Without a Cause), only the teacher goes off on weird tangents about what she thinks kids do these days. (“I see you kids out there after school snorting the dirt under the football bleachers, DON’T THINK I DON’T KNOW!”)

A bunch of other teens subsequently bomb down the gym’s wall, hailing an escape for Kelly and her friends. What follows is a strange Hunter S. Thompson-esque adventure, wherein Spikehawk drives the eight of them around town to different teenage haunts. The rest of the film is a series of strange adventures, including getting lost in a very dirty supermarket while trying to shoplift from it, trying to rent porn from a video store, (They never find out that the store doesn’t carry adult films. They rent Terms of Endearment thinking it’s hardcore porn.), and the film ends with them trying to smoke actual grass behind the town’s library before getting caught by police and being sent to prison. I’m not sure Ragsdale knows how the justice system works.

On the whole, the film is a very misinformed and warped journey through 80’s teenage culture. Notable is that Ragsdale’s daughter Emma plays Kelly, and does as good a job as she can do, given the material. It’s fun to sit through at least once, but it’s probably not one to go back to again and again, as it’s more ugly than entertaining.